I’m sure you’ve had the experience of going into a store where the staff is charming and can’t do enough for you, but you left without buying anything. You’ve also probably seen a wonderful product description in some online store, only to get to the customer reviews and find out that the product wasn’t nearly as good as the advertising. That is a truism in marketing: good ads can’t sell a bad product. Conversely, even the worst marketing can’t keep a great product out of consumers’ hands. Give me the bad ads every time and a great product.
I put customer experience right in there as part of product. That experience isn’t just customer service. It’s any engagement your product and brand has with a customer – social media, email, etc. Since the product is more important than advertising, improving those engagements can yield a significant competitive advantage. Having an ongoing, transparent, truthful series of interactions with your customers as well as consumers at large will probably have a larger effect on your business than doubling the ad budget. You want to improve your product without retooling, repackaging, or developing a better formula? Improve the customer experience and you’ve done so.
So why aren’t brands spending more to improve those engagements and the products they support? Beats me. Maybe it’s because they didn’t have it in last year’s plan. Maybe it’s because you can’t run that on TV. Maybe because we tend to emphasize creativity over basic blocking and tackling. Whatever the root, it’s something to think about.