Perception is reality. If people perceive one brand as better quality, better value, better design, etc. than competitors, they’ll talk about it as such. Others will be convinced of its superiority. And the brand can reap the rewards of that premium.

Here are a few articles I perceived as relevant for CMOs this week. You can share articles you enjoy with me on Twitter at @erinclaire and @Bazaarvoice.

How FedEx Revamped Its Brand By Fixing Its “Leaning Tower Of Packages”
by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine for Fast Company

Customer experience is about customer perceptions – if they perceive that their experience is great, simple, delightful, then it is. Great article on how understanding expectations and acting on them helped FedEx improve the overall customer experience. Solving a need for a critical group of FedEx customers ended up being very easy: They could still have the leaning tower of packages, they just moved it behind a wall.

The trend that terrifies Big Tech
by Olof Schybergson for CNN Money

“One word is keeping executives at Amazon, Facebook, and Google up at night: mobile.” Just as early adopters of online commerce, and especially web-first brands, disrupted traditional businesses, mobile-first businesses threaten today’s giants. No company – not even the titans listed above – can be safe until they recognize that mobile will be the first screen (sooner than most people think) and design their mobile excellent, unmatched mobile experiences. This article is full of reasons to adopt a mobile-first strategy, and examples of companies already ahead of the trend.

Marketing Is Dead
by Bill Lee for Harvard Business Review

As tired as I think we’re all getting with the headline, this article still makes you think. In our social media-infused world, traditional marketing logic just doesn’t work, for many reasons. Buyers no longer pay attention to the messages brands attempt to force in front of their eyeballs. CEOs have lost all patience with the fuzzy ROI of traditional ads. This article offers some critical approaches required to transform to the new model of marketing.

Marketers Flunk the Big Data Test
by Patrick Spenner and Anna Bird for Harvard Business Review

It’s time for marketing, and CMOs in particular, to stop being labeled as the ones that don’t get it. The explosion of Big Data is driving a shift away from the gut-based decision making that dominated marketing for so long. We have the data now to make educated decisions on what will work, and it’s time to focus on goals and filter out noise.  The great thing is: all of this rich data, if embraced and used correctly, can vault our function to the best it’s ever been.

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