Friday August 23, 2013

Marketing Agencies are in the Lipstick for Pigs Business

Lipstick on a PigThis doesn't sell pigs any more than a slick marketing campaign grows a brand.

Marketing agencies are in the business of taking what you give them and giving you beautiful and functional brand elements.

You give them your product sheets, price list, market/demo information, mission statement, existing color palette,images, a list of your functional requirements and goals, and a copy of your newly minted strategic plan. Then they’ll develop imagery and messaging for a variety of formats, along with a communications plan, marketing calendar and possibly some negotiated ad pricing.

Don’t get me wrong, many great brands have even greater marketing agencies behind them. What they do, they do very well.

But a marketing agency is not going to build your brand.

And the reason is this: marketing agencies are not in the business of Customer Experience Delivery. That social media consultancy you hired to develop twitter posts and monitor engagement is not in the business of developing corresponding customer experiences.

You see it all the time. Comcast is a big one that comes to mind.

Comcast spends tens of millions of dollars with a marketing/branding agency to develop and execute elaborate cross-platform marketing initiatives, yet their public sentiment is in the toilet. The market is crying out for an alternative.

There’s a lack of alignment between the messages and imagery Comcast pushes out via advertising and social channels, and the customer experience they actually deliver.

Without someone innovating and fine-tuning a company’s customer experience, all the strategic branding and marketing collateral a $250/hr marketing agency can muster, won’t move the needle.

But the agency will still take the work! And you can’t blame them — their job is to tell the story, not live the story.

And so it goes. We’ve all seen/felt the disconnect between the blog posts, tweets, billboards and tri-fold brochures, and the actual service experience we receive.

And therein lies the rub — you can spend 10,15, 40, $150k dollars to have an agency deploy a new brand suite and cross-platform marketing campaign, but if you haven’t carefully dialed in your customer experience to compliment it- you’ll actually do more damage than before.

It leaves people with that whole “bait and switch” feeling.

It actually used to work. Think Mad Men. It worked for a while because it was hard to “spread the word” that it’s all a glossy distortion. “I’m going to tell all my friends” meant they’d mention it to their table at Rotary.

Now a bad experience can be shared with thousands, in a second.

When you’re trying to build a trusted, growing brand, marketing/branding initiatives must be carefully aligned with your customer experience delivery. And don’t expect your marketing agency of choice to point out any misalignments. That’s just not what they do.

Investing in your customer experience delivery will get you your absolute biggest bang for your branding buck. Then the marketing agency really has something to talk about.



Chris Nordyke is an integrated marketer and strategy consultant. He works with owners and senior business leaders to transform and grow service companies via a unique holistic approach that drives referral business and client retention. Click here to schedule a complimentary consult with Chris.

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