What do you suppose it is that drives you to be a marketer? I know for me, it has always been the idea of helping connect people to a product, event or idea that I believed would enrich their lives in some way – maybe it would inspire them, maybe it would be incredibly useful in their life or work, or maybe it would just make them laugh.
The point above is that I have yet to meet a marketer who got into it simply because they felt strongly about say, only a particular type of widget; the type of person who bursts out of bed in the morning feeling excited to connect his or her fellow humans with only one certain product, event or idea.
The greatest marketers are typically connectors; people who are compelled to introduce people to other people, products, events or ideas that will make their lives better. Sure, we may see compelling cause-related marketing for only a single organization, but most often even the greatest causes have to engage professional marketing people in order to connect with people in a broad and significant way.
So here’s a question: if we came into marketing feeling excited to build connections for people, then why does the water get so muddy sometimes about what a desirable outcome of our work should be? I suppose that’s a bit of a trick question; historically it has been very tough to measure sentiment around a brand as a marketing metric and damn near impossible to measure it on any sort of scale. So we invented marketing copy and started speaking in a way that we hoped would change the way people feel about our products. We would run it by bosses, peers and test groups and make changes based on their feedback but still we struggle with knowing whether our words are having an impact.
With the near ubiquity of Internet usage naturally comes the near ubiquity of Internet marketing, and here’s where typical marketing-speak starts to come undone. For nearly as long (or perhaps the whole time) as we have been using Internet sites for marketing, we have been able to determine with reasonable certainty if people are consuming our messages. We are able to observe the path they take when they visit our websites, how long they stay on each page and where they go from there, and while this technology continues to improve rapidly, we have had to infer both the intent of their visit to the site (this is reasonably do-able) as well as how our copy made them feel (not do-able). In his recent article, The Ultimate Moment Of Truth and The Art of Digital Engagement, author/analyst Brian Solis put it this way:
“The information included on web sites isn’t written for you and me, it’s written for the person approving it. When you consider context in addition to the screen in the Zero Moment of Truth, you learn that people aren’t seeking marketing copy, they’re seeking the experiences of others to help humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations.”
If you aren’t familiar with the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) it is a worthwhile read, but to quickly summarize (and with apologies, perhaps oversimplify) it is a look at the nearly incalculable importance of word of mouth in the connected economy. If a customer’s action of walking into your showroom (consideration of purchase) is considered the first moment of truth in a sale and then their experience with your brand is the second moment of truth and so on, the ZMOT comes when a trusted source such as a family member or friend or online reviewer recommended your product or business to them in the first place, creating awareness of your brand. In other words: the most critical moment of truth in the actual sale lives outside of your message house. Here’s where we get back to feelings.
It’s not that marketers have ever forgotten the importance of how their work makes prospects and customers feel, it’s just that it was really tough to measure and so a lot of folks busied themselves with other points of focus. I will postulate here that a big reason marketing copy has evolved the way it has is because up until now, we were not able to measure sentiment (feelings) in a broad and scalable way, which naturally forced a one-sided brand voice. But now things are different. Marketers can focus on creating experiences and feelings because these things are now measurable using digital tools that exist today.
In a TED talk from February of this year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin shares “my vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have a search query at all. You would just have information come to you as you needed it.” Algorithms which deliver results based on presumed relevance are becoming incredibly sophisticated and it is sentiment-measuring tools such as Google, Facebook’s Social Graph, Twitter Analytics and Topsy who are doing the measuring to lead the way. It is this ability to measure sentiment that gives marketers the freedom to get back to focusing on delivering delightful experiences with brands and yes, feelings. So what is the Ultimate Moment of Truth?
(image borrowed from BrianSolis.com)
That is up to you, dear marketer. Solis describes the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) as the moment when someone who has had an experience with your product that compels them to share it with their networks (mainly via social media) and takes that final step of making the share. (I’m doing it now with Solis’ article!) The great news is that the experience that a customer has with your brand (the one that could drive the ZMOT and does drive the UMOT) is well within the control of you and your partners. How that looks for your specific brand, product or event is the part that is up to you but the point is, you must bear in mind that your marketing is having an effect on everyone who interacts with it and you can now track that effect in real time. Finally: you can focus on customer delight as a marketing metric.
Now is your big opportunity.
Jason is the Content and Community guy at 360Insights.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71, LinkedIn or Google+ 360 is changing the world of incentives. To find out how, book a call with us now!