Agency Integrity: Don’t Over Promise And Under Deliver

By November 19, 2015E-Commerce Marketing

As I looked at their landing page there was a large, artistic and conceptual image. However, there was no specific asset or call to action. Instead the header was full of links to other company web pages. The bottom was filled with brands, just brands; it made no sense whatsoever.  In the middle was some ad copy about how information helps you make purchase decisions. A “Contact Us” form was in a different font from the rest and too small for most people with great vision to read. It was a mess. My eyes were bouncing all over the page.

After assessing and carefully listening to what their marketing goals were, knowing for certain that this client had no idea how to market their product and was relying on my expertise, I was left with the age old conundrum. The quick buck or the long mutually beneficial relationship.

Voices telling me, “go for the easy win…tell it like it really is.” The ugly truth is that most agencies go wrong when faced with this dilemma. They choose the path of least resistance and the easy money. I get it, it’s hard to resist the quick win and the money that goes with it. But it’s short term and will destroy your company’s brand. Ah, if everyone just adhered to The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I lean firmly on the side of under-promise. A promise is easy to make and people are greedy for them. Of course, once you make a promise you are held to it, regardless of how realistic your promise was.

Here in lies the dilemma.

Whether you under promise or over-promise, you or your company will develop a reputation for how reliable you are on delivery. If for whatever reason you drop the ball, your promise will lead to a re-evaluation and they’ll most likely be disappointed and drop you like a hot potato – with prejudice.

However, if you’ve under promised most of the time, you’re safe – “Look, did I promise an unrealistic ROI?” (You should be able to answer no here). During consultation I make it crystal clear that all I can do is give a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) based on past performance of similar clients, the competency of our team, my expertise and tenure in digital marketing, and ultimately the data sets provided.

If you’ve attempted to over promise what you typically deliver: “Um, well, I’m very sorry we’re not meeting your ROI goals, but please disregard the tens of thousands of dollar that it cost you and please consider us for future business.”

Which approach will have better long term business and get more business via referrals?

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