If your business has a consumer facing product, and you sell it based on features alone then you are doing it wrong.
The biggest shift that marketing in our generation is going through isn’t just technological in the sense of the mobile revolution, focus on location aware software, or even about the social fabric that ties everything together. Instead, in order to have a successful consumer product you need to focus on the experiences and tell an interesting story.
Think I’m kidding? Let’s take a look at some of the most effective marketing that has cemented users into a particular ecosystem, regardless of the fact that the competition arguably has more advanced technology. Instead, these companies focused on a user experience that delights their customers coupled with a marketing campaign that makes them feel something and creates an emotional understanding that the competition can’t quite create.
Example #1: Apple iPad
Arguably the master of their craft, Apple has built a culture around creating products with features the mass consumer can actually understand. The iPhone doesn’t just take 8mp f/2.4 photos, it records crystal clear memories. FaceTime isn’t just another web chat application, it’s a seamless way to see the people you love. The list goes on and on, and they have crafted their marketing formula around making technology get out of the way and giving people experiences.
Their recent iPad advertisement entitled “Love” is a great example of how they aren’t marketing just a tablet that is mostly a “nice to have” and is running on 3G networks while their competitors are running on much faster 4G LTE networks. Instead, they give examples of how creatives, curious youth and others can have enriched experiences with their device.
Example #2: The New Twitter
Twitter has long struggled with explaining to most of their 100 million customer base exactly what the heck the value of their service even is. Most people jokingly referred to Twitter as the service that lets everyone know what you had for lunch and how many times you had to go to the bathroom today, but for those of us who are more veteran Twitter users we fully understand the power of serendipity that Twitter can cause – and put simply it feels like magic.
With their latest release however, they also have done a much better job of marketing with the below advertisement by focusing on discovery (and the natural serendipitous nature of if) that shows how users can experience what feels like being a part of something bigger. Whether that something bigger is Egypt overthrowing their dictator or seeing a Tweet from space, it’s a larger than life experience that few other places really offer.
Example #3: Path 2
About a year ago, Path launched is a close network photo sharing application that was clean but didn’t have the magic formula to get any tangible traction. That all changed about a week ago when Path 2 launched as they understood that their niche to fill was not just another photo sharing app that only lets you share with family. Instead it’s a network that focuses on people you really care about (close friends, family etc), but also gives you the ability to broadcast information that you are comfortable sharing to more public networks such as Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook etc.
The video they used to launch Path 2 does a brilliant job of showing how most people only really care about a tight network of people anyway and that it’s not a race to see how many friends you can collect on your network of choice. Instead it was about high quality images, videos and experiences along your “path” of life that you want to share with your closest people. Quality > Quantity.
What can you improve with your own product?
This is the real question, have you been promoting your product service based on it’s differentiated features from your competitors? Or have you been focusing on how their experience will have a spark of magic in it? While most of my close friends are tech savvy, I can say that most consumers are not – but that’s actually a good thing.
By having customers who care about how a product improves their life instead of trying to keep up with the latest acronyms and other industry jargon they can focus on living their lives while you delight them along the way. Think about how you can modify the way you present yourself to focus more on the experience rather than the newest flux capacitor on your widget.