Buddy the man-sized elf (Will Ferrell) spots the “World’s Best Cup Of Coffee” neon sign and rushes in to the Manhattan diner to congratulate the business owner. It’s a classic scene in the 2003 Movie “Elf”, showing the absurdity of a too-common marketing strategy.
I thought of this while skiing recently in July in California. Not water skiing. Downhill skiing at Mammoth Mountain, in July. Thanks to one of the snowiest winters ever recorded, California’s largest ski resort was able to keep a few ski runs open into August.
I tried to convince a couple different friends to join me for this bucket-list event. The weekend would also include mountain biking on the snowless sections of the same slopes. One friend appeared interested but said, “I heard the snow is not that good.”
He was looking for the World’s Best Cup of Coffee. Meanwhile, I was planning to enjoy an honest cup of coffee that was amazing and unique and rare and unforgettable.
When I approached the gondola Saturday morning, the Mammoth Mtn. marketing team did not display the “World’s Best” neon sign. And I’ve schussed through far better ski conditions. Still, I’d never seen a happier and more satisfied group of skiers – or customers – anywhere.
Marketers, here’s where this hits you like an old bamboo slalom gate: Do not post a sign that says “World’s Best” anything. It looks absurd, you can’t prove it, and your customers don’t want that.
What DO customers want? They want honesty. They want an experience. They want to be treated well. As long as your product or service can deliver, then your marketing communication needs to promise that.
People don’t need or want “world’s best” product or service. They want you to provide the best experience you can at the time and place. And if you’re good, unique and rare, they’ll be as happy as a skier in July in California. Communicate that.