Sports fans know the “over-under” as a type of bet in which gamblers predict whether a statistic, such as a game’s final score, will be over or under a predetermined number.
Marketers should start thinking about the “over-under” as a different type of wager, because every time they create a marketing piece or advertisement, they’re betting on whether they can deliver on the promises being made.
It’s a classic dynamic tension: Sales wants to sell on perfection, while client service professionals fear they (and their customers) are being set up to fail.
Overpromising and underdelivering
To get a prospect’s attention, it’s tempting to promise the moon. This product will make you run faster, jump higher and boost revenue by zillions of dollars!
But in reality, we all know the message should be more like: This is a really nice product, and it has both its benefits and its flaws. We’ll do our best to make it work the way you want it to.
The truth, unfortunately, isn’t always Madison Avenue gold.
Underpromising and overdelivering
The tendency, then, can be to overcorrect in the form of underselling your product or service with the idea that, once you convert your prospect into a client, you’ll be able to wow her with your unexpected awesomeness.
The problem? A lukewarm pitch significantly decreases your chances of winning the prospect in the first place. The landscape is simply too competitive for you to hide your light under a bushel and hope customers will give you the benefit of the doubt.
The happy medium
Properly positioning your product or service comes down to honesty and refinement. Make a list of what truly works and what—like it or not—needs to be improved about your offering.
If your claim is personalized attention, does that promise hold up if someone is on vacation or out sick? If ease of use is your differentiator, do you have a customer experience team talking to clients and making updates accordingly?
On the flip side, if you’ve developed a technology your rivals aren’t using, are you extolling its virtues loudly enough, or are you hedging your bets?
Finding the right balance takes work, and one best practice is to perform periodic surveys to ensure your clients’ experience aligns with your advertising promises. Once you’ve found a message that’s on point, repeat it consistently across a variety of channels to new prospects and current customers alike.