As marketers, we agonize over our marketing strategy and our consumer promise, committed to finding the perfect solution. We fall in love with our products and services, their potential and the value they can add to our target market. We craft a message and shout it out loudly, to reach our target market and convince them we’re a perfect fit.
But sometimes the message just isn’t credible. Sometimes we are guilty of over-claiming. And when we do, we highlight our shortcomings.
I happened to visit Port Elizabeth a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m not entirely unfamiliar with PE, having family there, but this is the first time I noticed that this town boasts an international airport.
I use the word boasts deliberately, as I’m pretty sure they don’t actually have one. It’s hard enough to get a flight from Durban to PE so I’m not convinced that tourists from London, Los Angeles or Lagos are flitting in and out of PE on direct flights.
I asked a couple of locals which sparked some debate – apparently Tiger Woods once flew his private jet into PE. Or maybe he didn’t – there wasn’t consensus. There was also the suggestion that John Travolta flew his in too. But then again, maybe not. Either way, giving the local airport the rather grandiose title of Port Elizabeth International Airport and placing a sign above the door to the arrivals hall isn’t going to make me believe it.
I’m guessing we’re all guilty of over-claiming to a lesser or greater degree. It might be wishful thinking or we might simply neglect to remove mention of discontinued products or services from our marketing collateral. We might aim to look bigger and better than we are by focusing on more we really can lay claim to.
PE airport has a definite charm. It’s easy to get to, parking is simple and the queues aren’t hectic. As airports go, it’s quiet and peaceful. But it’s a sore disappointment as an international airport.
Are your claims of broad expertise credible? Or should you be focusing on your core strengths and a clear single-minded message. I think it might be time to update my website!