There is a marketing strategy called “under-promise-over-deliver.” It was successfully used in the promotion of the Disney movie, Frozen, and there is plenty we can learn from this as healthcare marketers.
Forbes Magazine outlined the Frozen marketing strategy. The summation is Disney promoted the movie as the usual kid fare, and when parents went to the theater, they found a great musical score and interesting plot. Disney kept expectations low in the kid-oriented trailers and commercials focused on the juvenile comic elements. The result was enthusiastic word-of-mouth for a surprising movie.
The reason the under-promise-over-deliver strategy works is because word-of-mouth starts as a result of an unexpected customer experience. The lesson: If you are bragging about how good you are, the customer (or patient in the case of healthcare) feels obligated to evaluate and rate everything you do with high skepticism. Nobody wins when customers arrive with a critic’s attitude.
How can you execute a successful under-promise-over-deliver strategy?
1) First you need a genuinely good customer experience. In healthcare, patient experience can be defined by many factors, but you have to excel at making people feel your love and competence. I usually look at the CMS “would recommend” score as a quick indicator of how well you are doing with patient experience.
2) This might be the hardest of all: you must abandon the need to show ratings and awards in your brand messages. When your marketing brags, it invites the customer to also evaluate you critically.
A wise man once said, “In everything there is a season.” If Solomon was a marketer, he might have added, “A time to tout your brand attributes; and a time to under sell.”