How Consumer Value Determines Marketing Approaches
Jim Dayton of InTouch Solutions wrote an article that may change the way marketers
approach the average consumer. For many years, consumers were treated like cattle, and mass-marketing approaches were used to reach the largest consumer base possible in one fell swoop. Today, however, businesses are recognizing the importance of valuing consumers and allowing that consumer value to dictate the approaches used in marketing products and services. When the consumer feels valued, he or she is more willing to feel loyalty to a particular brand.
Why Should You Value the Consumer?
In marketing, the consumer is king. Some marketing strategists may operate on the principle that the “consumer doesn’t even know what he wants,” but marketing research has revealed that this is far from the truth. In fact, the modern consumer is a sophisticated and complex being. He knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. It’s your responsibility to convince a consumer that you value his desires and needs and that you’ll go out of your way to fulfill them.
Consumers Respond to Brands that Meet their Needs
Many businesses believe that consumer value marketing strategies are out of date and ineffective. In the past decade, flashy billboards and commercial inundation may have been effective ways to promote a brand and sell a product. Today, however, consumers are becoming desensitized to these advertisement types. Instead, consumers are responding to businesses and brands that meet their needs in a comprehensive way. By using different channels to fulfill consumer needs, without ever attempting to sell a product, businesses will gain consumer loyalty and customer appreciation.
A Multi-Channel Approach to Marketing
When businesses allow consumer value to adjust the ways in which they approach marketing, the changes occur across many different marketing channels. It is impossible for a business to communicate consumer value through social media yet ignore consumer value in its TV ads or billboard announcements. Consumer value must make changes across the board. Your website, blog, social media presence, and print marketing strategies must work together to communicate the value you place in your customers.
Consumer Value in Conversation
The easiest way to show consumers that they are valued is to facilitate conversation between your brand and its customer audience. Consumers love to share information, read stories, post comments, and make suggestions. When they feel that their comments and suggestions are read, valued, and even put to use, the customer/brand relationship becomes much stronger. Consumers will feel loyalty to a brand that puts them first. Jim Dayton’s article lists Starbucks as one of the best examples of customer conversation and value. He discusses the “My Starbucks Idea” program, and references it as a great way to let customers know that their opinions and suggestions matter.
Consumer Value in Service
It is crucial to never discount the importance of high quality service to consumers. The most common type of “service” that businesses provide is customer service. Traditionally, customer service was a number that consumers called when they had a complaint or issue with a product or purchase. This, of course, is a very important service to offer to customers, and consumers need to feel that their issues are being heard and resolved.
Why, though, are complaint responses the only type of service that most businesses are offering? Instead of waiting for a problem to occur, consider offering valuable service to your clients from the start. Create forums where important ideas and discussions are facilitated. Post helpful articles and videos about your industry where consumers can read and watch them to learn important information that will improve their lives. Use a holistic approach to customer service, and your consumers will feel valued and appreciated.
A Comprehensive Approach to Consumer Value
The best strategy for allowing consumer value to change the way you market to customers is to approach marketing as a comprehensive service to the customer. Stop focusing on what you can gain from your marketing strategies, and start focusing on how you can improve the consumer’s life with your products, services, ideas, communication, and actions.
If an advertisement does not have the consumer’s needs at its core, eliminate it from your marketing strategy. Use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, your business’s website, TV ads, and even billboards to promote a common idea: that you believe your customers are valuable. When all the aspects of your marketing strategy focus initially on the consumer, your brand is able to present a consistent image of consumer value to potential customers. This is a great way to make an even greater impression on your audience.
Talk To Consumers Not At Consumers
The foundation of consumer value involves a strategy where brands talk to their customers and not at their customers. This is a fundamental difference, and consumers are quite adept at evaluating whether a business is simply trying to sell a product or truly cares about customer satisfaction and life improvement. If in doubt, make sure that your business is focusing on the latter strategy. Consumers want to engage with businesses that go above and beyond with their marketing strategies. Instead of marketing a product, try marketing a way of life, an experience, or an ideology. Your brand will benefit from this approach, as the consumer will feel valued and important. When a consumer feels valued, he or she is willing to invest in your products and services.
Consumer value marketing is not a new strategy; it is simply a changing strategy. With new avenues of communication and advertising opening up every day, it’s important to discover methods for using these new communication avenues to promote and emphasize the value of your customers. Use Twitter to share important news stories with valued customers. Use Facebook to offer tailor-made coupons and special offers to valued customers. Post videos and articles to your website that are interesting to your intended audience. Put the customer first in all your marketing strategies, and you will begin to see an upswing in your profit margins. Consumers value businesses that value them; it’s as simple as that.