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Can Marketing create and deliver tangible Value?

Can Marketing create and deliver tangible Value?

Marketing has been a critical success factor the success of any business. However, the traditional marketing, the way we have known it and have been using it is going to die in a few years. As Duncan Wardle, former VP-Creativity at Walt Disney says, the traditional marketing is a one-way communication resulting in a one-way relationship. It does not necessarily generate or create opportunities for engagement by creating an immersive experience for the target customers.

How can we do this? How can we create positive experiences?

Before discussing that, lets understand that value can be delivered to customers in four ways – functional, monetary, social, and psychological value. Which of these can be delivered through marketing? I suggest that we can deliver all these types of value through our marketing campaigns, with an enhanced impact and increased brand value.

Let us look at some examples of successful value addition through marketing campaigns.

Walt Disney created Disneyland to take the movies out of theatres and let the customers experience them in realistic environments. Instead of adding more shows and infrastructure, they focused on the customers and started addressing their biggest problems, turning the entire visit to Disneyland an exciting experience.

Lifebuoy ran a great campaign during 2013 Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, where they added a message on the rotis (Indian flat breads) reminding people to wash their hands to avoid infections. The message was educational and promoted a healthy habit with great brand recall.

Google set up campaign boards asking the citizen to vote/choose one out of the ten charities and the top 6 NGOs received USD 500,000 and the other four got USD250,000 each. This was Google Impact Challenge-2015.

Disney Jr has a successful show called Doc McStuffins. They ran a campaign for kids where they sent huge stuffed teddy bears to schools and kids were trained to do check-ups, just like in the show. They were given a certificate and a door hanger saying, “Doc in the house”. Kids just loved it.

HBO set up an Escape room game, at SXSW (South by Southwest) conference 2017, combining themes from three of their most popular shows – Veep, Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones, providing an immersive and unique experience to the visitors. Oreo cookies company offered 3D printed cookies dynamically selecting the most popular flavours based on Twitter trends at a conference in 2014.

As these examples show, all types of value can be conceived and delivered through marketing campaigns. The next question is to identify these possibilities in each business context. What are the ways in which we can deliver value through marketing campaigns?

There are five different ways in which we can do this.

Create rewarding experiences

Many companies run loyalty programs and rewarding their customers. Unfortunately, these offer insignificant value and customers rarely appreciate them. Amazon Prime is an exception, where despite reasonable cost of membership, customers experience significant value proposition through free deliveries and access to other apps.

Even unpacking the product can be an exciting experience. Long ago one of the prominent toothpaste brands used to keep small plastic animals in the packing. Whenever a new pack was bought, the kids used to be so excited about seeing what they got and building the zoo.  JetBlue set up a huge ice block in New York, wherein a lot of articles were embedded, and people were encouraged todig them up for free. They were also promoting a destination in California.

Teach customers something new

Many companies in the knowledge economy have been exploring this option through conferences, webinars, masterclasses and beta releases to their customers. These are a great way to engage the customers and showcase the expertise while adding a lot of value. However, if the customers feel that there is no value proposition, they reject such offers.

Building a tribe of customers who find value in following a blog or posts on social media like Twitter or LinkedIn can be a rewarding experience as this builds long term credibility. One of the best examples is the success of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Include customers in your story

Asking customers to post their pictures using the product has been a big hit with lots of customers, provided the product delivers a lot of social esteem and psychological value. Hyderabad Metro organized bicycle rides along the metro tracks and that created a lot of buzz around the city with huge engagement on social media as well as mainstream. The common theme was travel with low carbon emission. The prevailing selfie culture fits right into these campaigns.

Leverage customer service

The excitement of buying a new product or services is killed the moment we need support to use it, customize it or worse repair it. One of the leading brands of consumer electronics which ran a successful campaign promoting feelings of envy and pride lost the market due to very low ratings of their customer service. Making customers feel at home is not just limited to hospitality or travel industries but can be extended to every industry sector, particularly Business to Customer segments.

The responsiveness of the staff and their ability to solve customer problems is a critical success factor and Ritz-Carlton hotels do a great job by empowering all their staff to spend up to USD 2000 without any prior approvals to make the stay of any guest more comfortable and memorable. Virgin Airways stands out in their class of service providers for a similar customer orientation.

It is time for all the businesses to embrace Experience Economy and start revamping their marketing strategies and campaigns where the customers are educated, not merely informed. We need to reimagine marketing by reengineering our products and services, reinventing our value proposition and re-expressing our problem statements in terms of customer experiences.

About the Author

Flt.Lt. Sridhar Chakravarthi is an experienced organizational change coach and consultant with over 30 years of leadership experience in various industries. He believes in the possibility of exponential growth for individuals, startups and mature organizations. He empowers them to achieve exponential growth by bringing agility into their mindset, processes and behaviours. He is an authorized training partner for Enterprise Agility University, runs his company “Coach for Change” and lives in Bengaluru, India.