These days, everybody wants to measure marketing success like sales.
The obsession with attribution means that brand has gotten a bad rap.
But the best marketers out there are the ones never lost sight of the power of brand.
- The problem with attribution
- Why customer experience is the key to great brand
- Why corporate-speak might (finally) die out
Biting the brand that feeds
The negative stigma around brand isn’t something that came out of nowhere; there is a good reason for it, even if it’s unfair in application.
Marketing used to be ill-defined — particularly in terms of KPIs — and with that came a perception that marketers play with crayons and work on vision boards. And since these types of things were typically done in the name of brand, it stands to reason that brand would suffer some negative connotations.
In the past few decades, this has changed. For many, marketing’s purpose is now clearly defined as generating leads and driving pipeline — no doubt important goals, but not the complete picture.
Brand still matters.
“The best marketers really never lost sight of the fact that brand is important.”
How marketing measures up
One effect that this newfound definition of marketing has had is an obsession with attribution.
Attribution is, of course, important. We don’t want to go back to the days when marketing was devoid of meaningful KPIs.
But an over-reliance on attribution for every aspect of marketing can become its own issue.
Much of what marketing does — including brand — is hard to measure with the precision one could measure, say, sales. This leads to the perception that these hard-to-measure metrics are somehow less important.
Placing an emphasis on marketing activities that are easy to measure comes with some pretty big downsides.
One of the most harmful is that it incentivizes behavior that is not necessarily aligned with the goals you want to achieve.
Take email marketing, for example.
If attribution is paramount, then SDRs learn pretty quickly that their job is to grab email addresses from and attach them to activities.
This distracts them from building a brand, but it also means that every time a buyer interacts with a company, they get bombarded with messages the minute they show any kind of engagement.
That leads to a terrible experience for the customer.
And terrible experiences tarnish your brand forever.
Are you really putting customers first?
Brand is the feeling that people get when they talk about your company. It’s the difference between customers recommending you to their friends or making a face at the mere mention of your name.
That feeling can make or break your company.
And it’s entirely based on customer experiences.
“A great brand is created from a delightful customer experience.”
When customers have amazing experiences, they evangelize your product or service. They think of you first when they have a problem you can potentially solve.
If you can create amazing experiences effectively at scale, you don’t need to spend as much money on advertising because your brand is doing the work for you.
Delightful experiences are how you lower acquisition costs and capture customers for life.
Brand is ultimately about the emotions a person feels when they hear about your company. Those emotions are derived from how you treat your customers and how well you’ve aligned their expectations with what you actually deliver.
If you want to harness the power of brand, you need to surpass customer expectations.
The customer comes first
Customer expectations are paramount, but, often, companies merely pay lip service to customer-centricity.
I mean, is there any company on the planet that will say the customer comes second?
Probably not, but it’s easy to claim the customer always comes first when doing so comes with zero risk.
Customer-first slogans are meaningless without sacrifice.
If you want to deliver delightful experiences and build a great brand, you need to be willing to make sacrifices to achieve it.
And it would help to be human when you do so…
The end of marketing jargon
Delightful experiences are human experiences.
No one ever says they’ve had a great time speaking with a chatbot — at least, not with current technology.
If you take humanity out of an experience, then you are also stripping away the enjoyment.
That’s why it is so frustrating to read marketing copy packed with useless jargon. People don’t say, “Oh, this is hard to read, I should probably buy it.”
Has anyone ever bought a product because a marketer called it disruptive?
If you aim to deliver great experiences, that means you aim to deliver human experiences.
Luckily, the trend of cold, robotic marketing jargon does seem to be on the decline — one of the few silver linings to the current pandemic.
“I am hopeful that COVID is one more nail in the coffin of corporate-speak and companies talking like robots and not human beings.”
The pandemic has led companies to realize leading with empathy is more than just a platitude — it’s a vital component to business.
In the future, hopefully personality and humanity will be the standard for marketing everywhere, which will mean better experiences for everybody.
But why wait until that happens?
You can lead with empathy, deliver delightful experiences, and actually start being human today.
That’s how you harness the power of brand.