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Standing Apart: How a Blender Creates Affinity

While we know that online marketing (viral videos, 2nd life participation, user-generated content, as some of the new tools) are way cool, what we don’t know is whether it’s worth doing and why. There’s absolutely no data to go on. After all, who hasnt read the fortune article about 2nd life where. Companies like Sun, IBM, Cisco were retreating.
Making investment decisions is an art. It’s knowing what works, for what purpose. A great marketer needs to know what to do to drive awareness, consideration, preference and purchase as part of a mix of knowing what is relevant to the audience, what works, what is cost effective, and ultimately what delivers results. But what if we don’t know what results we’re looking for. If we don’t know what the new online tools can achieve, then it’s definitely hard to measure it right?
The rules traditional marketing were shaped by what could be accomplished using one-way mass media. Now that Internet media enables two-way communication, the whole idea of moving customers through a structured consideration process needs to be revised and a new way of looking at what are we doing online.
It’s all about engagement:
The central goal of online marketing isn’t awareness, it’s engagement. And the five key tools to produce engagement are affinity, personality, community, co-creation, and advocacy. Engagement at the broadest level is getting the customer involved with your company, with your products and often, with your people. You want your customers to get to know your organization, its values and services. When customers like what they see and experience, the relationship deepens and it leads to affinity. Thus what was once a distant relationship becomes personal. Another way to same thing perhaps is to say that “Personality replaces traditional brand marketing”.
And for a moment, let me define personality. Personality is how your company interacts with the world, both emotionally and rationally. The company’s personality must be both distinctive and genuine. Unlike a brand image, it can’t be faked. Your company’s culture constrains the personality you can build online. For example, a company that tells its employees, customers, partners and the public that it’s green then doesn’t recycle its tech waste is going against its personality. This behavior is inconsistent & and it can also harm your firm’s ability to develop a community.
I keep finding companies that are able to use the web to get their personality across and in the process stand apart. Really stand apart. At a lower cost and a better ROI.
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Here’s a great one: Will it blend.com (Thanks to Ben Matheson for the intel.) Blendtec has find a way to make a blender interesting, by letting users suggest what to blend, and then of course learn about the blender behind it all. Take a look at the one blending an iphone. This is the longest I’ve thought about a blender since, um, let me think, ah — ever! and that’s when online marketing is really effective.

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0 Responses:

  1. promise phelon. August 27, 2007 at 3:48 pm  |  

    Great points Nilofer. I would add that Customer “Affinity” or a customer’s preference to buy your product evolves as you move up what we’ve called the Customer Hierarchy of Needs. The basic customer needs–a product that works and services delivered, quality, etc.–are fundamental. Then, it’s about creating a remarkable, memorable experience (which in some cases can be the “design” of the product such as the IPOD) that can foster an emotional attachment or affinity.
    Here is a link to Seth Godin’s blog, someone I know you respect, where he comments on our Hierarchy.
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2004/12/a_new_hierarchy.html
    Blog on!
    Promise Phelon

    Reply

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