It’s hard to sell products today. Many companies have the same products in their offer. The fight for a customer costs a lot and there’s not much possibility of lowering the price. That’s why the ability to evoke emotions in customers is key to good sales.
A bit of history
The classic marketing is based on marketing mix – a composition of 4P. The 4P formula describes four needs the product/service should satisfy.
Product – the thing the customer wants to buy
Price – consumers usually want the best quality for a lowest price
Place – distribution that allows many consumers to purchase the product,
Promotion – promotion understood as informing people about a new product.
This meant that those four elements were most important and decided the fate of a company or product.
Marketers who base their work in marketing had to focus on marketing communication, to propose a unique selling proposition. But times were simlper then, there wasn’t that much competition out there. It was enough to introduce your product – you’d always find a buyer.
Later competition got worse. That’s when marketers created a new tactic. Their products were the newest, the biggest, the best, the cheapest, only one, so innovative it’s unheard of, etc.
Why doesn’t unique selling proposition work as well as it used to?
Because things have changed since it was created. First of all it turned out that globalization and the fact markets were flooded with generic products made differentiation ineffective from the point of view of marketing. Working based on unique selling points was a great thing when the market wasn’t full to the brim.
Is functionality enough to give us an advantage over competition?
Above all you have to remember that somewhere out there is a person building a copy of our magical solution that will be cheaper, better distributed and that will have an emotional ad. All that will mean it will sell better.
That means we live in times where accessibility and functionality doesn’t defend our product/service from failing in the long run. Not a week goes by without there being at least one story on how competition copied a solution and got better results. And that functionality was what the original company wanted to use to gain an advantage on the market. It was supposed to be a safe heaven for their business. It didn’t happen, because someone else is taking over.
In practice it means that competing only based on the accessibility and functionality of a product is hard and leads to a situation when company has to lower the price constantly, because there will always be someone who does what you do, but cheaper.
So how to safeguard my business model from being copied?
It used to be enough to patent your products. But it didn’t solve the problem because there are places in the world that don’t care about such things. And because of what the place is they are able to create what you do faster, cheaper and sometimes better.
We’ve all heard at least one story of a spectacular lawsuit winners, for example Apple vs Samsung. But it doesn’t change the facts – if something got created it can be copied and sold cheaper. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a smartphone, software or a service.
Only a long-lasting and strong emotional bond gives you a chance on the market.
For example, Elon Musk claims that filing for a patent doesn’t make sense in the modern world. He lets people use the Tesla technologies for free.
I don’t think it’s just being a philanthropist. I suspect Musk knows that he won’t be able to safeguard his company from people stealing his things. It will just happen later, but they will take his cars apart to the last screw and bolt to find out how it works.
What can you do?
First of all you should think about your consumer. How does his mind work? Is he able to see the pros of your solutions?
Is there a way to communicate with your customer in a form that isn’t based on the technical advantages of the product but in emotions that make them need your products? Yes, you’re reading it correctly: need not want.
Wants are easy to satisfy. Physical limitations mean there’s only so much food you can put in your stomach or clothes on your skin.
Needs are a bottomless pit. The more you touch upon them, the more they grow and the more people are ready to pay to satisfy them. You must have heard about people who encrust their iPhones with diamonds or paint a car in real gold.
Emotional Selling Proposition – move your customer
Reaching needs is what makes it possible for brands to sell products. If you design your Emotional Selling Proposition well, the recipient will feel like he is important, and a valuable member of a unique group of people. Satisfied, remembered, attractive, safe, accepted and trendy.
- An Emotional Selling Proposition needs to be consistent with the context of an ad. A catchy phrase enough is not enough, it needs to be supported with a good visual creation.
- An Emotional Selling Proposition can only be effective if it gives consumers a reason to believe in it. To be effective, a message needs to be believable.
A well placed reason to believe is a key factor in good advertising.
Why do we need Emotional Selling Proposition?
Because people don’t buy products, they buy feelings.
We can be angry at that statement, or irritated by it, but we can also use that knowledge and make it work for our company.
Another important thing to remember is the fact that the market is overflowing with the same products you want to sell. You need to be able to make sure your customers are attached to you, so they will buy your products. And the only way to do it is through emotions. If they feel some good emotions towards your brand they will most likely choose your products over others, even if other products are cheaper. It happens because people don’t make decisions rationally – they make decisions emotionally. There’s many studies that prove it.
The best brands in the world don’t compete by creating better products – they compete through evoking emotions and tying people to them with an invisible string.