Strategic Design | marketing & branding thoughts by Nick Rice

Dynamic marketing, branding & design strategies that span the gap between business & creative.

Kathy Sierra has a great post on how much time, effort, and branding is put into creating pre-sales materials while post-sales material like user manuals is pure function.

I find it interesting how corporations are structured to support this mismatch. Marketing handles the glossy slick brochures and outer packaging, while either engineering or Pubs handles the user manuals, set up guides, packing materials, and quick reference sheets in most companies. Very few companies put a lot of thought into creating an experience that is reflective of the brand after a user buys their widget. I know we talk a lot about Apple in the design and user experience space, but they truly do take every opportunity to create loyal customers. Everything from pre-sales collateral to unpacking the device to installing the software and using it has been thought through from the point of view of a normal user not an engineer buried deep within a company that sees these products every day. That creates passionate users. Passion breeds loyalty. And loyal users are a key component of keeping the doors open and the lights on long term.

Here's a great quote from Kathy:
As a potential customer, I'll find your attention to user learning a lot more convincing than your attention to new sales. Rather than using your brochure to show how much YOU kick ass, I'd much rather see no-marketing-spin hard evidence of how you're going to help ME kick ass.
Kathy reminds us that users don't care about your features. They only care about how improve their daily life. When a user sees your product as an enabler to getting more done or doing things better, they become loyal. If you concentrate your efforts on generating loyal customers, you'll quickly discover that you need to focus more on the activities that happen post-sale. If you offer generous support, information, and ease of use as soon as they open the box you will create loyal users.

Obviously you have to get people to buy your products first so I'm not saying shift all of your resources. The glossy slick brochures, have their place. And are very effective at what they're designed to do. I'm just saying put more thought into how you can improve the user experience throughout the life of your product not just pre-sale.

technorati tags > presales, post, sales, collateral, user, experience, customer, loyalty, marketing, publications

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