The first time I ate at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, I was disappointed. For some reason–probably the sound of the brand name–I had expected the sandwiches to be pretty tasty, but in fact I found them pretty nondescript. But if you listen to their radio commercials, you’ll realize that Jimmy John’s is not about tasty sandwiches; they’re about fast sandwiches.
These commercials make no promises about how juicy, spicy, toasty or succulent their sandwiches are; they just promise you that they’ll be delivered to you in a hurry. That’s something no other national sandwich chain has ever promised before. And promising something your competitors don’t is a good idea–provided it’s something customers want. And it doesn’t hurt to make that promise with a very good sense of humor.
Michael Treacy’s The Discipline of Market Leaders was one of the first books to make a compelling case for not trying to excel at everything, but to instead excel at one thing and be “good enough” in other important areas. Jimmy John’s has clearly decided to excel at customer service (i.e., delivery time), and–almost as important–they’ve had the wisdom to have their marketing communications focus on that story.
That kind of marketing discipline is certainly refreshing. In fact, it’s almost–sorry, I can’t help myself–freaky!