The First Rule of Marketing

Don't talk about marketing. No that's not it.

Keep your promises! That’s what Seth Godin reminded us in a recent post.

While that advice has many useful meanings in many different situations, I took away one specific use case.

As a marketer, we are constantly making promises about our brand, about our products and services, in an attempt to attract customers. And often, we use the word promise or guarantee when we make those claims. So not only do we promote certain benefits, we trap ourselves into following through.

One of the easiest ways to ruin your brand image is not to follow through on the promises of your marketing message. If I’m buying a new camera that’s advertised as the be all and end all when it comes to taking professional quality photos, well then I better see professional quality photos right away. If I open a checking account with a bank that promises to be the most convenient, I better not be dissatisfied with the level of service I get.

The risk of making a promise is that sometimes there are things that are not in your control. And while fancy promises and guarantees might bring in $$, you have to be careful not to overuse them. The same message that was the reason you sold thousands of units of your latest product can be the reason you now have hundreds of pissed off customers ranting and raving in the public eye.

Keep your promises and you’ll build loyal customers.