Marketers, are you connecting the dots?

Wondering if many of you, like I, have a love/hate relationship with a couple of brands?  You know:  love the product, hate the customer service; hate the website, like the store; like the experience or the prestige, but the product is so so…and so, so on. 

It’s the disconnection that grates on me.   My secret annoyance is with Apple; for which I’ve been a fan ever since my first IIci, bought at great expense two decades ago (gads!  and I admit it).  However, getting product hics and melted mother boards repaired have been real trials. Their customer service is certainly not as intuitive or as easy to use as their products.  My Apple ‘fandom’ is a bit…bittersweet. 

We all know that brands are judged based on the complete brand experience they deliver to consumers.   And our consumer data shows that too.  One’s experience with a product or service is the key to loyalty.  But slip up, and you’ll get even your fans blogging badly about you ;-) 

Many marketers have reacted to a more complex environment by circling the wagons.  They spend much of their time and nearly all their money on advertising….and pay little attention to the 'greater' brand experience.  I think this mono focus helps create the disconnect I'm talking about, since no one is taking close care of the brand everywhere.  And to make things worse, now these disconnects are more visible because consumers share their war stories easily. 

In my just-published research, I’ve called for a different mandate for marketing, that goes well beyond advertising: “Connecting the Dots”.   In it, I define the CMO’s role as getting all the disparate pieces to work together – that is, to lead defining and orchestrating a compelling brand experience across department, product and channel silos.   

CMOs must step up to appropriate and arrange all the resources the company has to offer – the dots – around the consumer, connecting the company around an integrated value proposition based on consumer needs. 

Sounds like something you’d like to do?  This first, in a series of research, discusses how to orchestrate your company’s move from disparate to connected.  Please let me know if you find it interesting.  I’ll talk more about some of the ideas I’m exploring, in later posts on this blog.  But please don't leave me to talk alone.  What questions are you grappling with?  Or, have you tried to move in that direction already?  If so, what worked, what didn’t, where did your worse resistance come from? 

And to go back to the question I posed in the beginning of the post:  Where have you seen flagrant disconnections?  What brands do you sometimes love, and at other times leave you cold?  What good ideas would seem to help bandage or banish these inconsistencies?  And what are you doing about it for your brand?