A Frog That Changed Everything

October 23, 2010

Everything changed the moment the frogs were handed out for mandatory dissection in biology class. A student who was on course to become a doctor suddenly changed course towards law school. Everything changed the moment the shy girl in class had her first experience on the debate team the teacher had steered her onto. Suddenly she recognized her ability to weigh both sides of an argument as the strength it was.

This is not fuzzy, touchy-feely stuff. Apple’s marketing is entirely built around delivering moments. Remember the first time you held an iPhone or an iPad? Their television commercials and website are designed to capture that experience as closely as possible. You can’t capture or create those moments by bullet-pointing out features and benefits.

Not many companies focus on delivering those positive moments. But they often deliver the moments of being disconnected after being on hold endlessly, or of receiving an incorrect bill for the third month in a row.

People make decisions in those moments. Sometimes it’s “I’m buying an iPhone.” Other times it’s “I’m switching cable companies.” They’ll never tell you that’s the reason, though. Instead, they’ll build a set of rationalizations so they can explain to their dad why they’re not going to become a doctor, or explain to their wife why they bought an iPhone. Rationalizations are used to explain decisions, not to make them. Rationalizations are very similar to the feature and benefit bullet points marketers like. Because marketers run surveys and focus groups which excel at collecting rationalizations but are not designed to collect moments.

Do you know what moments change everything for your customers? What are you doing to shape them?

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