First Impressions

Unfulfilled expectations in marketing: I speak about this subject all the time. Getting a sale by promoting something you can't produce (but sure looks good in your marketing) will never make you successful. The customer will not sing your praises; in fact, they may even sing your condemnations. They will never listen to you, buy from you, care about you, or promote you again. And if you really look at the numbers, all those elements matter in ensuring true growth for your business. It's not just about that first sale.


But there is something associated with unfulfilled expectations that is worth taking a look at: First impressions.


When I work from home, sometimes putting my hair in a ponytail was the closest I got to taking a shower. And then one day I slipped into the post office to get my mail, expecting the same no-one-ever-sees-me-at-the-post-office experience, when oops, who should appear? I promise you it wasn't eight fabulous reindeer. It was the president of a company we do business with, and he did a double take at the sight of me. I'm not sure whether it was the hair in a ponytail or the UGG slippers (worn for many, many happy years) that did me in, but I knew my power of persuasion with him was lost forever. I no longer go out unless I look good enough not to ruin my reputation. Ever.


Need a visual? Here's one from my personal experience that doesn't sell my personal self down the river.


I frequent a breakfast haunt on Cape Cod called Jack's Out Back. Everything they do is wonderful. Organic eggs. Homemade sausage. Popovers fresh every day. I go early, like at 6:30, so I don't run into anyone and can have my private time. It's part of my routine, and it works for me. Recently, for the first time in the five years I’ve been going there, I ordered a blueberry pancake.



“Peter,” I said when it arrived, “did they forget the blueberries?” Peter and I are close, like brother-sister close. We understand each other.


“No, it's there. They just fall to the bottom.”


So I took a bite and here is what the other side of the pancake looked like: A plethora—a plethora I say to you—of blueberries were in that pancake. It was more blueberries than pancake. Fresh, fabulous blueberries. Why he didn't serve that side of the pancake up for me to see when they first arrived is beyond me. First impression.


But too bad for Jack's Out Back. The damage is done. My first impression of that pancake was the lasting impression, even after I saw the other side of the pancake and the major return it represented on my pancake-order investment.


A simple thing to fix. Revisit that first impression on all things you send out. Which side of the pancake do you present?

Christine Merser, Managing Partner

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