Advertising lives at the top of the customer experience funnel. Thus, it’s important to make and run great advertising. It’s equally important to realize that no matter how high quality the ads, and how spot-on the messaging is, advertising is only one of several important parts of the customer’s experience journey.
Smart brand managers use advertising to build awareness and drive purchase intent. From there, things like customer service, product design
How the prospect or returning customer interacts with the company (and the quality of those interactions) is the determinating factor in the brand attraction model. Thus, the brand promises made in the advertising must be realized operationally or the advertising investment is lost, and all the brand has done is to add more distortion and noise to the machine.
Where Is Marketing Going? Asking for a Friend.
Ann Lewnes (@alewnes) is executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Adobe. Kevin Lane Keller is the E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. The duo wrote down some interesting things about where marketing communications
With traditional marketing, the customer-decision and company-selling process
comparatively simple with customers entering into a company’s sales and marketing funnel and making various choices along the way to becoming loyal, repeat customers. Today, every surrounding customer touch point online and offline — as wide-ranging as a tweet, product download, in-store purchase, the company’s social purpose, its executives’ behavior, and the corporate culture — can shape experiences that define a brand for customers. was
Do you see why Chief Marketing Officers have such a tough job? No CMO can control all the factors outlined above.
The CMO can gather the team and run them through a deck on brand alignment and delivering the company’s brand promise, but when the meeting breaks, what then? Will the sales team begin to adopt brand standards in their emails and other outreach materials? Will members of the customer success team demonstrate how they care about the customer? Will the CEO keep his foot from his mouth and stay off Twitter?
Today, a brand communicator’s task is to surround the prospect and/or customer in brand love. This is accomplished through positive reinforcement at every turn.
In this world of 360-degree marketing, also known as integrated marketing, or shopper marketing, a point-of-sale sign is equally important–perhaps more so– than a TV spot. The TV spot may have brought the customer in question to the beer aisle, but what happens at the point-of-decision is also impacted by product placement in the store, in-store promotions, packaging, and price.
Drop Content Crumbs To Feed the Customer on Her Journey
Content marketing has gotten a bad rap from people who ought to know better. Their flimsy arguments against often hang on terminology rather than intent, purpose or execution. You can call it “content” or you can call it “advertising” or you can call it something else. At the end of the day, a brand either adds value to a prospect’s life via communications, or they do not (for a myriad of reasons).
Lewnes and Keller help to explain:
The reality of customer-brand relationships today is that they have evolved from single, interspersed interactions to always-on, symbiotic, and immersive relationships. Customers own the brand in many ways as much as marketers do, and it is every marketer’s responsibility to make customers an integral part of the company’s brand equation by asking for continuous feedback, listening to it, and co-creating with them.
How hard is it to fully grasp this new fundamental? “Customers own the brand in many ways as much as marketers do.”
It sounds simple on the surface, but it’s far from simple. When you accept that customers own the brand, you have to play by their rules, not yours. This isn’t something that MBA students are taught in a classroom. You have to learn this on one ad campaign after the next that fails to convert. What’s worse,
Listening and co-creating are cooperative acts. In other words, they’re nothing like broadcast or print media, which are one-way mechanisms. Have ad people adapted to this new reality, or are the people who make ads stuck in another century?
I don’t know who is ready to answer this non-rhetorical question. I do know it begins with a recognition of advertising’s place in the marketing communications framework and advances from there with a new humility.