Customer Experience, The Ultimate Acquisition Model
In light of the advancing trend towards products as communication channels (see: Nike+, Helge Tenno, and Russell Davies), it's apparent that the worlds of product design and marketing are creeping steadily towards each other. But what's driving this movement is more than just technology, it's the simple realization that the ultimate acquisition model is a superb customer experience.
While there's certainly a place for efficient direct sales campaigns, marketers are now, more than anything, care takers of the brand. This is the reason Starbucks cares about the atmosphere they create, why companies invest in great websites, why the social media bandwagon is so large, and why all of the branding fluff continues to draw discussion -- because beneath the fluff there is substance.
Over the years, advertising has grown more targeted and consumers have become more accessible. Simultaneously, and not coincidentally, consumers have grown weary of advertising. For most people, the contradictions between advertisements and their real life experiences with brands are too big too ignore.
But the problem isn't just the advertisements themselves -- granted, the click the monkey ads don't help the situation -- the problem is that as advertising increases, so does brand scrutiny. The more often consumers are bombarded with ads, the more opportunities they have to notice inconsistencies between the brand's message and their personal experiences.
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with many brands who are in desperate need of a clean slate. More and more companies are starting to realize that their biggest weakness is their product. As the CEO at Dominoes puts it, "The weakness in our value chain with the customer was really in our core product."
What's the takeaway?
For brands and agencies alike, the time ahead requires more collaboration and more interdisciplinary skills than before. Brands that want to be effective need marketers that understand the importance of customer experience (and how to shape it), and agencies that want to stay relevant need a team that can advise brands from the ground up, getting involved in products from the beginning with insights that move beyond messaging and into product experiences.