MARKETING | STRATEGY

An Often-Neglected Source of Competitive Advantage

Clarity Target

The significant transformation of customer behavior continues at full speed today. I have written about this topic in the past, and I think it is time to put it at the forefront again.

“Today’s consumer has seized control. Audiences have shattered into fragments and slices. Product differences can last minutes, not years. The new ecosystem is millions and billions of unstructured one-to-one and peer-to-peer conversations.”

Classic marketing instructed us to evaluate “product” features, find a singular consumer benefit, and market this over and over again to our target audience.

But in a world where most product advantages last less than six months, this strategy is losing applicability. A six-month, product-based advantage is a huge luxury. In many markets, an advantage may last a few weeks. On eBay, you may be special for a few seconds.

Stop thinking just about your product and start thinking about the full customer experience. This concept was introduced by Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy & Mather in the classic: The 4Ps Are Out, the 4Es Are In.

The power of physical experience! Most of us under appreciate the power it can have on ourselves … and our customers

Focus on physical experience

Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore address this source of competitive advantage in their book, The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money.  They focus on the nature of creating experiences and the evolution of how companies provide value.  Their premise: The Experience Economy not only must come back for economic recovery, it will come back. But in many situations, it will be different.

How different? Think in terms of today’s environment. Discover your customers’ journey. Do you know:

  • How customers shop for your products and services?
  • Who influences their purchases, and where and when their purchases happen?
  • What happens after they purchase?

“If you don’t, you cannot understand the end-to-end customer experience. And you cannot know where to focus your precious marketing effort.”

When you think about the total experience, not just the product or the advertising, you can do amazing things.

Next Steps

Ask the following questions to explore how you can differentiate yourself by innovating your customers’ physical experience:

Who is the buyer that most impacts the decision to use you (e.g., the child who tells their parent which cereal to buy; the engineer who tells the purchasing manager which landing gear to choose)?

What are the key moments in their experience in which they cement in their mind which brand to choose (e.g., the cereal runs out; they open the box to install the landing gear)?

How might you innovate their physical experience at that moment – what they see, smell, hear, taste, or touch?

Scott Anthony | Outthinker | Apr 13, 2021

These questions can reveal critical ideas to innovate your customers’ physical experience. Leapfrog your competition and gain competitive advantage. Contact me to discuss these concepts to grow your business.

All the best
David

© 2021 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Khongtham | iStock


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