Location, location, location… or so they said. It is debated whether the phrasing comes from Lord Harold Samuel, a British real estate tycoon or from the Van Nuys News – also referring to real estate. Either way, the concept was coined surrounding real estate… But, it was quickly linked to marketing in general; in particular, to product marketing. Bottom line: if you could get your product into the right place, you were likely to make the sale!
Now, if you are still working with the multiple Ps of marketing practice (and you should be), then you will recognize a couple of those Ps in the paragraph above. But that phrase – location, location, location – just doesn’t cut it if you’re looking for long-term impact for your brand! We know full well that without strategizing and delivering on some of those other Ps, we really miss out!
The fact of the matter is that no component of the business, of the marketing mix, can work in isolation if we expect genuine success. Certainly, focusing in on one element over another can see brief moments of success and impact in that particular area but in today’s economy, a full business shift is absolutely mandatory.
The shift I am referring to is not about a deeper focus on people – though that is critical for success. Nor am I referring to a deeper understanding of big data and analytics, though these skills are required as well. No. What I am demanding is that we start looking at businesses as vessels.
If you were on a Dragonboat team, you would recognize the importance of every single person on the boat rowing. The most efficient way to progress in Dragonboat is to ensure that all members of the team are:
- Putting in equal amounts of effort;
- Understanding the rhythm;
- Aware of the destination; and,
- Rowing in the same direction.
Even a single person on the boat who is not rowing with those same basic tenets can hinder the performance of the vessel.
In so many organizations, we frequently see isolated departments charging after their objectives, executing on their strategies, and delivering on their goals. It’s also no surprise at all for us to be aware that individual department strategies can often conflict with each other. Consider the goal of creating bonds or relationships with consumers, while at the same time being incentivized to reduce the length of time required to address customer issues. Of course, it is possible to solve those challenges in a way that works together, but sadly in most cases, the resolution to achieve these objectives are at odds with each other.
In short, organizations have long been rowing individual canoes in the hopes of getting to the same destination. But because of a variety of internal goals, the real competition is in who achieves their goals: the fastest, the largest, and the most. Which department delivers? The most performing department likely receives a larger slice of the budget pie, perhaps some favours, deeper incentives, and the like. But this does not offer a holistic view of the businesses success.
If you are looking for longer-term results, sustainability over time, and perhaps the ever-elusive consumer loyalty (the real kind of loyalty), then these individual canoes just won’t do! Your consumer doesn’t care which boat you’re in; they don’t care who’s department is in charge of what; and they sure as heck don’t enjoy being tossed around to figure out who can actually answer their question…
Don’t get me wrong: consumers know you are in business. They know you need to make money to survive. They also know that some individuals have skills and expertise in areas that others don’t, so they aren’t upset about talking to a few different people within the organization. What your consumer does want, however, is a uniform experience; one reflective of your brand’s vision and promise; one the consumer wants to build a real connection with. And every. single. individual. in the organization is in charge of that!
Does your product/service matter?
Absolutely! Without a product/service that does whatever it is you said the product/service would do, then you’re dead in the water. Just stop rowing, go back to shore and work with your pit crew to make sure the thing works!
Does location matter?
Sure it does! As much as any other component of context, location matters. More importantly, use that magical big data, analyze it and get to know your consumer. Get to know their context. Not just the context of which screen they are using to connect with you. Not just the context of their age, gender, marital status and household income. The context of what matters to them in their life. With this information, each of your rowers will have a better understanding of what their interactions mean to the consumer.
Do all the other Ps matter?
Why yes, of course they do! They are each imperatively critical to the success of your business. But together, they are mere levers, neither of which can provide an organization with its full ROI and success picture.
It is my firm belief that the magical land of customer experience likely needs its own leader. The role, in my humble opinion, should be one of looking at the direction in which the vessel is going. The CCXO (aptly coined by Sam Fiorella during #Bizforum’s 102nd edition) would be responsible for
- Ensuring the direction of the vessel;
- Working across the matrix to manage the levers – to pull, to push, to increase and to reduce – to deliver the very best customer experience; and,
- Creating emotional loyalty between the brand and the consumer… for the long run.
How about you? Where does customer experience fall? What do the marketing Ps mean to you? What does success look like… long-term?