Your Marketing’s Worthless If …

Your Marketing’s Worthless If …
Jamie Lee Wallace - Thu Mar 03, 2011 @ 11:21AM
Comments: 14
sisyphus.jpgYou invest a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and cold hard cash in creating the best marketing you can. You slave over brand development, agonize over your USP, tinker endlessly with your tag line. You eat, sleep, and breathe lead generation, conversion, market penetration, niches, verticals, bounce rates, automation, and content. You’re inspired, integrated, and optimized to within an inch of your life.

But it might all be for nothing.

This is a familiar soapbox I’m about to climb onto (see – Let’s Forget About Marketing for a Minute), but I believe with every marketing (and human!) gene in my body that what I’m about to say bears repeating.  So, in case you missed my first rant, here’s  my point:

You have to offer your customers more than marketing.

People are overwhelmed with marketing messages. They are becoming desensitized to even the slickest, most psycho-tactical (I just made word that up) marketing campaigns. The over-saturation of marketing in their daily lives has made consumers (especially B2B consumers) a jaded and cynical bunch. They’ve heard it all before. They’ve seen that song and dance. They aren’t interested in marketingese and they aren’t falling for any advertising … no matter how clever.

How can you get past such apathy?

Simple – wow them with a superior product, excellent service, and a delightful experience. Yes, I just said “delightful.” And I meant it.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

I recently flew to San Francisco for business. On the way out, I flew American; on the way back – JetBlue. I hope I never have to fly American again. It wasn’t that American was that awful. It was adequate. They got me where I needed to go on time and in one piece. If I’d flown them on the way home as well, I wouldn’t have had anything to say about the experience. It was almost a non-experience, if you know what I mean – just another commoditized travel affair.

But I didn’t fly them on the way home. I flew JetBlue, and the contrast in service and comfort is definitely something to write home about:
  • American:Lousy, center aisle TVs with lame re-runs of syndicated cable shows like Cash Cab
  • JetBlue: Individual, seat back TVs with on-demand programming, recent movies, and a gazillion music channels
  • American: A sad selection of for-purchase snacks that were mostly gone by the time the flight attendant reached me at the mid-section of the plane. Most options were of the cafeteria variety – wrapped in plastic, wilted, and the color of paste.
  • JetBlue: A wide variety of free snacks including some classic faves and some new ones I just had to try. Boxed meals that looked good enough to be offered by a local eatery and available in several, customer-centric options (wake up, cheer up, and power up, to name a few).
  • American: Small seats packed so close together that even my 5’6” frame was cramped and I was unable to open my laptop far enough to be able to read the screen
  • JetBlue: Enough room to stretch my legs out without touching the seat in front of me – allowing me to work productively for several hours

Both airlines did what they had to do – they got me from point A to point B without any tragedy. But, only JetBlue put themselves in my shoes and went the extra mile to deliver a superior product, service that made me comfortable beyond my expectations, and an experience “delightful” enough to inspire me to write this post. Out of curiosity, I took a quick peek at the main websites for American and JetBlue. I wasn’t surprised to find that JetBlue’s site included content under the header “JetBlue Experience” that was all about these “wow factor” elements. American didn’t have any similar content on their site.

By the way – the difference in cost between the two tickets: the JetBlue flight cost me a whopping $7.58 more than the American flight. The difference in the service was worth way more than that.

The lesson

My decision on which airline to fly wasn’t based on any marketing, but my future airline decisions will most definitely be based on my actual experience in the air. It’s important to remember that though your marketing might bring you a customer, only your product, service, and experience can keep one. Ensure that your marketing doesn’t go to waste by aligning the reality of what you deliver with the intention of your marketing messages. It’s easy to fool someone once with glossy, shiny, marketing; but if you can’t deliver the goods, you will have lost that opportunity forever and – with the potential of social media to spread word-of-mouth tales – quite possibly lose many more opportunities as well.

So, market to your heart’s content, but don’t forget that marketing isn’t your real job. Delivering “delightful” products, services, and experience is your job. Do it well.

Have you had any similiar experiences? How did they impact your buying decisions?

headshot_jw_thumbnail.jpgAbout the Author: Jamie is a freelance strategist, teacher, and copywriter who partners with solo entrepreneurs to define and market their brands. Her specialties include brand development, social media strategy, and content marketing. Enjoy more of her posts, visit her site at Suddenly Marketing, or drop her an email.

More posts by Jamie.

Image Credit: Sisyphus by Titan, 1549. Sourced from Squidoo.

Comments: 14


1. Rashda Khan/@SpiceBites  |  my website   |   Thu Mar 03, 2011 @ 04:32PM

Great post! Love the way you illustrated your point: In the end, it's the product quality that counts.
I hope all the airlines read this & take notes :)

2. Christopher Ryan  |  my website   |   Thu Mar 03, 2011 @ 05:27PM

Jamie, I enjoyed your article. I refer to what you are describing as "marketing congruence." Lots of marketers create a perception with their messaging that is not met at the point of customer experience. It is easy to claim to be the best, but living up to the claims is much more difficult. Marketers need to differentiate themselves in a way that matches the reality of what they are able to deliver.

Chris Ryan
Fusion Marketing Partners

3. Jamie Lee Wallace   |   Mon Mar 07, 2011 @ 04:29PM

@Rashda - Thanks! I wish more companies would close the gap between their marketing promises and Real World delivery! :)

@Chris - I love the term "marketing congruence" - that's perfect! I think it needs to be an iterative process - with people from the "front lines" - likes sales and customer service and even real, live customers - providing the reality check. :) Keep it real!

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