What Does It Mean to Under-Promise and Over-Deliver?

August 07, 2019

What Does It Mean to Under-Promise and Over-Deliver?

If you have been in the marketing arena for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the term, “under-promise and over-deliver.” And while it’s fun to throw it around as a kind of catchphrase to show your marketing smarts, how many people really know what it means? Or more importantly, how to use it to your advantage?

What It Doesn’t Mean


Just by reading the words, you can figure out that the phrase refers to delivering more than you’d originally promised. Unfortunately, people being people, some seem to think that means promising a shitty experience and then delivering a decent one instead. If you are expecting crappy and get a little less crappy than you thought you’d get, it doesn’t exactly make for a memorable experience.

Under-promise and over-deliver doesn’t mean that you can’t promote your business and toot your own horn a little. It doesn’t mean you have to downplay accomplishments or hide benefits. It just means that you are tapping into an age-old psychological trick that will ensure your customers, clients and prospects think you are even more wonderful than you are.

 It’s All About Perception


Perception is reality. That’s another one you’ve probably heard before. In marketing terms, what it means is that how your product, service or company is perceived by the public will greatly influence how well it sells, how many repeat customers you get and how people talk about your business.

People just love to feel like they are getting more than they thought they were going to get. More than their “money’s worth”. So, when you deliver more than they thought they were going to get, that perception light bulb starts to flicker and a new reality is created. And the great thing about this concept is that it all comes back to you because you are the one that was providing the product or service.

If customer A thinks she is getting a guide on how to eliminate knee pain, but she actually gets the guide, plus another on proper nutrition and a free consultation with a physiotherapist, what kind of perception has been created? She thinks your company is open, honest, caring, giving and worthy of positive feedback. Of course, you need to deliver on the quality of the products, but that’s another matter. And you can use this strategy in a bunch of different ways.

Some Examples of How to Do It


We just looked at how the under-promise, over-deliver concept gets people to think the world of you, but what about practical ways to use it? Remember, the key is to create the perception that your prospects or customers are getting more than they had hoped, so you can accomplish this several ways.

Solving Problems – Many consumers are under the impression that most companies are just out for themselves, so when you go out of your way to solve a problem, it makes a big difference. It could be an issue the customer had with your product or service, how to use it properly or any number of other problems. The key is for you to solve it as efficiently as possible.

Adding a Personal Touch – We have become so used to automated everything that simply having a real person to talk to can be viewed as “over-delivering”.

Free Gifts and Extras – Adding more to your offer with bonuses and free gifts helps to increase the perception of value and shine a favorable light on your company.

Getting It There Faster – If you ship physical products, something as basic as promising 5-day shipping and getting it there in 3 days can make a huge difference.

Sometimes, you can create a positive perception by just not making outrageous claims and being realistic when it comes to your products and services. People don’t like to feel as though they’ve been “duped”, so if you claim that your exercise product will help them lose 20 lbs in a month or promise a 1,000% ROI, you have created expectations that are almost impossible to meet.

And what is the result of unmet expectations? It’s disappointment, which is something you never want your customers to feel as it pertains to your business. If you are conscious of the under-promise and over-deliver concept throughout your marketing, you’ll create a wonderful perception of your company and come out on top more often than not.


If you want to learn more about this exciting strategy, or just want to find out how to boost your content creation each month, book a free consultation because we have all the answers you need.









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