PAUL DUNAY: Jamie, talk to us about the intersection of content marketing and customer experience.
JAMIE TURNER: The first step towards virtually any marketing transaction is to create an emotional response in the mind of the prospect. There are MRI scans that show the brain lights up in certain areas when you create an emotion.
What happens when you create an emotion? When an emotional response happens, a memory is formed. So memories typically have to start with some form of an emotion. And when a memory is formed, a brand impression happens. And that brand impression can be positive or negative depending on what transpired.
These bottle caps highlight a study that was done at Baylor University.
It leverages the idea that if your end goal is to get somebody to buy your product or service, the starting point for that is to create a memory so that they have a brand impression. And that memory or brand impression can happen via content marketing, can happen via social media, can happen via TV commercial, it doesn’t matter. But as marketers we all have to be thinking through what’s my starting point, if the endpoint is a transaction to get somebody to buy something? The starting point is to create an emotion, which triggers a memory, which ultimately leads to brand preference.
Let’s take a look at the study. The researchers had a room of 100 people, and they did a blind taste study. They told the people they had Coke and Pepsi in front of them. A blind taste study, of course, means people didn’t know which drink they were drinking. And the researchers said try both of these soft drinks, tell us which one you prefer. Now I’m going to pause for a second and ask the audience to just think whether Coke won that blind taste test or whether Pepsi won that blind taste test. Just come up with a statistic. Well 60 percent might have preferred Pepsi. Or 55 percent preferred Coke. What it turned out to be, is that 50 percent of the room preferred Coke and 50 percent preferred Pepsi.
Then the researchers said, “Now we’re going to do the same test, same group of people, and now we’re going to put a Coke bottle in front of you and a Pepsi bottle in front of you, and we want you to drink the soft drinks.” Imagine where that went and statistically which brand won. 80 percent of the time when the consumers knew which brand they were drinking said the Coca-Cola tasted better. Which is absolutely crazy because we know that in the blind taste study it was 50/50. But the truth is that Coca-Cola has a stronger brand impression.
Why is that? Well I’m going to ask everybody to think through the images that you associate with Coca-Cola. You’re probably coming up with, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing,” Mean Joe Green, polar bears, Santa Claus, all sorts of stuff. Now do the same thing for Pepsi. And with Pepsi, think through the images you associate with Pepsi. And you’re probably coming up with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears.
So now that you have those images in your mind, you tell me which is more deeply ingrained. Is it Michael Jackson or Santa Claus? Most people will say Santa Claus goes a lot deeper. Coca-Cola has such deep imagery associated with the brand, and they leverage that to the point where people sit down and they say, “When I know which brand I’m drinking, I prefer Coca-Cola.” It’s a fascinating case study and drives home the point of that first slide that shows that the first step towards virtually any marketing transaction is to create an emotional response in the mind of the prospect. When you create that emotional response, a memory is created. And when a memory is created, a brand impression stays with people.
You can see how Coca-Cola has leveraged this just recently. They did a YouTube video called the Coke happiness machine. And if you haven’t had a chance to check this YouTube video out, check it out. It’s absolutely wonderful. They put a Coca-Cola machine in a college cafeteria. And people would go up and they would get a Coca-Cola. And then eventually somebody put in a quarter and instead of out coming a Coca-Cola, out would come a bouquet of flowers. And then after that would come a pizza. And after that would come a Subway sandwich, and all sorts of fun things. And they videotaped the room while people were getting engaged with the Coca-Cola machine or the happiness machine.
It was just an absolutely stellar example of Coca-Cola leveraging their brand image, which is about happiness right now. Think of the cost associated that they would have to spend in order to get millions of people to watch a TV commercial. But they got millions of people to watch content in order to drive home their customer experience – which is one of happiness. So it’s a great example of how to leverage customer experience and content marketing, and tie those two together.
The customer experience on mobile
My latest book is called Go Mobile and it’s all about using mobile technology in order to engage people. A lot of people think of mobile advertising as nothing other than the little banner down at the bottom of a website that you see on your smartphone. But the truth is, what they’re finding now with mobile is that a greater predictor of success on a mobile advertising campaign is not the click-through rate, which is what we were first measuring, but it’s the engagement rate, what happens after people click through.
Traditionally people would say, “Put in a little banner down at the bottom that says ‘click here’ to get our promotion now.” Now they’re saying, “No, don’t drive them through to a promotion as much as drive them through something that they can engage with us with, so that we can create a brand impression.” In other words, they’re using the content of the mobile ad campaign in order to create a better customer experience because they want people to engage with the brand.
You can have games, crossword puzzles. Don’t forget, smart phones have not only geolocational technology, but they also have gyroscopes and they have proximity methodology where they can sense things around you, all sorts of stuff. You can leverage that when people drive through on the banner ad, then use that as a way to keep them engaged with your brand.
That’s one of the other ways that people are using content. I encourage you to think about content not in terms of just traditional content (“Please download a white paper”), but in nontraditional content like, “Click through on this banner ad and engage with our product or service on your smartphone,” because that person may be sitting down waiting for a bus, waiting for a subway, waiting for a taxi, sitting in a doctor’s office, and we can engage that person and use the content to improve their customer experience with us.
Native advertising is really coming on strong from a mobile perspective. If you think about the content that people are experiencing on their smartphones, typically they’re flipping through Facebook and they’ll come across embedded content or native advertising.
That native advertising is turning into the content marketing of the future. Some that argue that the native advertising is just a conduit to the content, which is accurate. I would argue that the native advertising also acts as the content in and of itself, and engages people and ultimately drives home a better customer experience for them.
The first step is to think through what emotion you’re trying to generate in your campaign. Are you trying to get people to laugh or trying to get people to cry? Typically you want to do one or the other in almost all cases. In some cases you might want to make a logical appeal. But generally speaking you’re trying to get people to tip to one side of the fence of those emotions. What you don’t want, and the only mistake, is for people to remain neutral, because then you haven’t really accomplished what you’re trying to do.
The second is to think through the distribution channels. Will it be traditional social media via YouTube or a blog? Or will it be via a new channel such as mobile or native advertising.
Finally, be sure to test your way to success. The only way to guarantee positive momentum is to track the results of your campaign so that you can make enhancements or adjustments along the way. The good news about everything we’re talking about today is that it’s trackable, everything’s digital, can be tracked and monitored and measured. And the good news on that is you can consistently test your way to success.
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