The Best Marketing Advice EVER

“Do what you say you are going to do.”


I recently turned down working with a client because, although it would have been a very lucrative contract, they had proven in the past that I could not trust them to do what they said they would do. I’m going to be really blunt here. Everybody fucks up sometimes. It’s inevitable. But if your company has a history of doing the wrong thing, of consistently being hard to deal with, not paying on time, or not delivering the service that you promise, why in the world would anybody ever want to deal with you?

I am amazed that people would spend thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign, and then seemingly go out of their way to make all of those new customers angry. And yet, this seems to be the way that a lot of companies do business. The irony of it all is, if you took 20% of that marketing budget and just put it towards fixing the wrongs you have done in the past, you would see a much better return on that money.

My last couple of posts have been about integrity, and many people would assume that this has nothing to do with marketing or writing. But the reality is that it has everything to do with marketing and writing. Your business does not exist in a vacuum, and people talk about the things that you do. ┬áThat single customer that you let walk out your door is going to talk about their experience, and yet I’ve personally seen business owners say things like ‘thank God he’s leaving’, or ‘oh no, this guy again’, when the person’s problem really isn’t that big of a deal.

I took my first employer sponsored management class in 1995. It covered a wide range of topics, but the one that stood out was that a happy customer tells 3 people, while an angry customer tells 10 people. I have no idea how accurate that number was in 1995, but searching on Google today shows that the common wisdom is that an angry customer tells 3000 people. I doubt the number is really that big (there’s a book with that title that has likely influenced search results), but with Facebook and Twitter, the number is certainly more than 10.

Apologies are free. Throw in a $10 Starbucks gift card for more serious cases, or a $100 restaurant gift card for the most serious cases. And then stop pissing people off – do what you said you would do.


  1. I tried an online company recently. They failed miserably. It was as if they offered flowers and I got bologna. I didn’t even have to complain – they noticed something went wrong and they sent me a $20 Amazon credit. With the amount of data and feedback available there’s not even very many excuses left for companies now.

  2. My mentor in University once told us at a conference that integrity is the most important trait to possess. Do what you say. It seems simple but in a world where it gets easier and easier to over promise and under deliver we must remind our selves that every customer can tell the world about their experience with you. It’s always best to keep your word.
    Great post mang.

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