For a few months I have been delving into the concept of brand purpose and looking for a way to include it in my methodology to define a marketing strategy. In this search I have started reading and I have come across two authors who are inspiring me: Mark W. Schaefer ( Marketing Rebellion ), and recently Simon Sinek ( Start with why ).
In the end I realize that we are all going around the same things.
The basis of marketing is in-depth knowledge of the customer
The more I think about the best way to do marketing, the more I realize that the answer is very simple and we have always had it in front of us: meet and connect with our customers .
The problem is that as we grow and try to scale our Kenya Phone Number List
, we lose perspective. We move away from the customer and focus on sales. The data is the boss, not the people. We forget that those who buy from us are people like us.
I have been talking for years about the consequences that the obsession with sales causes in companies (link to a conference where I summarize these consequences) and how we should change the way we do things.
Starting by defining who our client is is just the beginning of the journey. If we go deeper we realize that we not only have to know him well, but also that we must give them control of the marketing of our company or rather, be aware that they already had it and that the key to our success is to find a way to connect with them.
The problem is that we have been doing cause and effect marketing for a long time. I make this change and I get this result. I’m not sure why, but if I do x I get y.
I am referring to our attempts to influence our clients’ purchasing decision making by seeking higher sales. I make a discount and sales go up, I make a change in the product, I change the way of communicating it, and….
They are all ways to stimulate sales. The reality is that they work, the problem is the consequences for the company in the medium term.
I really like the phrase of my friend Javier de Rivera: “ we don’t have to sell, but help them buy ”.
Well, I’m going to talk to you about all this today. Of the manipulations we do in marketing to achieve short-term sales. For this I am going to base myself on what Simon Sinek tells in his book Start with why , but told from my point of view.
Levers to activate short-term sales
(and its possible negative consequences on the company in between).
To increase sales in the short term, companies use certain levers. Levers like the ones I mentioned before, if I do x I get y , I am not very clear why, but I know I get y .
1. Price and offers
It is the classic sales accelerator. You lower the price and the sales go up. You make an offer and the sales go up.
It is a common practice in sellers in both B2C and B2B. But what are the consequences?
Sellers : they focus their attention on price, as an attribute of the product that works best when it comes to selling, and they forget about the rest. This leads them to:
Running out of sales arguments: they do not value the product or the company.
Get into a downward spiral: Once you have lowered the price and your customers have gotten used to it, what is the next step to stimulate sales again? Lower it more, right?
Settle in: They handle that argument and get used to easy sales.
Buyers : if we give them the same for less money we are devaluing our product and brand .
Also, if the brand has this policy as usual, if they already know that prices are going to drop, why not wait for more to drop to buy? What will happen when the lower price is no longer sufficient stimulus? and the most complicated, how to get them to buy from us when we raise or maintain the price?
Company : as we have seen in the previous points, the company is the one that ultimately loses out. At first everything seems to be going well because the sales are coming, everyone is happy (both the company, the buyers and the sellers). But as time goes by, the negative consequences of the obsession with short-term sales begin to be seen :
The brand is diluted : when you get the same for a lower price, the brand and product attributes lose value. And little by little we have a scenario in which our audience would not care to choose our product or that of the competition. They see no difference.
Price war : we ourselves are getting into a price war with the competition. Our clients do not differentiate between brands and change, our competition lowers prices to follow us (and vice versa).
This is a scenario from which few succeed. They must seek a competitive advantage that allows them to maintain this dynamic. If not, the most normal consequence will be closure.
Profitability : of course, profitability is reduced to a minimum (hence the risk of crisis that I mentioned).
The fidelity disappears : and therefore the recommendation.
Undifferentiated products : all this leads us to make our products undifferentiated. We have been removing the layers of positive attributes to end up making clone products of the competition. Think about internet access services, telephony, many packaged products, banking, etc.
Selling by lowering the price is relatively easy. Selling by asserting the attributes of the company and its profitability is the challenge.
How many companies do we see that speak of record turnover?
Company X has invoiced 15% more in 2019, entrepreneur Y “how I doubled my turnover”, the launch of 1 million euros …
There is no doubt that billing more is positive, but how are the indicators of profitability, recurrence, recommendation …? And at the other extreme, what is the rate of customer cancellation, returns, complaints …? And how has the brand or your professional reputation been affected ?
The same thing happens in B2B. Winning customers is very easy if you drop the prices, but then you have to be profitable and give good service. You occupy your time with a client that is not profitable and you take time to attract other more profitable ones. You have a lot of work , but you don’t make money.
Short-term sales are an addiction
As much as all these arguments are logical, the problem is that the day to day drags us to short-term sales. The temptation to go with the flow of discounts and market inertia are so strong that we fall back into the same habits.
It’s how you try to change your habits and lead a healthier life. Eat better, exercise more, etc. they make all the sense. They are good for us. But after the purpose of the first of the year, we return to our old habits.
The same thing happens with sales. Defining a strategy, getting to know our customers better, strengthening the brand,… it all makes a lot of sense, but in the end we get back to itching and focus on short-term sales.
It is something very typical in B2B DE Phone Number, but also widely used in B2C. Fear is a very powerful argument that often marks our lives. In the face of a threat, our natural reaction is to protect ourselves.
A clear example is in the contracting of suppliers, especially in large companies.
On many occasions we see how consultants or agencies are hired more by name than by the proposal presented.
Obviously, if they have become one of the best in their sector, it is for something, and this provides confidence. But there is a very strong hidden motivation ( purchase insight ). If we hire the well-known company and this fails, we have the excuse prepared “I hired the best and they failed, I didn’t go.
In B2C it is more common in campaigns that try to raise awareness of something: anti drugs, traffic accidents, hacking, etc.3. Aspirations.
It is a very common resource in products or services that require significant personal involvement.
They are messages that tempt us with something we want to achieve and present it to us in a way that seems more accessible to us than they really are. For this reason, they tend to be more effective with those who have less discipline or are more insecure.
The typical example is that of the gyms at the beginning of the year. There are many who sign up, but few who continue after the first months.
In our industry, a clear example is infoproducts . As I said in my article, there are great professionals who do things very well and very honestly. But there is a large majority of people who oversell the product, who make you believe that things are easier than they really are and this generates a lot of disappointment among buyers and a bad reputation for the rest.
In my opinion, these extreme aspirational messages work better (at the level of conversion to sale), with those who have less discipline, but only succeed / work with those clients who were already prepared for it (they have the right motivation, the time is right, etc.).
. Social pressure.
It consists of using data about current customers of the product or service or influencers as a sales argument .
7 out of 10 dentists recommend toothpaste X.
More than X thousand / millions of people already use XYZ.
Ads featuring athletes or actors.
In B2B: “60% of your competition uses this product.”
These types of arguments generate confidence in undecided clients and, on the other hand, the feeling that you are missing something good.
5. Novelty or Innovation.
Supporting news is a way to attract the attention of our audience and position ourselves. It is something very positive, but its effect is limited in time and we have to take good care of the strategy that drives it to get the most out of it without turning against us.
Depending on what marks the lives of your future clients and / or industry, its positive effect for the company will be a novelty or a real innovation.
The lightest computer, the fastest car, the new X functionality,… etc. they are powerful calls to action, but they can be easily imitated.
If we do not handle this strategy well, and we constantly present news, these tend to lose strength and the products begin to be seen as undifferentiated.
I like the example Simon Sinek sets in his book on Colgate. About how in the 70s it started with two types of toothpaste and now has up to 36 variants (at least on Colgate.es. It even offers a filter to narrow the search results).
Of course this strategy works in the short term. If Colgate does it, is it because sales are up, but are they holding up? This constant product launch, does it contribute to loyalty or undifferentiation?
These techniques work, they get sales but not loyalty. And as we have seen, they have negative effects on the company. As the saying goes, they can be “bread for today and hunger for tomorrow.”
It is the message that I have tried to convey for many years and that I translate into ” Better than sales, get customers .” I think the title could not be clearer.
We have to sell, this is very clear. But there are better ways to do it.