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.