The way marketing was done in the past, the whole focus was on being product-centric. Brand leaders would trumpet about their product features and benefits in-order to woo customers to get to buy the product. But, marketing has evolved. Today it can be termed as 'for the customer, by the customer and of the customer'. Simply put,
- Marketing is targeted to the end customers
- Marketing should focus on customers' preferences
- Marketing uses customer advocacy for trust
The customer is at the epicenter of marketing. However, when it comes to the goals, marketing is still focused purely on sales and conversions. From a customer's point of view, there is one very important question marketers often take for granted - what is the value of my marketing efforts? This one question has a two-fold implication:
- What is the value you are offering to your customers?
- What is the value your customers are deriving?
This is the crux of marketing and if the answers to these questions are the same, then your efforts are in the right direction and that will culminate to also achieving your business goals which are sales, sustenance, and success. Let's understand this better.
If you are marketing a particular or product/service, customers are not interested in what it is all about or what features/benefits it offers. They want to know what is the value they inherit when they possess or use that particular product or service. That value will determine:
- What need of the customer is fulfilled? (related to function, prestige, etc.)
- How it fulfills the need better than the competitor? (related to price, features,
benefits, durability, etc.)
- Will it adapt to the changing needs? (related to the situation, scalability, agility, etc.)
Moreover, the value is not solely attributed to the product/service but also to the brand as a whole including the processes, the people related to it. As mentioned before, if your brand and its offerings are providing that intended value, why will the customer not want to do business with you?
Marketers need to focus on the value they are offering to the customers constantly, and now more so on the situational aspect of the value, given these uncertain times.
Marketing should be value-focused. And this will only happen when businesses understand their customer's preferences and align them with their core competencies of their product/service offerings. This will eventually turn out to be a fool-proof combination that can help you carve a niche even in a market where there are many competitors.
For example, Nike is considered to be the no.1 sports brand in the world. Apart from its wide range of product line of business, the brand “Nike” is the biggest brands in the world owing to its excellent marketing and top of the mind brand recall. It has a revenue of USD 39.1 bn. Their marketing campaigns and communication as well as their products are customer-centric bringing out the value of their products to their customers and of the brand to the industry and the community.
And on a closing note, one of the most prominent value is having a relationship that is established positively and nurtured constantly. The value realized by a relationship cannot be overlooked as this has the ability to even convert missed opportunities in your favor.