When I was a young professional, a mentor shared with me a very simple yet powerful outlook on sales and marketing; consumers will buy from you if they think you’re worth it.
Today, while I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the nuances of consumer behavior, that simple yet powerful outlook still rings true. No matter how compelling or creative a sales and marketing strategy may be, the consumer decides whether or not you’re worth the cost.
Here are a few real-world examples of this concept:
The first game of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Finals was this week; Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors. The lowest available single ticket price for a VIP Floor Seat is $2,500. Personally, I look at that price and say, “no way!” But some fans will spend that money even if it means dipping into their savings account. Why? Because the experience is worth it.
A few blocks away from a mainstay grocery store is a local market run by a family that lives in the nearby community. A shopper chooses to travel those few extra blocks and pay slightly higher prices than at the mainstay grocery store. Why? Because supporting a local small business is worth it.
During the summer heatwave, a family of five spends nine hours in a cramped car driving across state lines to visit Grandma and Grandpa. It’s an uncomfortable and, frankly, unpleasant trip using time that could have been spent relaxing by the pool. Yet this family makes the same trip every year knowing all too well the difficulties. Why? Because visiting Grandma and Grandpa is worth it.
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand offering a product or service, the ultimate sales and marketing question remains the same – do your customers think you’re worth it?
Answering this question requires a cohesive approach that includes knowing the competitive market, knowing the target consumers, and knowing your own brand. Here we’ll discuss a few important areas to consider when getting started.
Know what is important to your target customers
Let’s assume through previous research and analytics, such as a customer segmentation project, we’ve established a base understanding of our target consumer groups. These high-level customer profile attributes will help define WHO these customers are, but we still need to dig deeper and uncover WHY these customers are in our market space to begin with. In other words, what are the core drivers behind their purchase decisions?
By adding layers of insights to our existing customer profiles, the nuanced details of our customers’ wants and needs begin to take shape. For example, a thirsty customer wants water; but what leads them to choose one brand over another?
Since we know merely being present with a product or service isn’t enough to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace, we must identify what is most important to our target customers as they make purchase decisions. The more we know about these key decision drivers, the better we can position our brand to stand out from the crowd.
Refine your value proposition
After answering the question of what is most important to our target customers, we can start crafting a brand message that touches on these key purchase decision drivers. As with the aforementioned example of the thirsty consumer, we can start clarifying our water brand’s value proposition based on the consumer’s core wants and needs.
If we find that our target consumer group values a water brand that is eco-friendly, then our sales and marketing approach can focus on how we use recycled materials or practice environmentally conscious bottling methods.
If we find that our target consumer group prefers a brand that is aligned with their luxury lifestyle, then we can showcase our superior product quality standards or package design elements.
If we find that our target consumer groups need water to support their active lifestyle, then we can highlight the health benefits of our particular water source and provide scientific support to back our claims.
Whether it’s the environment, luxury or healthy living, understanding what is important to our target customers enables us to refine our value proposition in a way that aligns with their core decision drivers.
Track and measure where you rank among competitors
Having refined our value proposition based on what is most important to our target consumers, we can design and implement a focused sales and marketing strategy. However it’s important we keep in mind that just because we are sending a certain message doesn’t mean the message will be received as intended. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that our product or service is perceived by customers to align with the brand message and/or image we are trying to convey. Even with our good intentions, if we fall short in the eyes of the consumer then it’s in our best interest to make some adjustments.
With this in mind, we are at a point where a Brand Perception Study will provide the insights we need to validate or challenge our efforts. The best way to find out what customers think about our brand is to reach out and ask them directly. Since we have a targeted consumer group and a focused value proposition, we can measure brand perception and directly compare where we sit within the field of competitors against where we want to sit within the field of competitors.
Be open about your intentions
This last area can be broadly applied to any brand across a variety of business objectives, but in the context of this discussion we encourage brands to be open and honest with customers about their intentions. If our brand wants to set the standard for luxury, it’s ok to plainly say that when communicating with customers; especially when conducting market research like a brand perception study. Consumers appreciate when a brand is proactively trying to improve and especially likes to be involved in the brand development process.
So if your brand isn’t currently where you want it to be amongst the field of competitors, don’t shy away from the fact that you want to change that. Being proud of your efforts to grow and capture market share will in itself build positive brand image and strengthen consumer relationships.
When was the last time your team asked, “Do our customers think our brand is worth it?” If it’s been a while, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
For over 30 years we’ve been partnering with brands to strengthen and develop their identity, value proposition and competitive positioning. Whenever you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, give us a shout!