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Z.E.R.O.: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model by Maarten Albarda, Joseph Jaffe

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CHAPTER16

Customer Experience Becomes the Key Strategic Differentiator

Differentiating Your Brand with Customer Experience

Your product, service, or brand is commoditized. And quite possibly you don't even know it. But it is.

Think about it. What really differentiates you from your competitors? What separates Delta from American (besides bankruptcy protection—past and present, respectively)? What separates Avis from Hertz? What separates Hilton from Marriott? What separates Colgate from Crest?

The sad truth is that we exist between a rock and a hard place, desperately trying to stand out from the crowd or break through the clutter using old, tired blunt objects of yesteryear (paid media and traditional forms of marketing communication).

To be clear, nothing should ever replacing making great products that literally sell themselves through referrals, recommendations, reviews, testimonials, and of course, happy, loyal, returning, and new customers. But what happens when there are too many great products that don't necessarily have enough on the table to clearly separate themselves in the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of their intended audience?

In a commodity-driven market, there is only one thing that differentiates—and that is price. Whether you're buying wheat, pork bellies, or coal, price is the universal currency that governs the market and the connection between buyers and sellers. While you may not be in the salt or sugar trade, I would argue that you might as well be. And ...

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