I was recently looking around to buying a new car. As I started making enquires and visiting showrooms something became clear to me. Most of the humungous amounts of money being ploughed into advertising was literally going down the drain. The reason – abysmal dealer experience.
Having spent the better part of my life in advertising, this got me thinking. If this was the case with a high involvement product like a car, the situation in other product categories was bound to be far worse.
Haven’t you had the same experience whether it was a laptop, a washing machine or that expensive jacket you were buying? And doesn’t the experience get a zillion times worse when trying to make a complaint or wanting something repaired?
What am I driving at?
Some simple marketing truths. Discovered from this experience:
- There’s no way advertising can compensate for poor customer experience.
- Better to plug the leak of advertising monies totally till you can ensure the customer experience is absolutely exhilarating.
- Make sure every consumer touch point; be it her phone call being answered, the website she’s browsing, the sales person she’s dealing with, the showroom ambience she’s immersed in, is superlative. Even at the cost of curtailing the advertising budget and pumping it into the experiential arena (and when an advertising guy says this, its just got to carry weight.).
- Considering the extremely high cost of generating each enquiry today, much more needs to be spent on giving the customer an experience they’d look forward to & tom-tom about all over town.
What this really means in simple terms is; as human beings we still believe what a friend rather than what advertising tells us. So make sure that friend has a good thing to say about your restaurant or store. No amount of killer advertising can salvage a poor experience. Advertising is never ever going to be a substitute for how you were made to feel at the ‘moment of truth’.
In an ideal world there will be superlative product, backed by superlative customer experience, brought alive by superlative advertising. Advertising alone is of little help. And remember, that’s an advertising guy telling you this.