Opinion: Ensuring that your customer experience lives up to your brand promise
Marketers don’t sell products anymore. They sell relationships. Products or services are part of those relationships, but companies can’t rely solely on what they produce to remain on good terms with consumers.
Take Southwest Airlines as an example. Southwest doesn't have a brand story; it has a brand attitude. But it's not just talk. Every employee working in customer service is pleasant and genuine when trying to help customers, and that attitude makes it easy for consumers to do business with Southwest.
By using a small part of your marketing budget to ensure customer experiences match brand promises, you can hedge your bets and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns in one shot. Think of it as "marketing insurance."
Why you should build your own marketing insurance
As Generation Z starts to accumulate more purchasing power, the idea of building relationships with consumers will become even more essential to marketing success.
Gen Zers in America already spend around $143 billion each year, not including the money their parents spend on them. Surprisingly, given their familiarity with the digital world, members of Gen Z prefer in-store shopping experiences for the social aspect. They want to do business with brands that allow them to not only enjoy that time, but also enhance it. If you want to get young shoppers to like you, you need to start giving them more of what they want.
Look at Capital One’s new café concept as an example, here in Philadelphia. Young people can shop for clothes at Urban Outfitters, pop into Capital One next door to grab some coffee and chat with a banker, and then finish their shopping in one seamless run. In a world where big banks get little love, Capital One found a way to blend social needs with essential services.
Too often, marketers promise an experience that goes beyond a transaction but get hung up on the transaction part. Just because marketers don’t own the retail experience does not mean they can’t improve it, though. By investing a portion of your marketing budget in the education and brand alignment of the teams that bring your promises to life, you can enjoy a bit of insurance for your marketing bets.
Designing an effective marketing insurance plan
In this context, buying marketing insurance means investing to ensure alignment between brand promise and brand experience. When marketers attract consumer attention, the company must deliver on the content of the message to get customers moving through the funnel. Most companies get the first part right, but sadly, not many close the loop on customer interactions.
Ask any marketer which is more expensive: attracting 100 new customers or converting one who has already displayed purchasing intent. Obviously, the second is cheaper. By putting a little money into that conversion process, you can boost customer satisfaction and increase sales in one go.
For a more detailed look, consider your own cost to drive demand versus your cost to drive conversion. How much more attractive does your cost to acquire become if you can convert 5 percent more sales? The math is simple. When front-line teams mirror the compelling brand story that your campaigns create, your numbers go up.
It’s easy to see promise fulfillment as someone else’s job, especially when you don’t have direct oversight of the front-line employees responsible for the fulfillment of your mission. Try not to think in black-and-white terms, though. To engage young audiences, you need them to like your brand—and they won’t if you don’t give them good reasons to do so.
Implementing cross-departmental systems takes time, but don’t let corporate politics get between your marketing strategy and your success. You’re not taking over someone else’s role; you're using your marketing expertise to empower other teams.
Instead of chasing more demand, spend a little money to make sure the demand you create leads to more conversions. It might not feel like the sexiest part of your job (or part of your job at all), but if you protect your marketing investment with a little insurance, you’ll always come out on top.