E's of Marketing by Vijay Wankhede
Customer purchase decisions are a mix of utility fit and emotional appeal. That’s as true for chocolates as earthmovers. The modes are different for B2C and B2B businesses, of course. A retailer’s focus may be on the visual appeal of the store, having friendly staff at hand to put customers at ease and answer questions, and helpful digital screens to direct customers to the right aisles or show helpful product usage videos. B2B customers may instead care more about seamless databases, 24×7 support and how important their vendor-partners make them feel. Either way, customers don’t just care about product features; they care how their product experience is in its entirety. That’s not to say that customers aren’t cost-conscious; in fact, they have become even more so, and desire more from the transaction than just “money-for-goods”. They want an Exchange.
They say nothing in life is free- not even free stuff! Customers understand that, yet there is a rush every year during the Christmas discount season. The reason? Perceived value for money. Product pricing is inevitable, but the modern customer demands more. Free giveaways like memberships and discounts are always popular but can’t create long term differentiation. Customers really value brands which respect them- those who value their time, respect their values, support their favorite causes, or even just acknowledge them with genuineness. When a brand succeeds, customers are willing to make an exchange: their commitment to the brand in exchange for the brand’s loyalty to them. Notice that this is a complete reversal of the marketing paradigms of old, where brands committed time and resources to develop loyalty in one segment of customers.
In modern trade, a brand’s distribution channels are many more, and much more fluid than in traditional business models. For example, a B2B office supply company would have segmented clients by revenue share and directed them to either local distributors, or inhouse KAMs. In the modern marketplace, there are still the old channels, but customers may now reach them over the phone, their websites, social media, or even through ERP-to-ERP ordering. With so many ways for customers to reach suppliers, suppliers also need to ensure that their goods and services are accessible and visible anywhere. That means they must do more to ensure superb product experiences keeping in mind local challenges like cultural differences, buying power differences, supply chain issues, etc.
As with any type of engagement, it takes time but is worth the effort. Seventy-four percent of customers shared that they are more likely to buy a product through engagement marketing than other types of promotion.
There are five types of engagement marketing and specific examples include:
· asking for feedback
· free classes
· how-to videos
· sharing information about a complementary product after a purchase
· donating an item to a charity for each item bought
We all want to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves and that our choices influence the greater good. Brands and companies can tap into these emotions to build a loyal following through storytelling, imagery, and authenticity. Share why you developed a product or service, the bios of your staff members, photos and history of the “early days” of your business, customer success stories, images of your product in action, and videos of your company giving back to the community.
Add the E’s to your marketing equation today and you’ll find the solution to your company’s future success.