People Centric Marketing, The Future Of Business Success
Marketing is a critical aspect in the establishment, profitability and expansion of any business initiative irrespective of the geography, race and religion of your targeted customers.
This is because marketing determines their perception about your products and services and the subsequent response thereof before they have a personal feel of what you have on offer.
However, unfortunately, some institutions end up virtually imposingtheir products and services on people instead of providing a solution that helps their clients to effectively respond to the prevailing opportunities and threats that they encounter from time to time.
This product centred approach in marketing isshort sighted, selfish and dangerous in a modern world where existing and potential clients are now more informed because of exposure to a wide range of information, thanks to media improvement and expansion.
In order to make this concept of marketing more understandable, there is a need to define and differentiate between marketing and selling as well as to explain what is meant by a sale.
Generally, marketing simply means to engage in activities that makes your products and services appealing to your targeted audience.
On the other hand, selling means offering or presenting products and services to the clients so that they can buy at their own convenience while a sale means the actual exchange that happens between the buyer and the seller after meeting the conditions of a transaction.
The above definitions helps us to see that in the long run, the customer's treatment and resultant feeling is more important than merely and simply clinching a sale that might be difficult to repeat on the next encounter as is often the case with a product centric approach.
Traditionally, marketing was premised on developing products and services and then engaging in a massive and repetitive awareness campaign in order make sure that the people will start to develop an interest as based on the media industry's cultivation theory.
Simply put, according to the cultivation theory, continued exposure to a certain piece of information makes the people to accept and adopt your message (advert) and its intentions.
On the contrary, because of the emergence, development and improvement in new and various modes of communication, people are now exposed to a variety of easily accessible and valuable information which helps them to make informed purchasing decisions.
As such, it is necessary to understand that these people buy your products and services in order to help them to adjust, adapt and to make progress in an ever-changing economic and socio-political terrain.
Generally, people need products and services that enhances their joy and self-worthiness as well as those products and services which eliminates their fears and discomfort in life.
Such people may grudgingly continue to buy your products and services out of desperation that results from lack of substitutes or competing products but such an approach is dangerous for business in the long run especially when these people discover other humane alternatives.
A people centric approach to marketing on the other hand helps to develop, maintain and promote the relevance of your institution as well as that of its products and services in the eyes of your clientele.
In today's world, a sustainable approach to marketing is that which seeks to critically analyse people's opportunities and threats as well as their values and aspirations and then designing a product or a service that is responsive to those scenarios with satisfaction as the focal point.
After that has been done, there is a need to maintain a continued engagement through dialogue with existing and potential customers in order to understand their highs and lows aswell as their fears and comforts.
This continued interaction and engagement with clients which is based on addressing their real concerns through your products and services makes your institution to be proactively adaptive and to be continuously relevant in this difficult to predict business climate.
Such a route is taken in order to determine whether to continue, improve or discontinue your offering before people start to get emotionally detached from your products and services.
This also helps you to be responsive to the needs and wants of the community rather than to remain obsessed with an approach whereby you firstly come up with products and services and then try by all means to make people develop an interest and a desire thereunto.
The unfortunate part of the product centred approach is that it generally causes you to come up with non-relevant products that calls for an expensive marketing campaign which makes your products and services to be expensive and thus affecting viabilityandthe rate of return.
People and institutions who design, create and distribute products and services in response to the community's needs and wants as well as to its opportunities and threats, do appropriately create a commercially viable bond with their clients which is difficult to break.
Such a bond is the basis of continued engagement and this continued engagement is the basis for expansion and profitability because clients are naturally prone to share their wonderful experiences and to showcase their achievements to their loved ones and those around them.
This approach greatly reduces marketing costs which generally have a bearing on the final price that the customer pays before experiencing the effects of the product or services on his or her own and thus transforming your clients into effective informal sales representatives.
In this regard, you need to bear in mind that marketing involves ensuring that people get to know and desire to experience your products while selling ensures that these customers get a memorable shopping experience.
As such, there must be a true and unbroken relationship between the message that you give out through the advert and the real shopping experience that you provide plus the actual effects that are derived from using that product or service.
The actual feeling or experience derived from consumption makes people to want more of your products, the shopping experience makes them to visit your premises again while the marketing experience (advert encounter) makes them to imagine and remember the first two.
Therefore, based on the above reasoning, let your products and services be a response to the people's opportunities and threats as well as to their values and aspirations since this makes them to develop a commercially profitable and viable bond with your institution.
(Adapted from the SME Handbook, written by Brian Kazungu)
Brian Kazungu is a Media Practitioner, Entrepreneur and an Opinion Leader.
+263 773 539 832, [email protected] , @BKazungu-Twitter