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Communicating the value: from needs to intention to buy

Before we start, let’s do a small mental exercise. A simple one and an easy one.

  • Think about the product category that you buy the most ?
  • Now think about the topmost brand in that product category ?
  • Does the brand name, the slogan and the complete advertisement flashed in your memory in the last 10 seconds?

If the answer is yes to the final query, then the brand you own is the brand you know. The intention to buy for those brands is so high, that you have invariably made those brands not only a product brand but a category brand: for you, the brand in itself is the category of product you want. Think about maggi, xerox and coca cola, and you would understand what we are talking about.

Just to make it simple to understand, while there are commonalities across these brands and their approach, there is no direct secret sauce to get to this level. Every brand is special and they have been successful because they have been able to position themselves very deep in the mind of their consumer to trigger long term intention to buy by focussing on direct and indirect needs of the consumers.

The clutter and the communication

In the current marketing universe, clutter is the first thing which gets noticed. It’s a blind-sided customer, we all are targeting in one consumer segment. It has nothing to do with the objectives and motivation of the customer but the sheer volume of competition and clutter of advertisements, which is there in the digital ecosystem.

The amount of content that users are consuming , generating and expecting in this digital era, have made it very important for brands to create a pull effect towards the brand rather than a general push effect in the same cluttered ecosystem.

The system has the brand’s work cut out: as there are only two major influencing factors for marketing success for brands: intention to buy from the consumer and the sustainable core proposition of the product/offerings.

Before we get any way close to discussing the above two pointers ; let us try to deep drive first into understanding the most important aspect of the consumer decision making cycle; the actual needs and wants of the consumer.

As these are the precursor of demand for any product, a marketer needs to understand the science behind these needs and wants and how they could be smartly influenced by constructing smart marketing and communication strategy targeting the right needs and wants of your target customers.

Why understanding this needs and wants are so important.

Let’s do some reverse engineering to the complete process of the consumer’s intention to buy: how this intention is built. Our intentions are built around our anchored perceptions for the offerings. These are further influenced by our attitude (build around our values and beliefs), our motivation and  our personality.

If we look at these elements, factors which are the biggest influencers would be our peer group and family, our culture and our self concepts -what we think we need and want about ourselves and what others would think we need and want for us.

This establishes the premise that there is a direct correlation between the intention to buy and the direct or indirect needs and wants of the consumers. All these needs and wants are not only influenced by product attributes but also by emotional attributes smartly constructed by the marketers as a part of their communication strategy.

While we are going to discuss the needs and wants from both the fundamentals and applications perspectives; it is imperative to underline the fact that the customer does not have a very clear understanding of their actual needs and wants from a product or service segment.

The needs , the wants and the demands

The Needs: While there are multiple definitions of need both from the marketing and economic view-point, we would limit our discussions to marketing definitions and practically refer to psychological motivations and needs as defined by Alfred Maslow. Starting point of marketing is human needs, which is a combination of deficiency needs and self actualization needs for an individual.They create a sense of psychological motivation that influence their major life and consumer decisions, which are mostly directed to meet the unmet needs for the individual.

Different people have different needs some of them are as follows

  • physical needs- Food, cloth, house, safety etc.
  • personal needs- self expression, discuss feelings etc.
  • Social needs- love, affection etc.
  • Ego needs: status, recognition and self-esteem

We would discuss in detail about Maslow’s Need hierarchy and associated marketing implications in our future blogs.

The Wants:  Wants are requests directed to specific types of items. Wants are desires for specific satisfier of need. Wants are a form of needs and which are greatly dependent on the human needs. Wants are unlimited and Customers want high value and satisfaction for money.

The Demands: Demands are requests for specific products that the buyer is willing to and able to pay for. Demands are wants backed by ability and willingness to buy. Specific products have the ability to satisfy specific wants.

Just to cite a very basic example, when you are thirsty, your state of thirst is a physiological need and a state of deprivation that may lead to significant weakness or dehydration if the need is not fulfilled. ( not to mention, you may die in case of total deprivation of this need for a prolonged period).

In case of this physiological need, you may want to quench the thirst and for that you have multiple options. You may go for cold water, a cold drink or any other beverages. Your want for these specific item categories depend on the severity of the need and the availability of the options.

Let us say you are pretty clear in your mind that you need a cold beverage then you would have multiple options of brands which may satisfy your want for a cold beverage. Now the decision of going ahead with a specific brand or product is prominently dependent on your motivation, ability and opportunity at that specific time and situation. We would discuss these parameters of consumer behavior elements later in our future blogs.

The needs met or unmet: psychology behind unmet needs

Met needs aren’t that big of a deal,  unmet needs definitely are. They cause us stress. We worry about them. We feel anxious. We just don’t feel comfortable having these unmet needs in our life.

Unmet needs are great for your marketing, and you can use them to your advantage. In fact, you should use them to your advantage.when you have a good solution to what people lack, addressing people’s fears, anxieties and worries can help both you and your prospect get exactly what they need. You get a sale; they get peace of mind.

Customer satisfaction for the demands

Once the demand for a product has been met by a brand, Customer satisfaction after buying the products ensures long term customer retention and loyalty for that brand. If the demand has been fulfilled by a product or offering limited by ability and opportunity of the customer ( mostly in the form of affordability and investment with respect to time), the customer’s dissonance is limited as expected.

In the case when the demand has been met by significant investment both in time and money, customer dissonance would be pretty high immediately after the product is bought, as the customer would want to assure its value ( benefits against investment done) as soon as possible and perceived quality of the product or offering would decrease there dissonance over a period of time and lead the consumer towards a well established brand loyalty.

Things to keep in mind

While we have discussed in brief about the needs and wants of the consumer, it is very important to understand the real psychological motivation around the needs and wants of the consumers. The same could be understood in detail by learning about the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and associated marketing implications of the concept. Communicating to the right needs of the right segments is very important to derive utmost value from your marketing campaigns. Marketing pillared around creative and psychological constructs create long term sustainable core propositions: something which is very important for a profound intention to buy and long term retention.

Fair playing ground for effective reach

The most beautiful thing about social media is that it provides a fair playing ground for everybody. If you are in an industry where there is no significant digital acceptance, then, in that case, it is completely up to you, how do you want to work on this digital landscape and create an identification of your own. If you are working in an industry where significant offline and online acceptance has been created and leveraged well by the existing brands, then in that scenario, your entry is not limited by their first-mover advantage, especially in the digital landscape.

Ofcourse , it takes time to create digital assets and there is a value of time for these digital assets as well but at the same time, your entry gets the leverage of the active user base familiarity with the industry; especially if you are entering an ecommerce industry and do try to leverage presence on prominent marketplaces.

If we talk about the passive user base, especially the ones on various social media platforms, the outcomes get reflected in the profoundness of the targeting and the value you indicate to the target audience. If you know your audience, if you reach out to them and they like your offering,  even the presence of legacy brands and their experience in the ecosystem does not limit the performance of your brand.

If you are not sure about your current industry user base behavior, you may consult digital marketing companies in Gurgaon, who would help you with the right advice on consumer behavior and their buying pattern in your industry.

Easy coverage for the complete sales funnel

One of the most endearing facts about digital marketing channels is that here you know your customer and its customer behavior. For effective and efficient marketing, it is very important for us to understand what is the current phase of the customer on the sales funnel. Is it in the awareness phase? Is he/she considering some options and evaluating them? have they already shortlisted a few options and are comparing them? or whether they have already chosen a brand and now looking for quality and price efficient vendors for the same?

Knowing the current phase of the customer on the sales funnel would allow us to target them differently with different value propositions so that they could move easily in the sales funnel. While a holistic strategy to use different digital channels to target different phases could be created, the most ideal strategy is to create a sales funnel strategy separately for each channel; remarketing and automation really helps to achieve the objective at hand. Your digital footprints, especially your social media channels, your websites and your affiliate presence, should have tools to track the customer journey. Once you are able to track the customer journey, you would be able to retarget your audience with custom communications and offers that would help to maximize your marketing outcomes.

Automation and remarketing not only ensures that your lead conversion and engagement rates are increased but also helps in creating brand resonance and stronger brand meaning for your company. You need to reach out to social media marketing companies in Gurgaon, who have expertise in building these strategies especially related to automation and remarketing in your industry. Personal Marketing and Remarketing in multiple industries are limited as per social media platforms guidelines. You need to have a clear understanding of these guidelines before starting to invest time and money on both.

Going global: International, national and local spread with digital

Would it not be fantastic, if our scale up story does not follow a traditional route. With retail and offline marketing , geographical scale up is limited by the ability to invest into infrastructure which is mandatory to scale up operations in multiple geographies. Not only this, the risk is not only financial; a significant amount of research time and resources is needed to test a new market for your brand offerings.

With digital, going global is no longer impossible, even for a new brand in the market. While the outreach is not limited by geography barriers , the specificity of the target audience at interests level and demographic level, make the complete marketing very cost effective. With the growth of third party logistics, your customers have come very close to you.

While the geographical boundaries are shrinking, it does not mean that digital marketing is not effective in the local markets. Digital marketing for the local businesses is one of the most sought after digital marketing services, as the competition is becoming more fierce in a localized market. Whether you want to make a business model hyperlocal or you want to leverage economies of scale, digital marketing companies in Gurgaon through their multiple channels and strategies make it possible for you.

The need to beat the competitor

The biggest objective for any business is to stay ahead in the game in comparison to your competitors. While as a business, you need to work internally to ensure a competitive offering and alluring USPs, it is very important to communicate the sustainable core proposition to the masses across multiple channels. Every business is looking for new channels to market their business and if your competitor is already leveraging the digital channels, it’s time for you to be present in the digital arena to represent a strong digital branding.

Again , if we look at it from the utility perspective, different personas in the digital space, choose a brand in an industry only for its specific attributes and value propositions. We may target different user personas with different communications powered through different value propositions and stand a chance to be chosen way ahead of our competitors.

Working on the Customer Lifetime Value

Now we are going to discuss the most important point for any business: The ability to evoke customer loyalty into your current base of customers. This loyalty is measured through two major KPIs for a business, retention number and customer lifetime value. While retention refers to returning buyers, Customer lifetime value refers to the buying frequency and the customer basket value of different customer personas. Every business should focus on maximizing outcomes on both these important KPIs to grow their business profitability.

Not only your current customers become your retained users but they also become the centre of business referral and word of mouth, which over a period of time becomes the most important source of business for any business across the globe. Digital comes across as one of the most powerful channels to evoke customer loyalty in your current customers. With targeted and automated notifications through different channels, we ensure repeat buy or subscription with our customers.

A loyalty program could be completed automated depending upon their last interaction with the brand on social media or digital assets. Newsletter, offers updates and customer relationship management automation ensures a periodic connection with the customer and helps in optimizing their interactions with the brand both directly or through referrals. Wallets and referral benefits also induce periodic usage of the facilities of the brands.

A smart customer relationship management plan really creates a powerful ecosystem to ensure ever-improving profitability from the same pool of retained customers. Special focus on customer relationship management and loyalty programs should be provided and regular monitoring of customer lifetime value and retained users to be done. This comes across as a very specialized skill and some of the prominent digital marketing agencies in Gurgaon would be able to support you with a strategy.

Take Away

In this article, we have covered all the major reasons why a business should use digital as a new and potent channel for marketing. Not only it provides you a new business channel but helps build strong branding and outreach in the local, national and international markets. It helps you stand out with regards to your competitors and create a customer lifetime value like never before. The story that your brand tells in the digital arena resonates strongly amongst your target customers and makes the business outreach easier and effective for you.

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