Everything I had ever seen and heard on TV, movies, and magazines claimed that New York was this larger-than-life place where people lived extraordinary lives, full of high fashion, success, and glamour… or at least that is what I had heard. Living in New York was a dream, so I packed all my worldly possessions in canvas tote bags, loaded them into the trunk of my car, and drove to this land of opportunity, the magical place where dreams come true. However, within one month of living here, I had come to the conclusion that the marketing hype to New York is greater than most of us realize. Thankfully in my case, my disappointment in the reality of New York was mild compared to the complete shock experienced by people in instances where reality doesn’t live up to the ideals.
We’ve all experienced it in one form or another, like when we save to buy a product that all the rage, only to be disappointed later when the item arrives and you realize that the money spent wasn’t really worth it. Remember the Furby? The Furby was an American electronic robotic toy originally released in 1998. Initially sold for $35, it was later sold for up to 800 dollars in stores around Christmas time because of the marketing hype created around it. While perhaps Furbies are an extreme case, it is a great example of a classic problem: “hype.”
So what is Hype exactly anyway?
I am sure you understand the general idea of hype, but for the purpose of this article, lets streamline and define it for clarity. Hype in terms of customer’s expectations is the difference between a product’s monetary value versus its realized value. Knowing how to manage product hype is and essential general practice for content marketers today
As marketers, when we launch a product, hype is critical. Like Goldilocks and the porridge, getting the right balance is difficult. Both too much, and too little hype can be dangerous for your product. Would you rather have a lot of people sharing a little bit of over-hype, or for fewer people to have expectations for your product that are massively overblown? Similarly, would you prefer to thoroughly and completely satisfy a smaller number of die-hard clients, or just somewhat satisfy a huge horde of individuals?
Under-Hype, the Porridge is too cold!
Under-hype is when you launch a product that doesn’t cause as much interest and excitement as you wanted. This scenario is unfavourable from the marketing point of view as it implies that the marketing team hasn’t done their job, or that there is a flaw in the marketing plan.
There are two reasons that could cause under-hype. The first is when you don’t make any attractive claims or promises about your product. This conservative stance means that the consumer knows nothing about the product, and hence has no real interest. The second reason that could cause under-hype is when your marketing or product comes up against a competing product or brand strategy. If your marketing campaign blends into other similar ongoing campaigns, or if your product makes the same promises that a competing product is already fulfilling, there is nothing new to get the consumer excited.
To counter under-hype you have to find some creative way to enhance the expectations and deliverables for your potential consumers early on in the marketing cycle, and making them a constant feature of your overall marketing campaign. You should also examine your products most unique attributes, the ones that differentiate your product from the rest, and produce marketing collateral that highlights these unique selling point or differentiators.
Over-Hype, the Porridge is too hot!
On the other hand, we have over-hype, as illustrated in my example about New York earlier. Over-hype is when too much artificial hype is creating by marketing alone, but the launched product fails to meet these grandiose expectations. A classic case of promising more than you can realistically deliver.
There are two reasons that could cause over-hype. The first is when the marketers raise hopes and expectations about the upcoming product so much, that the real thing falls short. The second reason is when your target market or clients start expecting things or features from the product that the company hasn’t set. This is usually the result of unclear marketing and lack of communication.
To counter over-hype, companies should either improve the product so that it meets client expectations or by dialling down on the marketing to alleviate expectations. Unless you do this, over hype can cause erosion of brand trust.
The “just right” Hype
Any product’s sweet spot is the place where the hype is just right, meaning that your marketing sets honest expectations, stays connected with the client to gauge excitement, and then consistently deliver on the expectations built on these promises.
“Just Right” hype does not mean that you under-promise but over-deliver. It means that you should only make promises that your product can keep, and then deliver consistently over time.
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