Is Your Marketing Consumer Driven?

April 25, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

You may have heard of an old Chinese curse that goes “May you live in interesting times”. Brought on by advances in communications technology, there has never been a more interesting time to be in marketing than in the current context. And that applies to everyone; to some extent, we are all in marketing.

There are some that believe that we are witnessing the death of the infamous AIDA model of marketing. Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. This model has been around since the early 20th century and has its roots in writing advertising and sales copy. To think it lasted for almost 100 years!

Every sales & marketing book that has ever been written has used this model to explain customer and lead acquisition. If a potential customer isn’t aware of your product or service, there is very little chance that they’ll be interested enough to want it and subsequently buy it. Everything from production and operations to accounting comes to a grinding halt. Marketing was very much a numbers game, and then came the Internet and the smartphone.

The power that modern consumers have to share and publish information about brands has forever altered the marketing landscape. Brands have to speak to customers and not at them. McKinsey Consulting conducted some very interesting re-search that has introduced the concept of the Consumer Decision Journey. Each customer experience (purchase, consumption of the product or service and post purchase behavior) isn’t an isolated event but an evolving process that is shared through a feedback loop. Through social media, social book-marking and online interactions, consumers share their experiences, for better or worse with other.

As marketers, our first instinct is to take a defensive stance, discredit the whole process and refuse to enter the social arena. The new consumer decision making paradigm represents limitless opportunities for those that can embrace it. It’s all about fulfilling your brand promise and staying on your toes so that you’re always delivering the ultimate customer experience whatever that may be. It’s about listening to your customers to find ways to improve your product or service.

Brands that remain in a buyer’s consideration set, the subset of brands that a consumer chose from when making a buying decision, stand to gain the most. For example, you decide that your going to buy a big screen TV and you’ve read in product reviews, gathered information from the different brand’s websites and have looked at what people have written about them on Facebook and Twitter and have decided on three specific brands, A,B and C. You purchase Brand B but after 15 days, you aren’t happy with the product and return it to the store. They courteously provide you with a refund but because you Brand A really appealed to you, you chose it over Brand A this time.

You have to be that much more proactive in order to keep your customers since they will always be holding you accountable. And if you are of the opinion that a level of customer attrition is “normal”, think about this paradigm in another context. How much does it cost for you to get a new customer currently? I think that we all know that answer.

Bruce Kirby is a Montreal, Canada based consultant specializing in marketing and branding. His firm provides marketing for your brand, helping you standout in the marketplace. Download a free white paper or read more about best practices in marketing at http://www.montrealmarketingconsulting.com/en/our-blog.html.

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