Sunday, October 18

Gap in Experience

As marketers, we are all talking about the “brand experience” these days like it's the buzz word du jour.

I even wrote a series of books about it called The Experience Effect. 

(published five years ago btw before it was a buzz word)

#Just Sayin'
Building a consistent experience from across all of your marketing elements seems so obvious when you put it on paper, but in reality there are many brands that exhibit a gap in experience, shall we say, that can leave consumers scratching their heads. Guess it's not so obvious for them!

A case in point.

Over the weekend I bought a hard copy of the magazine GQ. I haven’t bought a magazine in years! I wasn’t feeling that great, and there’s just something relaxing about lying on the couch flipping through a magazine. I haven’t done that in years either!

I was quite excited to find that the issue covered a new collection of men’s clothing from a GQ "design team" in collaboration with the retail store GAP.

The two brands had done this before to great success; I have the camouflage cargo pants to prove it. This new collection looks just as interesting and the price points are amazing, as is the look and the quality.

There's obviously a huge "paid" media effort to get people to notice the new collection ... the print in the magazine here and I've also seen outdoor. I have not yet noticed it in social media but that may be me.

So as to not waste a trip to the mall, I phoned our local GAP to make sure that the new clothing was in store. The magazine had just come out and sometimes advertising and promotion (unfortunately) can beat retail distribution to the punch. 

That’s when the gap in experience happened.

The woman who answered the phone had no idea what I was talking about, and she was quite exasperated about it as if I had no idea what I was talking about.

Gap in experience.

When I pressed her, she rudely handed the phone to another associate…you know when as the person is handing the phone over they are also talking about you in aggravation. Yes.

Gap in experience.

This associate was aware of the collection but informed me that her store wasn’t going to carry it. Evidently her location is not a “premium” GAP. Didn’t know there was such a thing; bit of an oxymoron if you ask me. Ok.

“Is there a premium store nearby,” I (honestly) very politely ask.

“I don’t know,” she responds as if she’s ready to hang up on me.

Gap in experience.

“Could you look it up for me,” I continue, “because I don’t know how to decipher your stores from one another.

She then quickly goes on to tell me that there are no premium GAP stores in our area, and quickly ushers me off the phone. She left me feeling like she didn't even bother to check, just wanted me off the phone quickly. Maybe she was busy, not sure. She could have told me that and called me back.

No jumping through hoops for me today!

Gap in experience.

Funny, I live in one of the most densely populated areas of the country where there are a lot of men and women that I am sure buy men’s clothing.

Gap in experience.

No new cargo pants, or anything else, from this collection this year…leaving me asking myself, “why else would I go there?” Especially now.

Have you experienced a gap in experience? What’s your experience? JIM.

PS - As marketers, we should always strive to eliminate as many gaps in experience as we can. That's our job, among other things!

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