When we think about keeping up with the neighbors, there is a sort of classic idea of matching car for car, riding lawnmower for riding lawnmower, and grill for grill. You don’t necessarily have to be the neighborhood champion for possessions. You just have to keep pace. The flip side is that many would say this is materialistic and can eventually cause people to live beyond their means.
In marketing, this is a little different. You need to keep pace. You need to fulfill people’s expectations in the moment to keep their attention. I’m not talking about product offerings. That’s development’s worry. What I am referencing is how you engage your market with your product. In this world, the Joneses are companies like Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon, when it comes to books, Amazon set a standard for expectations. I can confidently speak on this from my days marketing for a publishing company. People wanted an idea of what was in a book. When this became recognized as a benefit of shopping on Amazon, the customers let us know. It came to a point, where we had to make this a reality on our site.
If you continue not offering what customers expect, they will happily change their loyalty and maybe save a few dollars in the process. It’s an expectation that needs to be met. For us, they wanted to see the table of contents and a sample of the writing. They didn’t want to spend $12.95 on a book plus shipping only to get a novel that might quickly find its way to Half-Price Books.
Let’s take a look at sports. Most teams don’t have the brand recognition and rabid following as Real Madrid or Dallas Cowboys, but if you manage the operations or marketing of a team, you would like to get as close as possible. You need to get people’s attention and keep it. If you are delivering your message in a manner inconsistent to what is expected, you are going to have a much tougher job building your following. That means fewer butts in the stands.
Social media is in a constant state of evolving. I remember when I first engaged with Facebook. This was in the days when you needed a college email to have an account. You had a profile picture but no wallpaper. Your status updates were in third-person. You didn’t share links or media. There were no apps or games. It was just enough better than MySpace to make it worthwhile. Now, there are groups. You create events. You can share all sorts of media. You can stream happenings from concerts to your thoughts on Ben and Jerry’s flavors live to friends most anywhere in the world.
The reality is that if you are posting updates like it’s 2005, people are less likely to be interested in what you have to say. Here are some other ways to think about expectations. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, four days feels like an eternity, when you’re used to getting your product by the next day. How long do you think a 12-year-old will stay engaged with PAC-MAN, when he or she has a PlayStation 4? If you’re favorite team is having a rivalry game and you can’t watch it, are you really going to wait to see the results on SportsCenter? No. You’re going to be on your smart phone checking scores, looking at images, and watching video clips, and simple text-only posts are not going to make you happy.
If you are managing your team’s social media channel, it is essential that you meet fans’ expectations and continue to do so, as social media evolves. You need to help those who can’t be there feel as though they are in the bleachers with a dog and beer as much as possible. You want them to restrain themselves from cheering in the back, while the bride and groom have their first dance during game time on a Saturday afternoon. The more they are engaged, the more they will be tantalized to get the full experience by buying a ticket and cheering until they are nearly hoarse.