One of the reasons I love marketing and advertising is that it’s filled with incredibly smart and talented people. That makes sense given the biggest brands in the world spend billions each year in an effort to better connect with their customers.
However, like any other industry, there are deeply embedded norms and practices that don’t make sense. I could go on a long rant about all of the things that are broken in our industry, but I’ve done that a few times already in previous posts (here, here and here).
What I want to focus on here is how, despite all of the effort and brainpower marketers put into our craft, we fail over and over again to put our time and efforts where they matter most.
Customer experience is the game. It’s not a channel. It’s not a campaign. It’s not our clever tactics. Those things matter. However, what we often fail to see and understand is the 360-degree online/offline customer experience.
And if we optimize that, we win. We win because when our customers win, we win. It’s a virtuous cycle.
When it comes to tech they will and won’t support, Apple isn’t afraid to fire the first shot. Remember when they removed CD drives from their laptops and headphone jacks from their iPhones? Or how about when they signed the death warrant for Adobe’s Flash?
And while Apple’s encryption war with the FBI rages on, the Mac-maker is launching yet another offensive — this time with marketers.
Listen up, folks.
Marketers have historically struggled to tap into what consumers think of their brands. We all know that a brand isn’t what you say it is — it’s what the people buying your brand say it is. Not that long ago, marketers would spend their days (and their dollars) fine-tuning focus groups and making educated guesses on where their target audience might be found.
Enter social listening.
Social listening is a 20th-century marketer’s dream. Brands everywhere are now able to be a fly on the wall to the constant stream of conversation flooding across news outlets, blogs, social platforms and more. It helps monitor your own brand presence, your image, your share of voice, competitor insights, industry trends and other key phrases essential to your product.
You might have heard or read that women apologize more than men. Or maybe you’re not aware of how much you say sorry throughout the day. Start counting your sorries, and you’ll soon realize it’s true. There are myriads of articles and research studies about this topic.
“Before we women even open our mouths, our words feel like an imposition rather than a contribution, and thus we feel we need to say “I’m sorry” to cushion the impact. In fact, sometimes it seems like women apologize for just plain existing.”
- Sydney Beveridge, Huffington Post
So why do we apologize more? The short answer is that women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior.
According to a 2010 study published by the Association of Psychological Science, women apologize more than men, but they also reported committing more offenses than men. That correlation makes sense. If you feel like you’ve somehow done something offensive, a normal person would then apologize for that action.
As a UX Designer, I’m a problem solver. So let’s think about this from a UX perspective and figure out what the problem is.
Why This Matters to Me - The Past
I always felt like I had to chase masculinity. I never quite knew what people meant when they said, “be a man.” Masculinity has taken on so many different phases and meanings for me that the definition is as elusive as it is camouflaged.
First, it was “men are smart.” Next, it was “men are strong.” Then, “men dress well.” Finally, “a man always provides.” It dawned on me that I didn’t imagine any of these phases on my own — they are a product of culture, as we all are. Maybe eMarketer was right. Perhaps the Great Recession triggered an identity shift away from a straightforward career path and the ability to be a breadwinner.
Men my age are experiencing emerging adulthood in the #MeToo era. Manhood has traditionally found its meaning in its relationship to womanhood. And right now, popular culture is pointing out that we’ve had it all wrong for a while. On one hand, we’ve got this tug-of-war of knowing what it means to “be a man,” and moving away from traditional gender roles and trying to balance adult life in the other.
A little while ago, I found a great brand via a sponsored Instagram post — they had a perfect slideshow of their products, clearly tailored to follow Instagram’s format. The copy quickly drove me to their site, and they’re clearly a cool, web-savvy brand that knows how to hit all the marks. Knowing I might not come across this brand again or soon forget about it, I signed up for their emails so I could get sale or new-customer announcements. So far, so good.
Then the email comes. It’s one single image. It has at least one CAN-SPAM violation. The language is spam-filter bait.
Not so savvy after all.
As an email marketer, it makes me wonder: why do brands treat email like it’s less important than their social media? Why doesn’t it matter to them to do email right? Why do so many brands make this mistake, and what are they missing out on when they do?