Exceed my expectations, please

I was flipping through an old Business 2.0 magazine and an ad for Hampton Inn caught my eye.  It wasn’t anything special from a copy or design point of view.  So why did I notice it?

Because they surprised me.  Along the right side of the ad, they list some of their amenities.  A great bed.  Check.  Free high-speed internet access.  Check.  Complimentary breakfast.  Check.  Complimentary breakfast bag.  Whoa…back up a second.Images_6

Hampton Inn is demonstrating a very important marketing principle.   Yesterday’s WOWs become today’s expectations. 

Remember when high-speed internet and a free breakfast were innovations in hotel offerings?  But today, any hotel without free high-speed doesn’t even get on my short list.  It’s a given today.  Same with the free breakfast.  But many mornings, I am off and running and don’t have time to linger in the hotel long enough to even butter a bagel.  I just figure that’s my loss.

But Hampton Inn was paying attention to their guests.  They noticed how many of them were up and out.  And they created a solution.  As they probably did when they first added the internet access and free breakfast, they are now exceeding expectations with the breakfast bag.

Until tomorrow.  When yesterday’s WOWs become today’s expectations.

Read a great interview with Colleen Barrett, president of  Southwest Airlines about how they strive to exceed expectations.  (A search for this article lead me to a great blog Client Service Insights.)

You’re working hard to exceed your clients’ expectations, yes?  Let’s assume you’re successful.  Repeat it a few times and you are no longer exceeding their expectations.  You’ve just set the bar higher. 

Here’s the question for us as marketers.  Forget what you did yesterday or today.  How are you going to exceed your clients’ expectations tomorrow?

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