by: David Armano

The video below is a presentation given by a couple of staffers from the small experience design consultancy Adaptive Path to employees at Google. It's a compilation of thoughts that has been synthesized into a book titled "Subject To Change".

The reason why I'm saying marketers should watch this video is because I'm convinced that many marketers still don't understand the basics of customer experience and how this integrates with marketing efforts (which it does). And the reason why is because I've noticed lots of perspectives floating around the marketing industry positioning customer experience as if it's a "new form of marketing", when in reality it's always been the oldest and most effective. Adweek's Brian Morrissey reports that brands like Google and Craigslist have become successful icons because of their investments in user experience. Havas media lab calls Google's strategy "revolutionary.

"Yet Google obviously invests heavily in its brand. Its home page may have nothing but a search box and links to Google's services -- which means the company is forgoing tens of millions of dollars in advertising -- but it's doing something more important: putting its customers first. Untargeted ads, even simple text links, goes the rationale, would put too steep a cost on its users.

This decision is "revolutionary," wrote Havas Media Lab director and London economist Umair Haque on Harvard Business Online in February. "By choosing to invest in consumers over advertising, Google is a living example of a deeper truth: The future of communications as advantage lies in talking less and listening more."

The biggest challenge that today's marketers face is understanding HOW to overcome the obstacles that get in the way from creating user/customer/consumer experiences that people want to make part of their everyday lives. Everything has changed. Years ago, Starbucks was celebrated as a brand that understood this—today, it's customers are less loyal and it's stock price is reflecting this. Blockbuster promised to transform our living rooms into home theaters—today, media consumption including movies is fragmented. Marketers today are faced with a choice. As Seth Godin points out, we can choose to become liars—spinning fabrications around inferior products and services who depend on traditional marketing to make themselves appear more appealing. Or we can be honest, and figure out how to actually make the product, service, and brand better—so marketing initiatives will become a natural extension of the experience a customer has with that brand.

Is this the job of the company, the consultant, the agency, the brand? If you want to thrive in an age where basically we're all spoiled and demanding—then the reality is, it's all of our jobs. So watch the video and think about which side you choose to be on.

PS, if there are any Adaptive Path peeps reading—you should give this presentation to marketers in addition to companies like Google who do a pretty decent job of doing the things you talk about.

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2008/05/google-embraces.html

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