Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where is the digital battleground?

Nike and Puma Running homepages
I don’t know a lot about marketing running shoes, but a quick review of the top brand's web-pages seem to confirm my suspicion that they are fairly similar in their digital presence. Same functionalities. Same type of content. And even closer commonalities are easier to find in the mediums where art direction is limited or non-existent: search engine marketing and social media.

The matter of the fact is that the traditional marketing funnel for these companies is almost identical, especially in the digital space. Everybody is doing the same things. Diversification is limited to art direction of the picture of the shoe and the clever tag line to support it.

Nike+ is one of the most over-hyped marketing innovations of… well… ever. Most of the praise has been, in my mind, about the wrong thing. As a stand-alone service it’s mediocre-to-ok’ish, but the reason it is fantastic is that, it shifted the battleground of digital from advertising to "the post purchase". We went beyond the funnel. It actually changed what you sell, not so much how. When selecting a pair of running shoes, instead of what shoe you want, you choose which ecosystem you subscribed to; and obviously being the first true end-to-end ecosystem out there, Nike+ had a significant first-mover advantage. Nike’s market share in running shoes bumped from 48% to 61% during the first two years after the introduction of Nike+ and analysts attribute a lot of that growth to the merit of the service.

Domino's Pizza share-price past 2 years
Another good example of going through the line and improving the experiencing a brand through digital mediums is the Pizza Tracker from Domino’s Pizza. Essentially it is a total companion to ordering pizza online, that allows you to monitor the process of delivering your food to you, step by step. I love this service, especially how it solves a totally new problem. It focuses on the “yo, where the hell is my pizza, dude!” -problem, when all other services are just trying to solve the "so, what pizza you want, eh?" -problem. It's post-purchase, not pre-purchase value. The service developed by CP+B was launched in 2008 and since Domino’s Pizza’s share price has doubled. That's tasty.

What to take away from this? Brands should stop and ask: how can "digital" make the experience of being my customer better. The point of monetization is not the finish line, but actually that’s where the real race starts.

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