Start with the customer experience. Then work backwards.
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I attended the BCAMA (BC Chapter of the American Marketing Association) Marketing Trends breakfast panel discussion this past week. While there were many relevant trends shared, what came through loud and clear is this: the consumer now rules.
Our traditional approach to marketing and advertising is being tossed on its ear. Agencies are adjusting, and clients are trying to leverage technology while still being human.
These days we need to start with the customer experience. Then work backwards.
An ad is not enough anymore. Advertising will always be a part of marketing, but on its own without considering how the customer experience is designed from every single touch point to absolutely delight, you may just be creating “badvertising” – otherwise known as spending money to drive them to your location to disappoint them.
Frankly, there’s more badvertising out there than there should be.
Consumers make judgement on brands based on their experience. They get that experience from everything around them – therefor all touch points need to take a user centered approach. This is something cult brands like Apple, Beats, Harley Davidson, Lululemon, Vans, Ikea, Mini, Zappos, Starbucks and TED understand. They have raving fans, not just people who like them. That is a huge difference.
A Cult brand is a product or service with a committed customer base. The attainment of such true believers or ‘near fanatical’ customers is made possible because cult brands sell more than a product, they sell a lifestyle, and they also care A LOT about each and every customer touch point
When you consider customer touch points then, the lens on marketing becomes much broader. Suddenly every part of customer service becomes a piece of marketing. The way phone calls are handled, the way social media comments and direct messages receive replies, how customer complaints are resolved, staff knowledge and willingness to help, the ease of purchase and returns, customization of communication, and packaging. The list goes on. Even the accountants have a role if they are in touch with customers, or their policies impact them.
When you start with the customer experience, everyone is part of marketing. This requires a fundamental change in philosophy, not only in the way a company trains its staff, but ultimately how it communicates its culture.
We need to build the brand from within, and then live it and walk the talk. Once all of that is done, the advertising campaign can be layered over top of it.
We no longer build the brand with the campaign.
We now build the brand, and then the campaign.
The role of marketing has been inverted in this age that favours the consumer.
With this approach, staff have to live the words of your tag line, not just love them. They are the ones that make the tag line come to life, and help build the brand from the inside out. Once that’s done, then advertising will actually have impact.
You’ll recall from last week, and interesting statistic out of Mark Shaefer’s book Rebellion – The most Human Company Wins. He noted that 2/3 of your marketing happens without you. And that 2/3 is happening on social media, through word of mouth, in customer driven content and through reviews.
We basically can’t buy our way in anymore without being invited. And to be invited, we have to consider the customer experience at the core of everything we do. Framed from that perspective, it’s about gaining human impressions, not advertising impressions.
Something to consider for this week. It’s a big concept, but worthy of addressing in the context of your overall marketing plan.
I’m pretty excited to be attending The Gathering www.cultgathering.com being held in Banff, AB in 3 weeks. It’s a conference where CEOs and Marketing Directors from global cult brands like AirBNB, Porche, Harley Davidson, Orange Theory, S' Well, Lush, Marvel will gather to share best practices, secrets of engagement and other cool stuff. My son is incredibly jealous that I will get to hang out with Tony Hawk, Legendary Skateboarder and Entrepreneur. It’s been sold out for several months, so I can’t wait to share insights with you from it. Expect “the customer experience” as marketing to be at the front of their discussions.
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And if you happen to live in the Vancouver market, or want to look it up online, The Vancouver Sun will have published my travel article in their Saturday issue, on our motorcycle trip on Route 66, the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Link to it HERE. That is all part of the "passion project" involving travel writing over at CarryOnQueen.com If you haven't checked it out, have a look and let me know what you think!
Until next week,
Start with the customer experience
Then work backwards
If you want other insightful marketing tips, link here fiveminutemarketing.com
Consulting website: charleson.ca