Deliver What You Promise

Tonight, my girlfriends and I planned to attend an event hosted by a local women’s magazine at a new wine bar. The event had a catchy them and promised special pricing on appetizers and wine ($5 for everything to be exact). The event was well-promoted on on their Web site, Twitter and on Facebook, so we decided to check it out.

Upon arrival at the event, there was a poster of this month’s magazine cover, but that was the only representation from the magazine that we noticed. We found a place to sit and started perusing the menu. When the server finally came over, we inquired about the event and the food/drink specials. The server didn’t know anything about it and had to ask her manager. When she came back, she told us we had to be “with” the magazine. She then pointed to a table and said we could talk to the representatives from the magazine to see if we could participate. We politely declined and said we would look at the menu. By that point, we just decided to leave. We went to one of our new favorite spots instead where we enjoyed a great special, good food and impeccable service.

Certainly, this would have been easily avoided. However, it’s amazing how often businesses focus on marketing or the promotion, but fail to deliver on the product or event. It’s the small things that make a BIG difference. In this case, a few things could have gone a long way, such as:

  • Hostesses at the door welcoming guests and letting them know about the event;
  • A display of magazines or the hostesss handing them out to guests when they walk in the door;
  • A place for guests to sign up for mailing lists and potentially a drawing for a gift from the restaurant;
  • A special menu or sign posting what items were available for the special; and
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, all women who walked in the door would have been able to participate.

If the event was meant to be exclusive, it shouldn’t have been promoted as something for everyone. When trying to promote your business, don’t create extra barriers to access. The point is to increase exposure and strengthen the value of your brand. If you inhibit people from participating, it only creates the opposite effect.

Unfortunately, the magazine isn’t the only business that suffered as a result of this. The restaurant was not an active participant and admitted they weren’t aware of the event. Because of their lackluster enthusiasm for this event (which was important
 since the venue has been open for only a week), I doubt my friends and I will be back. Don’t let this happen to you or your business. The moral of the story is to create a stellar event or product
 first and then, develop the awesome promotion to match.

Have you seen other promotions that overpromised and underdelivered?

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

2 replies on “Deliver What You Promise”

This blog reminds me of one of Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s favorite internal slogans: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” Clearly it served that company well, so what a good idea to promote! Thanks for your great blogs!

Thanks for the thoughts, Mary! While I don’t always agree with the idea of “under-promising”, I do believe it’s important to exceed expectations. There’s nothing worse than lofty promises and then not being able to back it up.

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