What my Dad’s funeral can teach you about marketing…

My mum edged forward on the couch, leaned in close and softly broke the silence:

“Now, John, before we get to the crematorium, I have to tell you something…”.

It was the day of my Dad’s funeral. I remember it well. My mum, my sister Jo and my Auntie Rita were sat on couches in the window of the Co-op funeral place (I wanted to say “shop”, but that didn’t feel quite right), waiting for the cars to take us to the crematorium.

We’d been silent for quite a while now. 

(Yes, even me)

Until my Mum leaned forward that is.

I began searching my mind for what she could possibly need to tell me – and only me – so urgently… right at this very moment.

Did she have some last words of wisdom from my Dad?

Shit. Was I adopted?

Was my Dad’s dying wish for me to do the Macarena at his funeral?

Was there a Holt family secret that I needed to know?

Oh my god! Did he shoot Kennedy?

My mind raced through all the possibilities.

And then she said it:

“…now you will give other people a chance at the buffet when we get to the pub, won’t you?”

Yes, seriously. I have witnesses.

I have to admit, it was a bit of an anti-climax. I was expecting something possibly exciting, definitely life-changing…

… What I got was a request for me to stop being such a fat git.

Turns out there was no family secret. I wasn’t adopted and my Dad didn’t shoot Kennedy (though I’m still waiting for the FBI to get back to me on that).

Sometimes the end result doesn’t live up to the hype.

When this happens you feel a bit let down, as I did.

Some people make the same mistake with their marketing.

They spend so much energy on building up the excitement for their launch that they forget that the end result actually needs to live up to – and should probably exceed – those expectations.

You want your customers to enjoy the whole process and be pleasantly surprised at the end, not let down and ripped off.

You get happy, loyal customers by overdelivering and exceeding expectations.

So don’t always use the best-case scenarios for case studies, testimonials and results during a launch or promo.

Get real with your audience.

Show them the typical, usual and average too. 

If your product or service does what it should, this won’t cost you sales, it’ll get you more.

People are suckers for honesty, integrity and authenticity. Give them those and they’re far more likely to buy into you and, when they do, they’ll be pleasantly surprised.

… and they’ll be back.