(Last Updated On: February 4, 2016)

Marketing is fun. Sometimes, not so much. But mostly, fun.

Pick three of your friends. Any three. They must’ve bought something today. Coffee, something online, a software subscription perhaps? Ask them this. Why did you choose not to buy from the other brand?
Yes, not why they chose the brand they bought, but the reason why they didn’t, the other.

If they chose Uber, why not Lyft?

If Apple, why not Samsung?

If Nordstrom, why not Macy’s?

I don’t know what your friends will say. The reasons to chose a brand would be different, but reasons not to chose one are pretty common.

“Too sales-y.”



“Didn’t notice.”

You get the point.

Brands today aren’t merely a logo, font or colors. Of course, they are part of it. But a brand today, is more than that. Several factors put together, that’ll make up an experience. What the customer think of you, not what you actually are.

Heck, it’s even simple. Personality. That’s what it is. Brands are like people and their personalities.

Take for instance Uber and Lyft.

Uber is more like a professional, no-nonsense, stranger who does exactly what you want. Black and white.

Lyft is different. It’s fun. It’s color. It’s not perfect.

Everything else is the same. The car, the driver.

With Lyft, you’ll probably be sitting in the front, chatting. In Uber, you’d be typing away on your laptop.

You might make a friend with Lyft. Uber? Meh.

Well, not trying to sell Lyft here, but you get the point.

Brands are all about experiences today. And by experiences, I don’t mean those intangible, up-in-the-air experiences. Real stuff.

Things that makes you smile. Or at least not cringe.

SaaS is no different. Online Marketing? Sure not.

And I feel guilty saying this. That I’ve done many a things in my career that might not qualify as “good” experience. But that’s OK. Marketers don’t do these things hoping to hurt us.

Someone build that landing page to sell something. That ugly website to make you buy. That big ass squeeze page to.. well, that’s probably different.

So, that’s my point. While all marketers believe that their product add value to your lives, and try to convince you to buy something, there are a few that stands apart. With whom, your three friends chose to go with.

What did they do different?

I could be wrong. But here’s my guess.

Your friends didn’t buy them for the product. But for why you made that product.

If you made it to make money, it shows. If you are passionate and committed to a cause, they could tell.

Today, marketing is a whole bunch of bad experiences, packaged as best practices.

No doubt they work. But it’s myopic. They work. And they die.

People are intelligent. They can smell BS from miles away.

They can tell if you’re lying about your mission statement.

They can tell if you’re bragging about your product. Or desperate. Or both.

Be honest. That takes guts. That’s value. That’s real. That tells about why you build the product.

When you’re sneaking in that long ass ugly form to your landing page, “boosting” conversions, you’re actually offering a bad experience, day one. Your product might be the next big thing, but you’re behaving like a used-car salesman. People might nod their heads and let you finish your sales pitch. But only before they look out for other options.

Not trying to point fingers. But wish we all put in some thought into building better experiences rather than desperate sales pitches.

Here’s a litmus test, when in doubt. What if Mark Zuckerberg was on your homepage. Jony Ive? Will he fill in that ugly-ass form? Will he like that pricing page? Will he wait to load that 10min video? No? Drop it.

Start asking lot of “why”s. An awkward lot.

“Why are we doing this?”, “Why is this important?”, “Why can’t we shorten this?”

It’ll sure go a long way.