Properly managing my expectations


Although they've yet to launch an advertising campaign, the New York Metropolitan Baseball Organization (aka The Mets) is doing a nice job of managing my audience experience.

After hearing that Las Vegas odds makers picked the squad to finish dead last in the National League's Eastern Division, as well as be this season's worst team, Mets ownership didn't overreact.

Instead, embattled team owner Fred Wilpon had specially-made T-shirts distributed to the squad that contained the letter U for ‘underdog’. And the squad's general manager and field manager have gone on record as saying they'd field “a competitive squad” and “may just surprise people.” That’s InsideBaseballSpeak for 'We're guessing we'll lose 100 games.'

All of the above beautifully manages my expectations for the 2012 campaign. The Mets are easily the worst run organization in Major League Baseball and, in just five short seasons, have gone from fielding the best possible team (on paper) to the worst. The reasons for their precipitous decline are many and don't need to be enumerated here.

But, in a blog dedicated to best and worst practices in reputation management, I'd give the Mets executives an A-plus (for now).

Far too many organizations say one thing in their messaging and then deliver a far different audience experience. Typically, that occurs because the folks handling customer service complaints are completely siloed, and have no real interaction with their marketing communications peers who, relying solely on data, create the brand promise and messaging.

We're trying to help Corporate America fix this HUGE legacy issue by partnering with Emily Yellin, a noted author and former New York Times reporter, who literally wrote the book on customer service: “Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us.” We're calling our solution Audience Experience (Download Audience Experience).

I have great expectations for Peppercom’s Audience Experience. Unlike the owners of the 2012 Mets, I won’t be handing out t-shirts with the letter U. Instead, I’m thinking the letter C for champion works better. In fact, I think Audience Experience is so new and so smart that it has the potential to become the Carolina Panthers or Florida Marlins of business: brand new offerings that go all the way to the top in the first season or two.


How about you? What company promises you one thing and then delivers a very different experience? Besides Peppercom, I mean.

3 thoughts on “Properly managing my expectations

  1. Interesting RepMan, we actually agree on something this week. The 2011 Mets finally made me a Dis-Believer (RIP, Davey Jones). Any organization that hapless, inept at managing its own talent and contemptuous of its own customers doesn’t deserve my hard-earned dollars.
    When our little Mets clique started asking if we had bought any 2012 CitiField tickets, or if we’re teaching our 5-month-old to be a Mets fan, the best reaction I could muster was “I really don’t care anymore.” And it’s true. But yeah, give Wilpon & Co. credit where limited credit is due for low expectations.
    My low expectations company is the socially conciuous long-distance company CREDO.I’ve had a lot of tsuris lately with birth pictures I can’t retrieve from my previous cell phone:
    I know CREDO does the right things with how they donate a customer’s money. Still, how can they not be up front and their lack of back-up data options or that they won’t stand by the products they sell past their limited shelf life?

  2. I love the idea of relegation in American sports! The Catholic grammar school nuns used to practice relegation. The smartest kids were placed in group one. The so-so kids were plucked down in group two. And, the complete losers were forever branded as group three. How’d you like to start out life being told you were group three material?

  3. Rep,
    Two thoughts on this blog.
    One company that sets low expectations for its customers is Ryanair, the Irish budget airline that has conquered Europe. All you ever hear from Ryanair is how it charges exorbitant fees to use a credit card instead of a debit card; to print out your boarding pass at the airport instead of at home; how they would like to charge passengers to use the bathroom on board; how, if they could, they would make people stand on planes so they could get more passengers on the plane. By the time you get to your seat your expectations are so beaten down you feel appreciative for the fact it is not made of hard plastic.
    As for the Mets, I think American sports should introduce the concept of relegation and promotion. In football (I mean soccer) if you finish the season in the bottom three places in the league you get relegated to the next division down. The teams that finished in the top three places of the league below get promoted. Relegation is catastrophic for the finances and prestige of a club. If the specter of relegation to the Triple-A loomed over the Mets then I think they would be doing more than just printing tee-shirts.