Why Marketing Sucks

It sounds odd coming from a marketer, but a lot of marketing sucks. That is not to say that there isn’t an immense amount of talent and creativity on display from the marketing world, but in general there is still room to grow.

Most of today’s marketers would agree that marketing to everyone and the “spray and pray” approach are outdated and ineffective; but while we have improved the strategies and the ability to target, many campaigns do not drive the desired results.

Research from Next & Co. found that the average media waste, or any interactions involving spend that was not effective for the business objective, was 40% for surveyed brands since the start of 2022. For retail brands, that equated to nearly $31 million dollars.

While the study reflected only digital media waste, it is easy to see how ineffective targeting or poorly executed campaigns come at a great cost for brands across industries.

Why does marketing miss out on results? A common answer is that marketing must now deliver more than just a brand, it has to add value for the consumer. This is true, with the deluge of information and content that consumers are hit with every day, their attention can only be captured by something that adds something to their day.

But “needing to add value” is only the tip of the iceberg. A few moments of entertainment may be viewed as valuable, but does it drive a conversion? To be truly effective, marketing’s value add must also highlight where a consumer has room to improve their life. The improvements may be minimal or astronomical, but they have to be convincing. The best way to accomplish that? By making your marketing efforts an experience for the consumer.

Marketing As An Experience

Shopping as an experience has been a topic of conversation among marketers for over a year; particularly as consumers were limited in many of the experiences they would generally seek out. Recent studies found that 83% of GenZers view online shopping as an experience rather than a transaction, and 80% of consumers surveyed believe that the buying experience is as important as the product purchased.

But what about marketing as an experience? What if the brand experience began before the consumer walked into the store or landed on a website? One of the biggest struggles for traditional marketing, and even digital and social marketing, is that they are passive. Users spend hours on the mediums, but are often mindlessly scrolling as opposed to actively engaging. While there is surely value in repeated exposure, namely the creation of brand recognition and consideration that can later trigger a purchase, many brands would prefer a quicker conversion, particularly if their vertical is one in which impulse purchasing is common.

Creating an experience breaks down the barrier between the brand, the medium, and the potential buyer. Several brands have taken the initiative to drive the idea forward, and have seen the results associated with delivering more than was anticipated. Research from Adobe shows that brands who focus on a better digital experience drive 2x the average order value.

So how did they do it? Let’s take a closer look at creating effective marketing experiences.

Three Ways to Deliver Marketing As An Experience

Physical Events & Activities

Physical events have long been a staple for marketers, with concept stores, pop ups, and event sponsorships accounting for large portions of yearly budgets. Marketers often choose to host or participate in these events because there is large potential for returns. Consumers have a better opportunity here than most to engage with products, and in many cases, purchase on impulse or with instant gratification.

However, being on site does not immediately grant a brand success; the need to deliver value is still present, and experiences should be designed to showcase how a product will deliver that value beyond the moments at the event.

Savage X Fenty took this to heart when partnering and investing in startup FIT:MATCH, which uses augmented reality to go beyond measurement based sizing to develop a consumer’s “fit twin” for a perfect fit. Once scanned, the customer can use their fit twin to find the best apparel choices for their body shape. The brand offers a wide variety of styles and sizes, which according to company presidents, makes finding the perfect fit all the more important.

“We offer an extensive product assortment that makes identifying the right size even more important for our customers, and we are thrilled to roll out ‘Fit Xperience’ in all of our stores.”

-Christiane Pendarvis and Natalie Guzman, co-Presidents of Savage X Fenty

The brand has taken steps to ensure that the messages of inclusivity and confidence that permeate their marketing are not lost once the customer moves to purchase. Instead, they are greeted with technology that makes finding their perfect fit a streamlined element within the brand experience.

Leverage Immersive Tools in Advertising

3D and augmented reality (AR) have been deployed in marketing campaigns for nearly a decade, but the majority of brands have overlooked or underachieved with the potential that these tools have to deliver results. Now, some of the largest advertising platforms available have created tools that allow brands to use 3D and AR to their advantage in settings where their customers spend enormous amounts of time.

Snapchat has established themselves as the headliner for using augmented reality for consumer interaction with their wide variety of lenses. Over the last several years there have been countless brand sponsored lenses, but it is only recently that we have seen these move from awareness novelty to actionable tool. Brands such as Kohl’s. American Eagle, and Ulta have used Snapchat’s AR capabilities to create virtual try-ons that easily transition to purchase opportunities. Ulta generated $6 million in sales and 30 million virtual try ons in a two week period with it’s Snapchat try on, while MAC Cosmetics saw a 17X lift in purchases and 9x lift in purchase intent.

Snap is not the only company to enter the AR game. Pinterest has rolled out several AR initiatives, starting with make up in 2021 and expanding to home decor in 2022, and Facebook has hinted at more AR opportunities coming with Spark AR. Pinterest reported year over year increases of 28% and 33% in beauty try ons by Gen Z and millennials respectively

Bring the URL to IRL with Augmented Reality

The success that brands have seen with augmented reality on platforms such as Snapchat and Pinterest paves the way for greater adoption of 3D and AR as standard marketing tools.

Consumers have also expressed an appetite for 3D and AR, with 71% of consumers saying that they would shop more if they could experience products in AR. Not only would they shop more, but 66% indicated that they would feel more confident in their purchases if able to use 3D and AR during the purchase process.

In terms of driving value from marketing and ecommerce, brands face an immense opening through which to engage, capture, and retain customers by deploying these technologies throughout their customer touch points.

While one of the largest hang ups that brands previously faced with 3D and AR were allocation of time and resources to developing immersive experiences,  partners and platforms have emerged to allow brands to quickly and efficiently tie these immersive experiences into an existing digital or ecommerce property.

When measuring the success of their AR deployments, Sport goggle brand Bollé turned to metrics that demonstrated purchase intent and increased conversions. While the “wow” factor was nice, the team was looking for a more meaningful indicator of business success.

When the results were reviewed, the team saw a nearly 20 second dwell time. 85% more users on the brand’s website and 456% sales lift. A second campaign drove 18 million interactions in 30 days and 314% sales lift.

Modern marketing has accelerated and evolved greatly in recent years, but to say that we have reached the pinnacle of performance would be to cut short what marketing can contribute to business success.

Don’t let your marketing suck, keep pushing forward.