One essential marketing lesson from the UK government that I dare you to follow

Published 25/03/2016 08:44 by Ronni Tino Pedersen

“The product is the service is the marketing.”

The sentence stands out for me as I leave London and the 2016 Sprint Europe conference about online communities. The words are those of Marged Cother who – quoting her boss – are conveying to the audience how GOV.UK are perceiving their communicative goal on digital and social media.

How I wish that more companies and brands would dare to offer genuine service on social media – instead of seeing it as just another channel to convey marketing messages.

The product. Is the service. Is the marketing.

GOV.UK is the British equivalent to Denmark’s Being the primary online gateway between citizens and the UK government, service should of course be their main focus. But the extent to which their vision statement is carried out in daily Twitter and Facebook updates, I find impressive: Each piece of social content is a reference to GOV.UK but not in a salesy clickbaiting way. Nor is it dreary, bland or untimely as you might expect from the hand of The Man. Just relevant service announcements packaged beautifully in a relevant and engaging way. In a nutshell: Service in both form and content.

2016.03.25 GOV.UK Twitter content

Now, the exact same communication tactics won’t fit every brand or company. A brand of toothpaste naturally cannot be expected to serve citizens in the same way as a national government.

But I honestly think that more companies would greatly benefit from servicing their online followers instead of just churning out polished marketing campaigns that put make-up on the product.

So please, brand managers and marketers, take a nudge from the UK government and dare package some solid customer service with that cleverly designed content (yes, they DO go hand in hand). You owe it to the community and to your business.

As a postscript, flying back to Copenhagen with Norwegian I ordered a salad menu. Regrettably, the cabin crew were all out of food to sell, but the steward then kindly offered that I could have one of the salads set aside for himself. Free of charge even. Hungrily I accepted and enjoyed a free and delicious salad (thank you again!)

In that instant, the Norwegian product was embodied in the extraordinary service I was shown – and here I am telling about it. That’s about as good as marketing gets.


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