Traditional 4P of marketing (product, place, price and promotion) are becoming things of the past. You can no longer compete using your product — many retailers are offering the same thing and the market has become very transparent.
The same applies to competing using place — on the internet everything is within few clicks’ distance. Price? On this transparent market? Forget it. You can always go with promotion, but having a nation-wide mass media campaign requires tons of money.

If you can’t compete using the things you sell, you should start competing using the way you sell them. The experience. It’s not a new concept. Steve Jobs started investing in Apple retail stores in late 90s. He knew perfectly well that emotions we experience are much more important than gigabyte and gigahertz labels. And those emotions will be better evoked in a modern store that is an architectural icon of New York than in an ordinary Radio Shack or similar chain retail.

How can you create such experience for your brand? It’s easy when you realize that your consumers come to you not to buy your product, they come to realize their dreams. Always. The problem is, we very often forget it. When you run a fancy restaurant and serve dozens of meals a day, it’s very easy to forget that a romantic dinner at our place may be a prelude to engagement, it’s one of the most important events of their lives. When you sell another camera during the day, it’s very easy to ignore the fact that customer has saved for two years to buy the Nikon you are handing to him now. This happens to you, doesn’t it? Happens to me, too. A customer who is paying me for his corporate identity or brand strategy is experiencing something I absolutely should not be ignoring.

Not taking such customer for granted is easy enough. And there are many companies that feel it. We will be buying from them in the future, it is them who will be handing out the cards very soon. You want example? Let me give you one.

I recently set up account on an e-mail marketing platform. I send out newsletter campaigns on regular basis and there was nothing extraordinary in it for me. All you need is gather a group willing to receive a newsletter using a form posted on the web. Then you create a campaign, design a newsletter and send it out. No big deal. But for many small company owners it is a big deal. The company I chose reminds us this by adding a small subtitle to the big “Send campaign” button. Subtitle says “This is your moment of glory!” Not much, but makes all the difference, right? But that’s not all. When I sent out my first campaign, I received… a newsletter from this company.

“Paweł, it was your first campaign, we’re very proud of you. You should be proud of yourself as well. As part of the celebration, we will send you a T-shirt, just fill in this form.”

It was not my first email marketing campaign, but it definitely was the one I had most fun with. I will remember it and I will recommend the company to my friends. This is the way it should be, isn’t it?

How about you? How do you help your customers realize their dreams?