Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing Clark Kokich of Razorfish speak about digital media’s importance to today’s brands. Clark shared ideas on how brands can use digital and social to ensure customers have a great product experience. The catch is that in today’s world a product experience starts with the digital assets that a person engages with before, during, and after they receive a product or service. Overall, it made a great case for creative digital marketing, but more importantly it left me thinking about one thing he said in particular:
“Marketing’s job is no longer to change perception, it’s to change reality.”
In marketing, it can be easy to get sucked into complex frameworks or metrics that make it hard to remember what the bigger picture is to begin with. The diagram Clark provided, and what I replicated above, was so simple and elegant that it kind of wipes the slate clean and brings you back to the core of what marketing is all about – making something special. As a result, marketers do more than just help influence perceptions – we change the reality of the product experience.
There is a perception out there that marketing and advertising is about spin – take a product, make claims to a target audience that may or may not be true and hope that it changes enough hearts to somehow impact the bottom line. The sad thing is that the perception probably exists for a reason. With KPIs, metrics, and revenue goals it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and start viewing the world in terms of potential reach, impressions, clicks, end actions, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, those are all important things to keep track of but when we are optimizing for metrics rather than for a customer experience we miss opportunities.
Marketers in digital and social media should remember that part of the product experience starts with their interactions with the brand. That includes how they experience a product when engaging through Facebook or Twitter, how they interact with your brand on the smartphone, and what their experience looks like when they research your product or a competitors. The digital & social experience is often the first impression your brand gets in the mind of a potential customer.
When you’re planning what your social strategy should look like, or how you should architect a campaign, or what kind of features should be included in a mobile app remember: the digital experience is part of the product experience now. If you can make that experience special, you’re ultimately doing what you should as a marketer, but remember – it’s never easy or straight forward working against the forces of nature. Good luck!