Companies can invest in their promise or they can invest in their delivery of that promise.
Buying a row of billboards down a major highway is an investment in promise. Giving out a sampler of your three top products to a new customer so she can decide which is best for her is an investment in delivery.
Having a positioning line that you’ve got the best steaks in town is an investment in promise. Hiring a renowned chef and buying high-quality ingredients is an investment in delivery.
Certainly some amount of promise is needed to get you on customers’ decision set and drive trial. But pumping in the traffic at the expense of the customer’s experience with your company is short-sighted. Over-delivery (promise<delivery) will garner you long-term business growth from customers delighted by their expectations being exceeded – then spreading the word about you.
I wonder if that’s what the bartender at the Two Bells Tavern in Seattle was thinking, buying us all a round of drinks even though he knew we were tourists. I’ve already told five co-workers, and now, you.