Are You Responding to New Customer Demands?

August 26, 2009 by  Filed under: Marketing 

With a change in market conditions from stability and comfort to uncertainty and dissatisfaction, how is your business responding to the desire for change that our retail customers are feeling? Yes, when politicians bandy around words and phrases such as ‘recession’, ‘downturn’ and ‘global economic crisis’ we as marketers need to adapt our branding message to meet the changing demands that purchasers are armed with.

Consumers are now asking many more questions before making purchases than twelve months ago and the price point does not appear to matter. Whether the purchase item is nappies or car questions are being asked and consumers are looking for assurances that they will find the qualities they are seeking in their purchase including longevity, performance, and well as other qualities that demonstrate that your purchase is the most fit for purpose in comparison to competitors.

The amount of time spent online researching products is on the increase and much more time is being spent on forums and social networking sites asking questions about product and service experiences. Consumers are sharing notes and these virtual conversations are changing what information is being used to make decisions and how our consumers are shopping and this appears to be a trend that is here to stay as we look forward to a swing away from consumerism.

Before the change in global economics consumers were interested in consistency and it made it easier for marketers as our markets were predictable. Consumers simply did what it took to keep up with the Jones’. No effort was required to push a product or service in an environment where stability gave confidence that money could be applied to whatever friends and family also put their money into – as long as they felt safe in the purchase and that it was not an unusual purchase it was already as good as sold.

With changes to economic stability we are seeing a change in product perception and their demands are something that should have each and every marketer on their toes. Not only are they questioning not only the existing states of products, but are asking about what new features are becoming available or what is happening to the range. They are also wanting to know what the longer term benefits of the purchase will be and are actively weighing performance against those built expectations.

Yes, if you marketing strategy does not include providing a fresh responsive sales team, Having a team that are able to present new and innovative products in a way that matches the product to the unique needs of each market segment or special interest group. Now is the time to start thinking way beyond a three string branding message to one that is customised to each unique consumer group – if you can’t achieve that then you will lose them.

This change is not going away and boards need to be holding their marketing staff accountable to embracing this change which will be more challenging but at the same time far more profitable for those businesses that are agile and move fast. Key to this will be the implementation of new tools to gain market information and tapping into the vast number of conversations happening online through social mediums will be a key information source. Now is the time for the strategic marketer to have the ear to the track and to see the new trends and purchase patterns in their sector with a view of responding and responding quickly.

The next few years will weed the average marketer from the great and will see significant changes in the way that we use the services of both public relations and advertising. Advertising agencies, in particular, are going to have to think seriously about how they are going to pitch to multiple niche groups simultaneously and marketing decision makers are going to need to hold them accountable to performance expectations. Welcome, my marketing and business friends to marketing for what will be at least the next decade. It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Kristy A. Bennett is a CEO, consultant, entrepreneur and founder of MIB Business Solutions – a consultancy practice dedicated to supporting businesses as they seek to bolster their bottom line. Kristy’s breadth of experience in taking a strategic approach to managing both life and business is reflected in her skills and expertise which she openly shares both online, at speaking engagements and through the management mentoring program at MIB Business Solutions. Contact Kristy and her team to have an obligation free discussion of your strategic business needs and see how MIB Business Solutions can pad out your profit margin today.

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Kristy A. Bennett - EzineArticles Expert Author

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