[The following is a guest piece by consultant Paul Rudo at email@example.com. Enjoy. -- JRI]
In order to be successful in any business, you must first have a high-quality product or service. But how do you define quality?
It’s simply the degree to which you meet customer needs, and the dollar-for-dollar value that you deliver. But the problem with “quality” is that only your customer can set the criteria that define it. As a marketer, you have very little say in the matter.
The customer will say “I want a faster, lighter widget,” and all of your competitors will begin announcing that they’ve discovered the “Fastest, Lightest Widget On The Market.”
Announcing the quality of your product is really no way to market your offering. It just sets you up as another commodity provider. The quality of your offering should just be assumed.
Your customer already has an expectation of what they want from you. And if you don’t meet that expectation, you won’t succeed. So don’t even bother talking about it.
So if I don’t sell based on quality, what do I promote?
When people buy things, they usually do so with double-intentions.
First, they have an irrational, emotional need that they want to fill. And once they’ve spent their money, they justify their actions with rational quality-based arguments.
This is the essence of consumerism in a nutshell.
- Make-up companies know that young women are insecure about their looks, so they use anorexic models and digitally altered photographs to set up a standard of beauty which is impossible to attain. And then, they link their product to it.
- In their advertising, Apple portrays their customers as creative, artistic trend-setters. And the people who buy their product want to align themselves with that lifestyle. Almost as if a computer could make them seem more interesting to others.
- One of my clients is a <a href= “http://ontariocleaning.com”>cleaning company in Toronto</a>. They understand that corporate customers are secretly terrified of having their cleaning person steal from the office. So their interactions are heavily focused on reinforcing trust, security and reputability.
- Record labels know that poor urban youth crave money, cars, jewellery and women, so they portray rap artists as the sort of people who consistently have easy access to those things (although it’s almost never true).
- Beer companies know that men want to be desired by women. So beer commercials usually take place at cool parties where the drinkers are seen having lots of fun, surrounded by beautiful women.
- Fashion and jewellery designers know that rich people crave exclusivity and “authenticity” (whatever that means). So they make their products very expensive and difficult to buy. That’s why some of the best luxury products require you to sit on a waiting list for months, or even years.
How can you associate a fantasy with your brand? What sort of emotions are your customers looking to feel when they hire you or buy from you?
For example: Let’s assume that you’re selling a time management application, and most of you buyers are career-oriented males between 20 and 30 years old. These people clearly want to be more productive at work so that they can get noticed by the boss and promoted at work.
It’s not about saving time. It’s about social status.
How could you use your advertising to build a fantasy around this?
Figure out what your customers want to feel, and then see how you can associate your brand with that image as a means of differentiating yourself. If you can plant a “gut feeling” in your client, it sets you apart in a very positive way and allows you to charge a higher price.
About The Author:
Paul Rudo is an independent marketing consultant and blogger. He’s currently working with http://ontariocleaning.com to help with their online marketing efforts. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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