Thursday, September 29, 2011

Benefits' marketing: You want my money, I want benefits.

It's an exchange: Money vs. benefits.
And I’m not trying to oversimplify things. Or at least, I don’t pretend to do so. In every transaction, there is an exchange of something, even in personal relationships.

If we focus on business relationships, it’s really simple: In exchange of your product, your customer gives you money.

But there’s more to it than that, and that’s where, on my opinion, you really have the best opportunities, or the only opportunities if we think about being immersed on a recessional environment.

What happens when all products are the same? When pricing differences are not significant, and product features are basically the same and all products fulfill your basic needs the same way?

I’ll explain myself a bit better: a sandwich wipes off your hunger, and any sandwich, for that matter, will do the same thing too. So, if two sandwiches are priced the same and have the same "amount of sandwich”, what makes the difference?

Unintentionally, you have come to a fascinating land: that of value added to your product. Yes! The difference between both sandwiches is going to be the service you are provided with, if you like how the sandwich looks on the plate, how the waitress services you, the store’s ambiance, if in addition to the sandwich you get some snacks to take while you wait, in a few words, the difference will be on what you, as the restaurant’ owner, are willing to do to make yourself different from the restaurant across the street. It’s what knowledgeable people refer to as “differentiation”: making yourself different from competitors, moving away from them!

¿How many times have you kept yourself from going into a store where you know you can find good prices, just because you don’t like the way you have been treated before? Or, on the other side, ¿how many times have you gone into a store knowing the prices are a bit higher than in other places but you know you are going to receive the best service every time?

It’s a very simple concept, if we want to look at it from the basics: Your company works because your customer pays for the product you offer. Your only tool is basically your product and your customer’s experience with it. That’s why you have to do your best to make your product unique to your customer when he compares it with your competitor’s. There you have the secret: you make yourself different because you offer customers benefits that no one else does.

And what’s on your customer’s side? Well, just think for a bit how you react when you become a customer for someone. What do you do? Do you buy just because the product is cheap? Or, you choose the one which offers you the best mix of benefits at a price you are willing to go for?

It’s an exchange relationship that must be beneficial for both sides: yours and your customer’s.

What about you? Do you put your energies on making your product different from those offered by your competitors? Do you offer added values so that your customers forget about others and trust only in your company?

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