Continuing in our ‘What the Heck?…’ series we’re tackling the issue of Marketing.
Marketing is a HUGE subject. It means different things to different people. Everyone has a different definition or idea about what they think the essence of marketing is. And we thought we’d put our two pence in.
Our definition of Marketing is ‘the battle of perceptions, not products.’
This definition is taken from the great book ‘The 21 Immutable Laws of Marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
Now please, put your torches and pitchforks down for one second. Please give me a second to explain why I side with their definition.
OK, think about this - when you buy things you have a thought process. You have a thought/opinion about certain products. Now, that thought could have come from an ad, a friend, something you heard or read, but regardless of where it came from it has shaped your thinking. You now have an opinion. But if we’re all honest sometimes our opinions may not be true. But it’s your opinion – that’s yours and no one can take it away from you or change your mind.
What I’m getting round to is, could your opinion about a product or service be wrong?……
It’s possible…right?…. Come on. How many times have we made a bad purchase decision. (I know I have!) Or how many times have we used a service and said, “That’s the last time I’m using them!” Someone may have appeared to offer a great service but in the end it was an illusion.
They sold you a perception.
A company may have what looks like the best product in the world but in the end it was rubbish.
They sold you a perception…and you bought it.
Chances are the first time you buy a product or service you haven’t tasted it, ridden in it, used it, played it, watched it etc. You’re going on what looks to be the best. You are going on your perceptions.
“Well I buy stuff because of the quality,” you might say.
That may be true but there is another angle – countless studies have shown that even though a product may be superior in quality it may not necessarily own most of the market share and can be ultimately outsold by a rival of lesser quality. I remember recently reading a study in America how people preferred the taste of Pepsi, however Coca Cola was outselling them. It’s not about quality or taste – it’s about perceptions.
Have a think about your buying habits. I’m sure there’s been at least once in your life when you’ve been in the supermarket and come face to face with a wall of countless brands. But, you instinctively go for a particular one.
Why did you choose that brand over the countless others?
Was it a pre-conceived notion that the one you chose was better? BINGO!
Now I don’t know where that idea came from – maybe a friend recommended that brand, maybe you saw a great ad, maybe it’s because ‘everyone knows that this is the best’. Whatever the reason – you bought the idea and now you’re buying the product.
There’s countless products out there that are just as good (if not better) than the biggest brands but they don’t own the biggest market share. For example – most of us will buy Kelloggs Cornflakes over Tesco’s own brand. Why? Because it’s Kelloggs! For those of us who pick Kelloggs over the store brand have a perception that Kelloggs is better. Somehow, somewhere, someone has got it into our heads that it is the superior brand – and now our time in the supermarket aisle is shorter because we know which brand we want.
I bet you this though – I bet you couldn’t tell the difference between Kelloggs and a store brand……. Don’t believe me? Give it a go.
Now don’t get me wrong – some store brands are just crap! I wouldn’t dare buy store brand kitchen towels. I’d go for a bigger brand - but again I have a perception that it is better.
Over time we will go into this topic more deeply. Until then, know that it’s not about how great your product is – it’s how people perceive your product.
People buy perceptions, not products.
Hi, I’m Haroon Rashid and I’m the author of this blog and the founder of Finisher Creative. If you are a small business or a charity/non-profit I would be more than happy to talk to you about your online marketing and social media needs. If you’re in the Yorkshire area (UK) I’ll even take you out for a coffee! You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, check me out on Facebook or follow me @FinisherCre8ive I look forward to hearing from you!Get a FREE Consultation