Whether you’re a football fan or not, there’s definitely something to be learnt from the current debacle at Aston Villa.
As you may or may not know, Tim Sherwood was given his marching orders at Villa a couple of weeks ago, ending his disastrous eight-month tenure at the club, with Remi Garde unveiled as his replacement a few days later.
The reality – as most football fans will agree – is that Sherwood was simply not good enough to land the job in the first place, and his demise could have been predicted pretty much as soon as he signed on the dotted line.
The question is: why was he given the job in the first place?
It’s an important question, with an important lesson as the answer.
You see, the sole reason why Tim Sherwood landed the Aston Villa job is because he was marketed superbly.
After a mixed spell at Tottenham Hotspur, Sherwood was lauded by the press, his fellow professionals and himself.
Every communication that came from the Sherwood camp – or from the media that he was pally with – painted the manager as a brave, strong and determined character who had everything he needed to succeed.
In short, he built a strong brand and a strong image; and this quickly led to him being offered a number of Premier League jobs. After turning down a couple, he took the Villa job, declaring that he was a ‘winner’ and promising big things.
23 games later, having lost 15 of them, and he was given the sack.
So what’s the lesson? However well you market what you do, if you don’t deliver, you WILL get found out.
It might take eight months. It might take two years. It might take two hours. But if your marketing efforts don’t match your customer’s experience of your product or service, you won’t get away with it.
Think about your marketing. What are you saying to your prospects? What claims are you making?
The old saying goes, “don’t let your mouth write cheques your ass can’t cash”, and that’s never truer than when you’re marketing your business.
Sell a skincare product that “visibly reduces wrinkles within 60 days”? You better make sure it does.
Offer managed property services that remove “all of the hassle” for landlords? There better not be any hassle.
Give advice “guaranteed” to make your customers £1000 a month? Make sure it’s not a penny short.
Now just to be clear, bold claims that differentiate you from the opposition are good. You should use them. Developing your category of one and showing your prospects why you’re different from your competition is a really smart thing to do.
What ISN’T a smart thing to do is to claim something that’s not true that you’re likely to get found out for. You might get some cash in up front with this approach, but long term, it’s only going to undermine your credibility and damage your reputation. Just ask Tim Sherwood.