Sonder | Invest in advertising or product?
The old adage of judging people by their actions not their words has never felt more relevant to evaluate which brands we choose today.
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Invest in advertising or product?

Invest in advertising or product?

We’ve talked in this parish before about the gap between promise and experience. Two years ago we called it the expectation gap. I believe that gap is widening and it seems the greater the promise in advertising, the worse the product experience. You may also have noticed that, the products you love, value and advocate don’t advertise that often at all.

This theory was brought home to me the other day by a harrowing experience in the National Australia Bank, otherwise known as NAB. Whilst I sat waiting for someone to acknowledge my presence in their “oh so modern” open plan service area, my eyes were drawn to a giant screen running ad after ad about how they are ‘more than money’. They have even built a website to prove this assertion, where one can watch videos of real people’s life stories. Like how Damian and Fiona had triplets or how you can make Mums feel special.

How about doing some banking?
Now I’m sure this ticks every modern marketing box of building a content platform, centred around a purpose and distribute accordingly. But as I was being ignored, interrupted, inconvenienced and infuriated in the HOUR I endured trying to pay a single cheque into an existing account, NAB’s purpose might have been lost on me. As a customer, I would prefer ‘we do money really well’ than ‘we produce content about our customers’

The tens of millions NAB invest in creating advertising content could have been better invested in training staff in basic customer service, building a bank that works and leaving customers happy to share their positive experiences. Rather than promise heaven, deliver hell and leave customers ranting how bad they are in public forums (ahem!).

Actions not words
The old adage of judging people by their actions not their words has never felt more relevant to evaluate which brands we choose today. It is no longer acceptable for the CMO’s office to distance themselves from product experience. The CMO is ultimately responsible for every customer touchpoint and product experience should be #1 on their list. What’s the point of advertising a bad experience?!

Come on in everyone, I promise it’ll be amazing, we get you, you get us, oh wait, now I have to deliver amazing? No thanks, someone else’s problem.

Not acceptable.

I implore CMOs to embrace their product first and I implore customers to vote with their feet, only rewarding those businesses that do.