The Customer Loves Me, The Customer Loves Me Not, The…

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The emotional benefits that your product/service provides to customers determine buying behavior. If your product does not pull at your customers heart strings, regardless of the economic or functional benefits, you will fail to convert them into paying customers. This will happen 100 times out of 100.

Services or products provide an Economic, Functional or Emotional benefit to customers. What is oft overlooked is the fact that the economic and the functional also have to trigger emotional reactions before you can sell said product or service.

Economic benefits: your product/Service must either cost the customer less than the next viable alternative (groceries from Jewel & Osco compared to Whole Foods) or cost more than the alternatives (thereby providing a personal feeling or a perception of quality). The economic benefit triggers an emotional reaction. It’s the only reason why we sometimes pay more for a product when we know we can get a product with similar functionality for less (Can you say Mac Air?).

Functional benefits: your product has to work well, be cutting edge, be reliable etc. Essentially it must do what you say it does. And it must do it well. But what does it mean to ‘do it well’? It’s all about the customer’s context and what ‘well’ means. The Galaxy Tab might be a better tablet than the IPad but more people ‘feel’ that the IPad is a better machine (and my statement on which of the two is better is totally my own ‘emotion’). Your product must do what it says on the package but customers must agree with you. You must deliver quality service but the measure of the quality of your service is totally the customers’.

Emotional benefits: The daddy of the three pronged benefits any company can provide to its customers. Despite being the most important, emotional benefits are the hardest to measure. You can determine your price in relation to your competitors and measure how many features your product has compared to the competing products. But you cannot predict how customers will feel about your product. The best market research methods will enable you project how customers will feel about your product. 100 times out of 100 those predictions will be wrong.

You have to deliver on all three benefits to the best of your ability. But you have to make sure you listen to the customer to get as close as possible to delivering a product or service that they will ‘feel’ good about. Does the customer like your product, or trust your brand? Does the customer identify with your message or like your company? I don’t know much but one thing I know is that you won’t be selling much if customers have no emotional response to what you’re selling..

Thoughts? Disagreements?

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