A very dear friend of mine can boast that he’s half the man he used to be: He’s much healthier now, more vibrant and much more able to play with his kids. His biggest change? He cut out the deserts, exercise more and eat more vegetables.
Nothing super-crazy high-tech.
And that achieved amazing results.
I’ve observed that something similar has been happening to marketing in today’s environment.
Wild, crazy promotions still get plenty of attention and glitz and glamor - but they rarely drive revenue, and even more rarely drive profits. But it’s very easy for businesses to become addicted to the ‘sugar rush’ of a rapid influx of customers (A la Groupon) even if that rush is rapidly killing your business.
All too often I have friends who go to take advantage of a Groupon offer and wait for a long time for poor service from a harried and beaten up staff that is working with lots of product out-stocks. As a result, that store just lost money to loose a customer.
But when I talk to the business owners about it afterwards, they report it was a huge rush of revenues, excitement and new faces they never saw before. Only afterwards do they realize that the new faces never returned, the increased revenues were overrun by dramatically increased expenses and the excitement (insanity) led to their top employee realizing it was time to start looking for a new job. This, is marketing Ice Cream.
Don’t get me wrong - I love having Ben and Jerry’s as much as anyone else (Phish Food is my personal favorite, for the record). But have it too often and it leaves you fat, lethargic and unable to compete and play and win the game in the long term.
Customer interaction, process and follow through are all things modern marketers need to consider. Those are all the soft touches that take actual work and consideration to get to completion. Yet these touches are a core part of the customer experience workout regimen that marketers rarely get a chance to touch.
These are the same user experiences that Disney and Apple consistently get so right that helped make both companies the powerhouses they are today. And they are the vegetables that build our business bodies for the long term.
In the end, we want a shortcut and there are some – like all of the cool high-protein exotic super fruit laden drinks and snacks. Broccoli, Bananas and Strawberries work wonders.
But while the nutrition is a key ingredient, exercise to build stamina and strength is still required and still takes time. Those are the boring basics. But those boring basics make the fancy stuff work much better- because you have a solid foundation to build upon.