I’m not talking about those reality TV programmes we love to hate, but customer perception. Because, love it or hate it, what customers perceive is the reality they live by.
Why does a customer buy this product or service when another one is better suited. It’s to do with their perception. Sometimes they might not be aware of other choices, sometimes the benefits that other products/services can offer might not be communicated well enough, sometimes it’ll be habit, lethargy, comfort, or sometimes it’ll be just plain irrational.
As marketers, the last reason is the most frustrating to us, whereas the other reasons can be more easily addressed. Changing people’s perceptions of your product/service is an exciting challenge. Here are some ideas on how to go about it:
- Talk to your staff and help them understand the journey you’re embarking on and why
- Understand why prospective customers prefer someone else’s product/service over yours – that’ll guide you on what actions to take
- If your product/service has benefit/s that are important to people buying competing products/services then you need to consider changing your communication to change perception
- Trial ways to shake customers out of their lethargic buying habits of buying your competitor’s product e.g. offer samples, demonstrations, review the communication channels you’re using, bundle up with other more popular products to get more uptake, find and work with key influencers e.g. store people, reviewers, writers, specifiers, tradespeople, celebs (who could just be well known people in your area)
- Lastly don’t put at risk your unique selling proposition, i.e. what makes your product different to your competitors – unless doing so is going to be a game changer.
Changing perceptions isn’t easy, and it can seem like swimming against the tide. That’s where your determination and passion for your product/service will be needed. Impart some of your passion for your product in ways that will change people’s reality.
Sometimes a legacy of poor performance, or superior performance from a competitor, will make the journey a long one. But be persistent and consistent to your objective of changing perception. It may take time but it will happen.
Go 2 Market principle: perceptions can be turned around. Work at it consciously and openly with your staff and others who can help.