I have been using the same brand of margarine since I realized the place of margarine in my life. The brand that I use is neither the most affordable brand in the market nor is it the best quality because I have no evidence to support their claim. I also wouldn’t know because I have remained loyal to the one brand. I only use it because it was the first brand of Margarine I had contact with, and I developed a connection to the brand even though there is a high possibility I would have shown the same level of loyalty to another brand had I never learnt of the one that I use.
I am constantly seeing advertising messages of competing margarine on various media, and I even look forward to re-watching some of them because they are interesting. However, this has never once changed my shopping preference for the brand that I use even when the others are dangling their offers before me. If you take an honest moment to evaluate your shopping habits, you are likely to identify a few items that you have been buying loyally despite your constant contact and exposure to advertising messages on competing products.
Market-driven Cult Following
It is no secret that companies such as Apple enjoy a cult following and it cannot be argued that their products get the most visibility as a result of marketing. In fact, their prices actually have a huge margin when compared to their competitors but this does not stop consumers from being part of long queues or camping overnight just to get that new gadget in lieu of their existing gadgets. This continues to happen at the launch of every new product even though often times the new product only has slight alterations. This can be explained in the marketing of their products. They don’t just seek to get visibility but they have an emotional appeal to their targeted audience. They have a keen concern on their product outcomes and how they fit into their users’ everyday lives making them a must have product. They also avoid getting pulled into constantly talking about the specifications, attributes and features in a highly technical manner and instead package the information in a simple way that captivates the attention of the targeted consumer. This is a major reason as to why their competitors fail to enjoy the same cult following. Apple understands that it is not about the eyeballs that see your product, it is about the emotions your product evokes.
Marketers should open their eyes to the various elements that go into influencing a consumer’s preferences. While the goal is to get as many eyeballs to focus on your marketing message in an effort to influence their purchase decisions, there is the need for a hook that drives the targeted consumers’ actions after exposure to all your marketing efforts. The pertinent question of what makes your customer buy a product or pay for a service should always be on your mind. It is the in-depth understanding of your customers that will have them queueing to get your product or service. Loyalty to your brand only comes from having meaningful relationships with your customers. For marketers, this should be an eye opener into the existence of various elements that affect purchase decisions and relationships between brands and their customers.
The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in a report titled from promotion to emotion found out that brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see twice the impact of those trying to sell business or functional value.
The Take Away
Effective marketing goes beyond bringing forth a proposition about a product or service because customers have come to expect that you will try and convince them that you are the best, you have a new and improved formula and all other things that are slowly getting to sound like a broken record on replay. Marketing needs to feel personal, it should understand the customer’s personal goals and emotions in order to effectively appeal to them. All marketing efforts should have personal value by tapping into the elements that build up your customer’s world. The emotional hook is the foundation of loyalty. Much like my profound loyalty to my margarine, which has become an integral part of my life; brands need to effectively connect to their customers, especially now that social platforms are on the increase.
Is there a solution?
We are living in a time when we are all connected online on one platform or another and this makes it easy to capture or lose your customers. Wouldn’t it be easy if social platforms were combined with online commerce platform? Wait! They actually exist, there are revolutionary platforms such as Trots, a hybrid platform that combines the elements of social networks and mobile commerce. Once your business gets on such a platform, you can get the best opportunity to start building relationships with your customers. It is no longer about how many eyeballs you get to focus on your marketing messages, it is about the connection that you form with your customers.
Edwin Kuria is a Mass Communication graduate with double majors in Broadcast Journalism and Advertising. He has been a writer and producer on websites that deal with Technology and Lifestyle topics.