Posted by: eliz_beth | November 3, 2011

Tip Day 3 – Deliver what you Show

Today’s tip harkens back to when we were kids and we’d see a new toy advertised during a favorite television show. The toy could be a truck that seemed to drive over anything on it’s own or a doll who just came alive in her little mommy’s arms. Television made the impossible seem true and until we learned better, many a birthday or holiday was crushed when these magical toys did not live up to what we saw on television or in various print ads.

Everyone has to learn about marketing, few people learn the depths of which marketing can go in the name of producing cool media experiences. Models are sewn into garments, there’s layers of clamps and tape on the back of a dress to get it to fit perfectly, and that awesome looking ice cream is often colored mashed potatoes. Kids learn the hard way the toy that looked so incredibly awesome on a commercial was a different story when they took it out of the box.

When one grows up, one learns about professionalism. Part of being a professional is delivering on requirements, not providing marketing slight of hand. That’s what marketing and customers are for! When I’m told I’ll receive documentation and the preview copies are complete with a great layout and in color, I expect the final delivered product to appear even better- in color and at least collated unless otherwise told to expect something else.

There are always going to be times we may need to show a model of what we’re building, or use a placeholder to show where things are in manufacturing. These are acceptable and no one thinks less of them because they are exactly that- models/placeholders. No one is going to hold them to the final level of detail expected.

When you present something and label it as final version- the customer is going to believe this is your final effort and build their expectations for the product based on the work on this final version. Things go bad when the final version is delivered to the user and it does not look like the final version already discussed. No color? Missing corrections?

It’s a flashback to childhood disappointments again and this time not only are you disappointed in the product, but you paid good money for the results. I’ve had this situation happen recently and was shocked at the end result- where was the color I’d receive earlier? Why is this product not like the preview product? Why am I paying for an inferior result than what was agreed to?

What I’m saying boils down to this– if you show someone color pages, expect them to expect color in the final printouts unless you’ve come to different specific terms. If they expected X behavior from their system and they’re getting Y – either fix it for X or adapt for X1. Don’t promise something without the confidence you’ll deliver it as stated.

Don’t be the negative cruel commercial, failing your audience and taking your business with it. Make sure every delivery is the best it can be and meets your customer’s managed expectations.

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