Zoom out, Zoom in … Time to Rethink Marketing

June 19, 2014

Eindhoven, Netherlands 

CitizenM hotels try very hard to be cool. Yes the cubicle style room is modern, with wall to wall bed, and a glass shower cubicle that emerges in the middle of the floor. But in reality everything just ends up wet. The black and white typography tells you to sleep with the stars, and wake up energized. And the lobby area kitchen serving thai curry at a communal table is empty. CitizenM tries to be the smart car of boutique hotels. But it’s more like a Fiesta.

Into the car, we headed south to Eindhoven, for SAP’s day of marketing inspiration, a small physical event in a TV studio setting, so that each speaker could be videoed for the CMOs who didn’t show up. But what got me was the content. It’s now 25 years since I first read Lanning and Philips’s paper on how to develop value propositions that deliver customer experiences and loyal relationships.  But speaker after speaker talked abut them like a new magic.

There’s something wrong with how too many people still talk about customer propositions and experiences … Time to move things forwards:

  1. Propositions are not products … “customer value propositions” are about customers, their needs and aspirations, and the distinctive benefits you offer them, ie the value to them. One proposition can introduce many products, and a product can support many different propositions.
  2. It’s the customer’s experience, not yours … look beyond your own “touchpoints” to see how customers perceive you, and the broader journey they experience beyond you. A payment experience is as much influence by a retailer, and payment system, as by your bank.
  3. The purchase is just the start … yet most “experience designs” still focus on the pre-sale, with a little “after-sale”. Focus on supporting people once they’ve got the product or service, enabling them to do more. This really is a big one for creating more value for customers. Enablement.
  4. Customers do not want a relationship with you … despite millions of dollars spent on CRM, customers will never be loyal, and probably don’t even want a “relationship” with you. The best you can hope for is advocacy. Try facilitating relationships between customers.
  5. And more one that is creeping in … building communities. A community connects people. Better is a movement, which connects people with a purpose, to achieve more together. The brand helps to articulate and support it. Movements are incredibly powerful if you can get them right.

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