Individuals are increasingly besotted with media, creating and consuming at a frenetic pace. The numbers of screens that demand our attention have increased, and a jamboree of marketing messages are pouring in from the roadside to our bedside. What is left? A spoof video on Onion News Network (ONN) paints the future of marketing, when Google might decide to allow phone-calls (on the new Google phone) for free, but in return whisper contextual ads via bots listening in on the conversation.
New Google Phone Service Whispers Targeted Ads Directly Into Users' Ears
The fallout is predictable. Publishers already know about the increasing attention deficiency of their audience, and brand managers (who care to measure) are fretting about lower recall. Amidst all this cacophony, how much does your carefully crafted "message" really matter?
Brands have two key attributes (a) the image and (b) the experience. Traditional marketing has focused on winning the battle in the consumer’s psyche hammering in the image (name, sign, symbol, color, message). Fragmentation of media has wreaked havoc with the exposure strategy. Even for mediums that deliver, uncontrolled frequency and volume of messages (triggered by publisher greed) have led to consumers tuning out. How good is a cover-on-cover in your daily newspaper, if it comes every alternate day? You just flip the cover. You tune out!
Internet Media Version 1.0 made the mistake of accelerating the hammer-it-in approach – though adding depth to the dimensions of ‘context’ and being ‘just-in-time’, and of course it professed (to brand managers) that it offered interactivity! But all it did in name of interactivity was coerce the consumer into reading more marketing material on a micro-site and fill up a form, which was certainly helpful but only to a point. Then brands get greedy, and fascinated with acquisition of databases for pennies, start ‘hammer-it-in’ again, now spamming with emails and SMS, till the irate consumer tunes out yet again.
Consumers don’t buy products or services anymore; they buy the 'experience'. We believe that amidst all the marketing noise, what sticks in the consumers mind (and thus creates recall) is the experience, and more often that you would like to believe the experience with your brand starts online!
Savvy marketeers, who are bold to bet their money on brand experience, know that it is a difficult game to play. It is relatively easy for consumers to fall in love with the dog, slouched back as couch potatoes, but when he calls the helpline and is treated like a dog himself it is game over for Mr. Phone Company. Solve that problem Mr. God of Advertising.
We believe the web is an integral part of your customers experience lifecycle. For high engagement products and services (like an automobile, travel service or telecom provider) the web is the more compelling medium where the consumer is going to come back again and again. From the point of curiosity, to the point of sale, to the point of customer service, for him web will be a natural touch-point. For low involvement categories, the web can accentuate the positive. You will still need the mass medium to blow your horn, but differentiate the web experience and you can come out a winner; and that can only happen if the experience we deliver, blows away your consumers mind!
Thus Experience Commerce.
Because, consumers buy experience.
(The author is CEO, Experience Commerce, a full-service digital agency. This post was first published here.)