I’ll give you three wishes…

Or, how to manage your expectations.

It’s the stuff of childhood fairy tales – a mysterious figure grants you three wishes. You can choose anything, and it will come to pass.

But then we grow up and realise that the mysterious figure isn’t going to come visiting and give us what we want. The strange thing is, even when we know and accept this, it doesn’t stop us wishing.

‘I wish my marketing was more effective’, ‘I wish I knew which bits worked, and which bits are a waste of time and money’, ‘I wish I had more time to spend with my family’, ‘I wish some of my wishes would come true!’

The fact is, in many cases they can. All we have to realise is that wishes usually relate to something beyond our control or influence. If we change our position, and exert some influence over whatever it is we wish for – we can turn it into a hope.

Hope exists when we have created a situation where we have ‘skin in the game’.

‘I hope I get that pay-rise’ is a reasonable one if you’re actually in a negotiation with your boss, and you’ve shown them why you think it’s due. If you’re not, you may as well just wish for it (the next time the mysterious stranger shows his face).

‘I hope my marketing is more effective’ is also a reasonable one if you’ve analysed how your budget has been invested, and cut out the spend on things that don’t seem to work. Once again, you simply put yourself in the position of having more influence on outcomes – then wishes turn to hopes.

But who wants to hope things turn out OK? I can hope that I don’t die prematurely of heart disease or a stroke – but I’d much rather expect to avoid that. And guess what, with the right diet and exercise, and regular check ups with my GP, I can shift my hopes to expectations – removing some of the uncertainty about making long term plans.

Of course, we can’t expect to live indefinitely without health issues – but the point is, if we take control of certain things, we can reasonably expect to improve our quality and length of life.

And the marketing wishes and hopes? Forget them. If businesses use accurate research well, agree on the most incisive brief with their agencies, and apply creative solutions that absolutely 100% nail that brief – in my experience you CAN ‘expect’ positive returns on all your marketing investment.

If you don’t currently have that expertise on hand for your radio advertising, the team here expect to hear from you!


Paul Carter