If you were hobnobbing at a cocktail party, and asked anyone there what business they were were in, most likely you’d get an answer of the functional variety. “We’re in the tire business.” “We manufacture airplane parts.” “We’re a high-end steak house.”
What you’re not likely to hear is “We’re in the business of creating amazing experiences for our customers.” And in these days of information overload, categories bleeding into one another and seemingly endless consumer choices, creating an amazing experience should be Job One for successful marketers.
Rather than focus on what they do, successful marketers focus on why customers would be attracted to them.
Positive experiences are viral. Customers talk about them. They get spread across the world wide web. They take on a life of their own, without involvement from the marketer. And for most consumers, reading/hearing of others’ experiences carry more weight than what they hear from the companies themselves.
Positive experiences can be pre-emptive and remain a constant in categories of ever-changing variables. And more often than not, they can scale.
There are tons of social psychology studies that show that sparking an emotional response in customers not only serves as a “trigger moment” where the buying decision is made, but is also what drives customers to take “ownership” of the product or brand, and see it as a part of their little world.
Sounds pretty aerie-fairy in this world of spreadsheets, analytics and focus groups. But it’s the one thing that can help elevate you above the plethora of competitors that are out there.
Just ask Apple, Amazon or Nike.
While these may be considered extreme examples, nevertheless their businesses have been built by creating amazing experiences (just look at the number of “Apple Unboxing Videos” you’ll find on YouTube).
What makes companies like these stand out is not necessarily the functionality of what they sell. It’s their undying commitment to providing positive (and unique, and often times surprising) user experiences.
Which leads to the question, how can a company or business go about “manufacturing” a positive experience? While the formula will likely vary category to category and business to business, there are three things that are universal:
1) Find out what your most loyal customers appreciate about you, and put that on steroids. Figure out how every customer or prospect can experience that part of you.
2) Figure out your category’s customer “pain points” and see what you can do to either eliminate or minimize them for customers doing business with you.
3) Perhaps most importantly, surprise customers with something they weren’t expecting and can’t find anywhere else. This not only provides a unique and memorable experience that will be easily shared, but it also helps compensate for areas in your value chain where you might not be the best.
The success of marketing can be summed up in this statement: “It’s not about what you say. It’s not about what you do. It’s about how you make them feel.”
Posted by Mickey