Why platforms are important

March 15th, 2011 by Jonas Persson, Senior Interaction Designer at Hello Future.

We often talk about the importance of creating the platform before creating the advertising, but why are platforms such an important part of marketing?

An example: Company A and Company B have similar product offers and similar functional customer service. A pretty normal scenario in any market. The difference is that Company A have actively built an online community of customers that can talk, help each other with small problems, give hints and so on. Tied to this is a digital service that gives you statistics to help use the product in a better way.

This gives Company A two big advantages:

  • an invisible customer lock-in: the more you are tied to a platform/community, the harder it is to switch to another platform since you’ve probably invested lots of time, added lots of data, and made new contacts or even friends that you don’t want to lose.
  • they have created an army of brand advocates: people that easily will recommend their product to other people. And they work for free with the most effective marketing tactic out there – Word of Mouth.

Having the platform ready also makes every marketing effort more effective. Promotional activities often take you one or two steps towards the upper right corner of the Brand Touchpoint Matrix, but sooner or later you hit a brickwall instead of finding the next rabbit hole. If you always have a plan to create more brand advocates, every marketing dollar will give better return.

Creating platforms takes time and requires a whole different approach than working with regular (campaign) marketing. It involves a cross section of the company and requires other skillsets, but once you’re there it will be hard to turn back. Just like your customers.

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