Monday, June 05, 2006

Customer Experience

Advertising as we know it is dying a slow death. The country's biggest ad agencies are perplexed as TiVo and other technologies are allowing viewers to skip traditional mass media messages. TV ad spots are being overlooked while magazines are so full of dribble that they all blur into the pea soup of nothingness.

Then along came "product placement", but within as very short amount of time the viewing public has become wise to the fact that the American Idol judges all drink from Coca-Cola tumblers because large sums were paid by the beverage maker. For all we know Paula Abdul is sipping Pepsi Light from that cup.

Consumers are more savvy to the ways of Madison Avenue than they were thirty years ago, however the manner in which corporations market to customers has not changed in a generation.

Welcome Experiential Marketing. We all know that Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Harley Davidson and many other maverick companies are dominating today's brand awareness.....and what these modern success stories have in common is how the customer comes to feel about the company through the interaction with those companies.

I admit that I love Starbucks. I know it is heavily over-priced and that the coffee is not that great. I even had to give up the flavored expresso drinks and frappachinos because of their high calorie content (yes, the Cafe Mocha has 400 calories) and now just drink regular coffee. However, it is the experience and the familiarity one gets in a Starbucks that brings me back day after day. They do more than sell coffee, the sell the whole experience. Anywhere in the world you get the same experience.

Regardless of what product or service your company provides, your future success is entirely riding on how your customers feel about you everytime they encounter your company.

I once worked for a company where the sales people were obsessively concerned that the marketing budget did not allocate enough money for print advertising. They tried to hide their low sales numbers behind the limited ads. In reality a full-page ad will not engage the prospect. That is why dynamic and exciting companies look for new ways to stand out from the crowd. People are moved to purchase by their experiences, not stale advertising. Thus, you cannot rely on image, reputation and advertising. It is your one-on-one connections with your customers that make all the difference.

A company or an individual needs to be bold to get noticed. One of my favorite stories is what GamePlan Marketing (of Austin, Texas) did for one client who wanted to be noticed at the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show. How does an organization tell its story, make its pitch, and deliver its message at a trade show when it has no booth? Click here to read more. (really...click on the link...it is an amazingly entertaining story...I promise!!!)

The world is changing.....stand out, be bold and make every interaction with you and your company an experience. Average never wins.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer
www.thomsinger.com
thom@thomsinger.com

4 comments:

Shirazi said...

I liked your blogging approach as explained at Blog Herald. Though I dont do that yet but I feel strongly about it. Wish you success.

Thom Singer said...

Shirazi-

thanks for visiting the "Some Assembly Required Blog". I had not know that the Blog Herald had used my post until I read the email that your post triggered. THANKS for alerting me to the post!

I hope you come back and read more!

thom

John Paul Micek said...

An important heads up to business owners and marketers Thom. I think the key is as you said "... your future success is entirely riding on how your customers FEEL (my emphasis) about you everytime they encounter your company."

It's confusing for a lot of business owners, but marketing is no longer about interruption. It is as you say experiental, AND I would also add -- participatory. The more small business owners and marketers understand these (and a few other keys to New Media Marketing), the easier it will be for them to apply that understanding for profit. Check out the recent article on Three Ways to Market and Win With Consumer Generated Media and let me know what you think.

Aloha!

Jeremy Postal said...

Great post Thom.

I need to point out that Paula Abdule used to commercials for Pepsi. She probably is drinking Pepsi out of those cups...

Anyhow, to illustrate the point "your one-on-one connections with your customers that make all the difference." I am a full time snowboarder who happens to be good enough to gain sponsorship from a number of companies. These companies make sure that I have all of the newest, freshest, dopest product and in exchange they ask that I spend time in the snowboard park making sure that the kids are really excited about their product. Sponsored riders one-on-one connections and reputation is the major driving force behind snowboard sales.

I am a walking experience...the kids in the snowboard park walk away at the end of the day excited about snowboarding, learning new tricks, and riding with older/better snowboarders.