A lesson on managing expectations.
Valentine’s Day, like so many other things, is really about expectations. You can put together the most perfectly worded, amazingly drawn, incredibly heartfelt handmade card and if your significant other is expecting a Lexus with a giant bow, things may not end well for you. Of course, it works the other way. If you set a $50 gift limit, that Lexus is going to come with a long conversation about how car payments work.
Managing expectations has never been my strength.
Common People United was still in our launch phase as Valentine’s Day 2016 approached and, seriously you guys, I had the best idea ever for a Valentine’s card. I’d drawn, like, mind maps. I knew exactly the strategies I wanted to leverage. I had a dozen other buzzwords I was throwing around. This was going to be a totally revolutionary way to introduce people to our new business.
Almost none of that worked. And I’m not telling you any of the specifics because the final product we came up with is… still pretty great.
If I’d pitched the rest of the team with this idea, “a weird little choose-your-own-adventure dating simulation thing,” I think everyone would have loved it right away. Now, it’s a year later, and we’re just getting to the point where we can watch it as a product on its own without remembering all the ideas we’d hoped to accomplish.
The problem wasn’t that I took a big swing and missed. I’d walked up to the plate like Babe Ruth, pointing to the bleachers and calling my shot. And… then the pitcher gave me an offspeed pitch that I could bloop over the shortstop for an nice little single.
Base hits are great when you aren’t expecting home runs, and handmade cards can be the greatest gift ever if they come from the right place. The digital marketing space is full of people who wake up every day, pull on a “Chicks Dig The Long Ball” shirt, and promise potential clients that they’re going to swing for the fences with every pitch they see. Last Valentine’s Day aside, that’s not what we do. To keep the metaphor going, Common People United is built on waiting for the pitches we know we can hit and legging out extra bases when we realize we have the opportunity.
Plans don’t always work out. Failure is always a possibility. Chances are good we’re all going to run into a little failure along the way. So, manage expectations wisely. Underpromising and over-delivering is the best way we have found to make sure that you don’t create failures out of things that deserve to be successes... especially on Valentine’s Day. <3