If I’ve learned anything from my consumer behavior, promotions, and marketing research classes in college, and keeping in mind that innovation and superior customer service is what keeps a business ahead of the curve and at the forefront of any competitor’s mind, it’s that your customers don’t truly know what they want all of the time. It’s your job as a business owner/marketer to make those needs that you want your customer to have, and working your a** off to provide that product or service better than anyone else.
This statement could be supported and enhanced by some data and numbers, but I’ll leave that for the people who like to do that stuff , I don’t. I’m kind of stubborn like Steve Jobs was in that way; I’ll let my product (the post) speak for itself.
What You’ll Find in This Post…
Included in this post is:
- How marketers create new needs and sell them to us every day
- Take the sale by becoming the Apple and Zappos of your industry
- A lesson from Gary Vaynerchuk about giving a (insert profane word of your choice here)
- And how you as a small business owner can leverage the information in this post to sell more to your customers
Create New Needs
Let’s get to probably the most important point I’m going to make in this whole post, and that is that marketing can create new needs, and therefore, new purchases. While this is true, innovation and customer service go a long way as well, which will set your company leagues ahead of the competition if you get it right.
But just how do marketers create needs we thought we never had before?
Let’s take a quick look into marketing and advertising in general.
Many marketing messages create a need we didn’t even know we had. This coincides with many promotional campaigns as well. For example, a very popular coupon tactic marketers use for selling products is offering what is known as package bundling. An example of bundling is a promotion like, “Buy four packs of batteries, get the fifth pack free.”
Who even needs four packs of batteries at one time?! Even though I’m highly aware of these marketing ploys being a marketer myself, I even cave into the promotional tactics because sometimes they just sound like a good deal I shouldn’t pass up!
Marketers sell us on more than just “deals”, they sell us by basing ads off of emotional appeals, sex, nostalgia, and pretty much anything else you can think of. The reason these tactics are still around is because they work.
Apple created the iPod that I thought I never knew I “needed” but you won’t see me going to the gym without it. And there is no way I’m going back to a clunky old mp3 player, oh no. Jobs sold me on the sleek and convenient design of the iPod nano, but what is interesting about that is that he didn’t use any marketing tactics for me to buy their product. He used innovative design.
Which leads me to my next point…
Innovation Leads the Pack
We’ve seen it time and time again, Apple creates a new innovative product, and others follow suit. It’s been apparent for many years now that Apple sets the standard for all companies in the tech gadget space.From music devices such as the iPod, to tablets and computers, Apple takes the trophy.
Upon inquiry, a customer is never shy about saying what they want, and how they want it. In fact, many people can get very specific about which requirements a product must have in order for them to even consider buying it, or the reasons why some people will go to a certain store to pay a higher price for a product that can be found at another store for a cheaper price.
So why can Apple sell to me successfully without appealing to a need I have? Because many people, like me, aren’t rational. I don’t need an iPod to survive, but I rationalize it in my mind that I need the latest iPod nano as soon as it hits the stores.
Why? The answer is relatively simple; innovation.
People Aren’t Rational all of the Time
Steve Jobs’ philosophy while working with Apple was to put out innovative products. A lesser known attribute of him is that he was very specific about how he wanted these products designed. Many people that worked with him saw just how perfect he wanted these products to be. Jobs knew that you have to put products in front of people that they didn’t know they wanted/needed that are remarkable, and this is why people continued to buy Apple products.
While innovation is key, I want to get back to an earlier point, which is that marketing can create new needs. It does this by appealing to us with ads that throw marketing messages at us that don’t always appeal to a rational purchase decision. This is why marketing works. It’s all a game of psychology. But it’s not all the marketers fault, it’s us consumers that make their tactics work.
Many times consumers can be 100% sure they want something a certain way, but that’s not quite true since many times they end up changing their mind. This is not to say that we shouldn’t listen to our customers. We should very much listen to our customers, conduct market research, etc., but to also keep in mind that all the data and customer service skills in the world don’t always tell us why people don’t always use rational thought when making purchase decisions.
You can’t just sell more by being innovative and tactful in your marketing, you have to be be the best in your industry when it comes to customer service as well.
Become the Zappos of Your Industry
Upon inquiry, a customer is never shy about saying what they want, and how they want it. In fact, many people can get very specific about which requirements a product must have in order for them to even consider buying it, or the reasons why some people will go to a certain store to pay a higher price for a product that can be found at another store for a cheaper price. This is because customer service can go a long way, and even possibly help you sell more than you ever thought possible.
A while ago I came across a great book called, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Passion, Profits, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh of Zappos. This book was a great read and explains why Zappos become the company it is today by taking a deep look into their company and even more famous company culture.
Zappos has one thing down pat that many companies fail to do or care about, and that is offering superior customer service. Call up Zappos right now and ask them to order a pizza and I guarantee they will do it. While it is strange that they would actually do something like that for a customer, it shows that they care a ton about their customers – a lesson we can learn not only from the successful online company Zappos, but a self made multi million dollar entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk.
A Lesson From Gary Vaynerchuk About Giving a *%?!
Gary Vaynerchuk is a truly amazing entrepreneur that is known for his in-your-face approach (which includes a lot of bluntness and swearing) to telling people why caring matters. This matters a LOT in business, and why he was able to become so successful, and teach others how to be more successful in their businesses.
He took a small, family owned wine business, and turned it into a 60 million dollar business in just under 10 years. How did he do it? By caring about the business, it’s customers, and just caring about helping people in general.
He used traditional marketing to build the wine business, but he is a great business man and knew that marketing was shifting to the digital space – something too many businesses ignore.
What we can learn most from Gary, is his stress that caring about your customers and having the passion to work harder than anyone else, while also taking advantage of the new ways marketing is shifting, will put you ahead of the competition and get you more business.
If you have the time, you should definitely check out his books to learn more about him and how to build a better business.
To Wrap Things up…
I hope you found this post useful in identifying ways that your company can sell more by taking a deeper look into answering a few questions:
1.) How can you adjust your marketing to create a need for your products
2.) How can you apply what Apple and Zappos does at a smaller scale to build your business?
3.) How can you take Gary Vaynerchuk’s business philosophy to propel your business ahead of the competition?
I hope you are able to think about these things as you are getting ready for the new year. As always, please leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section below.