Talking the talk is way different from walking the walk.
Today, we sent out a self-promotional e-mail. If you didn't get it, you can see it here.
It's about the fact that companies ought to put more effort into developing their product or service or discovering what is truly unique about their product or service than telling people how wonderful they are.
We had a client not long ago (they and their industry will remain nameless here) that was a new entry into a crowded arena - an arena full of disgruntled customers.
This, we said, right at the beginning, is a tremendous opportunity. It's an opportunity to delivery a genuinely better product and genuinely better customer service than the competition. And believe me, the bar here was pretty low, so pretty much all these guys had to do was not hate their customers and they'd have stood out.
Note the use of past tense.
We had a lot of ideas for ways they could deliver a better product, but every one was met with a deaf ear. Now, maybe every single one of them sucked. That's a possibility. I don't buy into it, but it's possible. But the fact was, these guys weren't inclined to do anything better or different to distinguish themselves.
Wait, I'm wrong there. They were more than happy to say they were all about making this industry pleasant to use and saying that they believed in, as their marketing director said, in delivering their service in a "fun, creative and innovative approach." He used to want us to include copy about their "legendary customer service" in ads. Legendary. For a startup.
Anyway, this client is gone now. We tried our best, but this was a company that simply refused to develop or adopt a brand position that would differentiate them from the competition. And it was right there for the taking. They seemed to think the fact that they were in business would be enough to draw customers and resisted all efforts to lead them down a real marketing road.
They had some issues and hadn't done enough business to have generated the revenue to overcome those issues. So it was bye-bye. Maybe just for a while and maybe forever. But if they do come back and don't do things differently this time around, the result for version 2.0 will be the same as it was for the beta version.
You - or they - can blame the agency if you - or they - want for their failure, but I'm convinced that if they'd just taken a small step toward actually freaking delivering a better product, they'd have made enough money that they could have overcome all sorts of operational issues.
Do good. Tell people. But for God's sake DO GOOD.