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 San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. 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

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...