The word “EXTREME” spanned the entire width of the sign. I imagine that they would have said “UNSURPASSABLE” if it’d have fit.
I looked around and nothing changed. We were all still traveling “70” mph along I-85, heading toward Auburn, Ala., as if the warning of imminent danger never happened.
“ROAD WORK NEXT 6 MILES,” it flashed again.
So I waited.
Across the country there are many interstates, with many people driving on them, with many miles of open, undisturbed road. This could have been any one of those other roads.
Despite the promise of danger, delays, crawling traffic, and increased speeding fines, only a long rhythm of reflective orange barrels gave physical proof that there was an intention of doing work.
Nothing had changed since I drove the same stretch a week before.
Which leads us to this:
The act of marketing is the act of promising.
What does this mean for you and me?
- Keep your promise. “Road work next 6 miles” is clearly a broken promise if there is no road work ahead. Our customers, or interstate drivers, respond to broken promises by completely writing you off–ignoring you at best.
- Know what you’re promising, especially the small things. “Use extreme caution.” What does that promise? A perilous situation, at least. Something that is worth me being more alert for.
Another example: this post. From the headline, I promised you that it would be more interesting than a textbook.
You may be promising your customers little things–for example, the respect you said they would gain after a big purchase or help learning your product–only to break those smaller promises once you’ve delivered on the main one. They say “God is in the details.” Well, so is trust.
- And, oh yeah, promise something. If you’re not promising something, you’re not marketing. Advertising that just says, “Look! Here is our product!” is worthless. Only collectors buy for the sake of the item, and no one is going to do that for you.
Folks buy things because, in their minds, those things are going to solve problems. So make a promise to your customers to solve their problem. Then deliver.