Most and least

Traveling yesterday, I realized that there are two popular strategies for service delivery. One is a coping strategy and one is a marketing strategy.

You can deliver the lowest permitted amount, or you can work to create the most remarkable experience you can imagine.

Stop for a second before jumping to the conclusion that the latter is always what you do.

When I pay a bill, I don’t put more money in the envelope than I’m billed for. And I don’t put more stamps on the envelope than the USPS requires, even if I’m in a particularly generous mood. Living life like Spinal Tap (always at 11) is inefficient if not impossible. Very often, we find ourselves doing the least amount of work permitted because, after all, we have more important things to spend our time on.

Smart marketers understand two things. The first is that you must pick your battles, deciding in which areas ‘most’ matters and living with ‘least’ the rest of the time. The second contradicts that and makes this a lot more complex: Least spreads.

You’ve seen this in countless organizations. A few people get in the habit of least, then a whole department does, and the next thing you know, it’s an entire airline. Least is contagious.

Really smart marketers understand this: the best way to fight the contagion is to pay what it costs to eliminate least everywhere you look. It’s ridiculous to expect most in all things (your postage bill will get out of hand), but I think it”s possible to work to stamp out least.