Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Sold Experience Must Exceed The Marketed Expectation

The Customer Satisfaction Formula

By David Miranda
During a Q&A session after a marketing presentation to a university audience, I was asked what the difference was between marketing and sales since the terms were used interchangebly in business at times. The question is a good one and deserved a good answer.

There is a symbiotic relationship between marketing and sales. One relies on the other for ultimate success - a ying to the other's yang. Some have used the adage "everyone in marketing and sales must sing off the same song sheet", but to really understand the relationship, one must go further. Marketing and sales must "must make music".

Marketing, simply put, is getting someone to "want to buy" what you have to sell - creating the expectation. Sales is actually "getting them to buy" - selling the experience, not just the germane product or service. Starbucks, for example, doesn't sell coffee, it sells the Starbucks experience. Altoids doesn't sell mints, they sell prevention. And so on.

When the experience exceeds the expectation, there is strong customer satisfaction and positive word of mouth. When the expectation, on the other hand, exceeds the experience, customers are not happy and this creates negative word of mouth. When the experience meets expectation, customer get what they expect, but "just okay" does not generate word of mouth.

So the relentless goal should be to exceed customer expectations. This is the characteristic of all great brands.

Remember, before someone buys something (sales), they have to want it (marketing).