When you strip away all the hype, there are 3 fundamental reasons why consumers buy products.
- Tried it, liked it. Take a test drive, try on a coat, taste a sample egg roll at the supermarket, watch a video on YouTube. This is what fuels experiential marketing.
- Personal endorsement. Nothing speaks louder than testimonials. Word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted friends and influencers. It’s always been this way. But peer-to-peer props are more convincing than ever.
- Reviews. Here’s the big game changer. Before booking with AirBnB, you can read what previous guests had to say. I won’t eat at a restaurant without first checking Yelp. And why waste two hours watching a bad movie when we’ve got Rotten Tomatoes?
Companies like REI understand that we live in a customer-centered world. They don’t pitch, they teach and entertain. While other stores pulled down their pants on Black Friday, REI closed their doors (again) and encouraged people to ‘go outside’. They had the courage to double-down on REI’s brand.
Will other advertisers give up doorbuster sales and gimmicks? Will they become a trusted source that educates and connects?
Here’s my take. The future lies in problem-solving and educating. The winners will be authentic, with consistency and transparency.
Traditional advertising can be effective in building awareness. But it doesn’t drive sales. Nobody wants to be sold. Advertising ‘at’ people won’t change minds anymore.
Smart companies will promote testimonials and reviews. They’ll celebrate what fans say, good and bad.
Brands will use all media channels to gain consumer trust. But not with advertising. They’ll gain your trust – and business – by showing you a CarFax report. Or paying for return shipping. And my favorite, offering a free, pink spoonful of Baskin Robbins ice cream.