Thugs, drug cartels and rogue states take hostages. So do marketers. Yes, you. No judgement. We all do it. But, because the brand experience has become paramount, we need to be more aware of our hostage taking. Every time you deprive customers of freedom of choice, the ability to switch to another competitor’s product, or stealing their time, you’re taking hostages. And, in our touchy feely era of social media and brand experience, it doesn’t bode well annual profits.
Sometimes waiting enhances the buying experience. For me that’s the anticipation I feel waiting for my six shots of espresso at the Starbuck’s drive thru. But, when you spend an entire day trying to get support on the line, a part of your life is stolen outright.
You don’t describe our hostage situation in such intense term, but it does extract a direct or indirect cost. Every time you’re stuck in line, on-hold, bound to costly equipment and exorbitant upgrades. Never mind a getting socked for proprietary replacement parts, like an oddball battery. Or an ad agency that won’t release web files after being sacked. You’re paying ransom.
What does this mean for marketers? We must consider our customer’s time (their life), and any point of friction: a laborious sales process, manufacturing time, customer service, or slow delivery of goods. Time is a precious commodity, which makes speed a powerful brand differentiator.
Hostage taking tactics may be effective in the short term, but they rarely payout in the long run. A ridiculously long mortgage application may still result in a home sale, but the profits generated
They may pay for now. But they don’t like it. And the first opportunity they have to jump to another brand, they’ll do it.
If you’re a competitor of one of our clients, I hope you’re taking hostages. Because and the brands we represent are coming for you. We’ll set your customers free. Compensate them for their rage. Introduce them to a brand that takes no prisoners. And, we’re going to do it fast.