I got this post's headline and insights from the book, You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. (Somehow I didn't think his book's title would make a good post headline.) In some obvious ways, when you think about it, he makes a lot of sense. Taste a wine, watch a TV show, listen to a new set of headphones...the expectation that it will be superior actually helps make the experience better.
McRaney also quotes some research that showed about 18 percent of people who own high-def televisions are actually still watching standard definition programming, but they truly believe they are seeing a better picture. (See? Expectation/experience.)
An interesting marketing classic related to this took place in the early eighties, when Pepsi ran "The Pepsi Challenge." People sampled Pepsi and Coke, with the logos removed, though the glasses were labeled either M or Q. People said they like Pepsi, labeled M, better than Coke, labeled Q. Then Coke, upset at losing the taste test, did their own study, but put Coke in both glasses. Again, M was the winner. Turns out it wasn’t actually the soda; people just liked the letter M better than the letter Q!
What the book tells you about wine tasting can save you a fortune, since in many blind taste tests wine connoisseurs have a difficult time telling the $200 bottles from the $20 ones.
The book presents unexpected points of view on why you have too many friends on Facebook and why your memory is mostly fiction. Agree or not, it is a stimulating read. Indeed, before I read the book I would have thought the fact that I am doing two blogs in a row recommending a book must be part of some mystical repetitive pattern. Now I realize that it is just a coincidence, explained by the Monte Carlo fallacy! (Yes, I get the same amount (zero) from Amazon for each recommendation.)
In terms of your marketing, the presentation of your price, service, graphics, should all lead to an expectation of quality, because that will allow people to expect excellence, and the actual experience at the end is, surprisingly, often less important.
After all, in real life, doesn't a bunch of bad reviews tend to lessen your enjoyment of a movie, whereas glowing reviews enhances the experience?
Got the idea?