confusedwoman

Choose Not to Confuse

  |  May 17, 2013   |  Comments

Making conscious choices improves your ability to build and communicate value. When these choices are made unconsciously you confuse both employees and customers.

Every company has to make choices when it comes to how it markets and sells, and, in some cases, who it is and what it sells.

In an email exchange, Tom Grimes, the owner of a Culligan dealership in Amarillo, TX and a brilliant friend, shared with me what he's thinking about in terms of business choices.

I thought about it and based on his thoughts, here's a list of the many high-level choices businesses typically make every day. It may help you make some more conscious choices of your own:

  • Select or solicit? Do customers select you or your products, or must you solicit them? Amazon.com is an online destination, so it's selected. Offline, Walmart is too. Customers select Amazon and Walmart. If you sell a water-treatment system, you must solicit. Your marketing must proactively find customers. That's why Amazon can effectively invest its marketing budget in customer experience (free shipping), while Culligan of Amarillo uses local search and local selling techniques.
  • Tangible or intangible? Do you sell something people can taste, touch, smell, or hold, or do you sell a concept, service, or idea? Amazon mostly sells tangible stuff; A.G. Edwards sells financial gain and security, largely a service. Infuse tangible products with intangible qualities: "This soap will make you smell sexy," and intangible products with tangible qualities. This is why lawyers and stockbrokers wear suits. The costume makes the idea of knowledge, power, and trust appear more tangible.
  • Transaction or relationship? Is this a one-night stand or a long-term relationship? Buying a conference table from a conference room specialty store is more transactional, as you likely need only one or two tables and won't be in the market for another anytime soon. As a transaction seller, your focus is on the sale and on optimizing driving points and funnel points and your conversion funnel. But if the buying cycle is short or your product is complex, you must build a relationship. You must optimize several persuasive scenarios, for early-, middle-, and late-stage buyers and repeat-buying scenarios.
  • Speed or quality? Does the customer demand delivery speed, or is quality more important? The higher the product's quality, the higher the bar on the customer experience both with the buying process and the actual product itself. The good news is the customer is willing to wait a little. Would your Starbucks coffee be as special if it was handed to you immediately after you ordered it? If you sell speed, customers are willing to trade some quality for quickness.
  • Price or prestige? Is it all about the customer saving money, or does she pay a premium for prestige? BMW is about prestige. Overstock.com is about price. When buying prestige, customers are likely interested in what others think of their choices. Shopping for clothes at a warehouse or clearance outlet is about price. If you sell a prestige product, never advertise or sell on price. If you're an Overstock, sell on low price. Price isn't king, but it is important; to a few, it's their master.
  • Lifestyle or utilitarian? At its core, an automobile is utilitarian, but car manufacturers have worked long and hard to turn their products into a lifestyle choice. Underpants were once utilitarian (especially for guys), but today it's a lifestyle choice, particularly for women. Look at how Martha Stewart has transformed a utilitarian requirement, fixing up your home, into a lifestyle.

In some cases, a business doesn't want to make the choice. It does its best to blend and balance the seesaw, hence the term "affordable luxury." This is why a lot of fast-food restaurants now offer premium menu items. It doesn't always work out.

Making conscious choices improves your ability to build and communicate value. When these choices are made unconsciously you confuse both employees and customers.

There are many more choices we make, and I'd love to hear what other choices you make, but this is a good beginning. I hope it starts some conversations at the office.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

Tags:

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Resources

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Marketing Systems Analyst
      Marketing Systems Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Marketing Systems Analyst to our expanding team. We...