September 2016. In This Issue:
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editor's CUT

Editor's Cut: Oreos have become a bit of a standard snack around the CMO Council offices lately.

If you head to the team’s snack zone, there is at least one pack, and I have been known to sneak over and grab a couple on occasion. So knowing that I was depleting a coveted resource, I ventured to the local store to replenish the stock. I was not prepared for what I encountered.

So there are regular Oreos, Double Stuf, Mega Stuf, Thins, Snack Packs, Minis, Chocolate, Triple Double, Golden, Golden Double Stuf, Golden Thin, Mint, Berry, Fudge Crème, Fudge Crème Mint, Lemon, Heads or Tails Double Stuf, Birthday Cake, Birthday Cake Golden, Cookie Dough, and now news of a limited release: Candy Corn Oreos soon to hit the shelves.

I have to admit: It was really overwhelming—so much so that I quite literally grabbed any two blue packages my hands landed on and ran to the self-checkout line hoping nobody would notice how confused and overwhelmed I was by a cookie!

But it also got me thinking. In an age where we are looking to give our customers every option possible, in every channel possible, to satisfy every experience and expectation possible, could we be creating something that, in the end and presented all together, ends up overwhelming and confounding our customers instead of thrilling and delighting them? Are we delivering a wall of cookies when they really just want an Oreo?

The reality is that it can be overwhelming for customers, but it’s equally overwhelming for marketers. As we strive for total coverage, we also need to have that moment when we step back and ask if we are creating for creation’s sake. I think back to the race to create mobile apps, when we all ran out because we had to have an app. We did it, and we learned really quickly that while we could create an experience and we could absolutely deliver great content and even helpful messages, we failed to actually deliver value. The app distracted from our teams creating a mobile-responsive experience that could deliver the experience that added value to our members.

We stepped back because we knew something wasn’t working. But what if we had stepped back earlier…before the investment of time and resources? This is a lesson we have all learned at some point in our careers, but amazingly, in the heat of the customer experience planning moment, we forget.

So as we head into planning for 2017, ready to meet our customers in the channels they pick with the experiences we know they want and need (while still leaving some room for opportunities to thrill and amaze), let’s ask that dreaded question: Is this something that will thrill our customers and boost our bottom line, or will it just be a fleeting moment of cool? Are we building a relationship or just a series of fleeting memories?

My vote? Opt-in for the relationship. It is the difference between running out of the store without any cookies and refusing to run out without your package of Oreos.