One of my previous clients had a view about marketing which somehow got me thinking: For her, the whole purpose of marketing is to get people to buy - that when they pick your brand off the shelf (in a sea of other brands) that's success.
At first thought, I did think she was right - marketing is all about getting people to buy your brand as opposed to buying another brand.
Then I realized there's something else to it: If she believed (and she did believe) that the greatest brand medium is the brand itself - and that the proof of a brand is in the eating/using, then marketing actually should extend beyond the mere buying.
Think about it: Imagine a person in front of a shelf of breakfast cereals. She stops for a moment - and picks up your breakfast cereal brand. She heads to the cashier's to pay, goes home, sleeps - and wakes up. Brand new day - and here comes breakfast! Imagine her experience when she pours milk on her bowl of cereals and right after the first scoop. Is she rushing? Does she feel rushed? Is she in touch with the brand? Is she actually enjoying the brand? Does she even stop and consider herself "great" for having chosen this brand of cereals? At the middle of the day, does she remember her breakfast? Does she remember her brand of cereals? Does she even talk about her brand of breakfast cereals with her colleagues?
Marketing has always been thought to be about the 4Ps - Promotions, Pricing, Product, and Place. And when people talk about "product", they usually think "product development" or "product extensions".
I would like to think that it goes beyond the functional. Product experience - or the physical, tangible experience of the brand - ought to be included in there. And marketeers should be thinking about the same things as well.