Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Marketing Challenge - Preference Is Perishable

Relentlessly Give People New Reasons That Make You First In Minds (And Wallets)

By David Miranda

Marketing is a verb, not a noun. As a matter of fact, it's an action verb. If refers to the relentless pursuit of customers to prefer your stuff over the other's guy's stuff. This is particularly difficult in today's marketplace because, today, preference is perishable.

Customers are an arm's length, a phone call, a few footsteps, a mouse click, or a TV remote button from many alternatives. Marketing-centric companies have known this for a long time. They don't just sell "soap" - they market "hygiene". They don't just sell cosmetics - they market "beauty". They don't sell hotel rooms - they market experiences. They collectively know that selling a commoditized product or service is terminal. It is a recipe for poaching by more astute competitors.

Relentless marketing drives preference by continually giving people new reasons to buy.

The best example of relentless marketing is the women's fashion industry. They continually market new lines, i.e. "our spring/summer collection" etc. They convince consumers that, in spite of the fact, that they don't need that new pair of shoes, one must buy the new shoes to be "in fashion".

The example can also be seen in the technology and software sectors. Companies have convinced consumers that if they currently have the 2.0 version of a software, they need to upgrade to the new 3.0 version that is better, faster, has more features, etc. etc.

The lesson here is simple. If you want your products and services to remain relevant to customers, relentlessly give them new reasons to make your brand top of mind and wallet. Marketing's key object is to build and sustain preference that drive revenue and market share.

Otherwise, they are fair game for the other guy.