The advent of social media and the rise of digital technology has meant a constant bombardment of advertising, salespeople, and offers for the average consumer. As the avenues for marketing increase, so do consumers' wariness about being deceived and taken
advantage of by brands seeking profit. Consumers’ enjoyment of purchasing, however, has not changed. The enjoyment gained from purchasing may have even increased with the current ease of shopping allowed by modern technology and globalisation. So why the aversion by members of the buying public to being sold to if they want to buy? The explanation is simple when considering what consumers want to get out of their purchasing experience.
As discussed in a previous blog post, consumers become invested in a brand for the singular reason that it adds value to their life. The purchase of products and services is meant to remedy either a lack of efficiency or a lack of enjoyment. At the core of consumer motivation is the search for a meaningful or beneficial purchase but when someone feels like they are being sold to, the focal point becomes the business’ gaining of profit. An obvious ploy to obtain a sale says to the consumer that you don’t care about how the product can improve their life and your only focus is obtaining a sale. This is where the concern for being exploited for profit arises in a consumer and without realising it, you’ve lost a potential customer.
Even while actively participating in consumer culture, the buying public is hyper-aware of the combination of misrepresentation and highly persuasive speech seen in infamous marketing ploys and large-scale financial scams. What you don’t want is for your marketing efforts to be reminiscent of this to the consumer. So how do you avoid this marketing mistake? By understanding the needs of the buyer. We’ve already mentioned the need for a meaningful and beneficial purchase but what we haven’t touched on yet is the need for control and the power to choose. What businesses rob consumers of when they use language and tactics that are not customer-centred, meaning centred on the consumers’ needs, is that feeling of having the power to choose. The power to make an informed and advantageous choice is what protects consumers from not being persuaded into making bad decisions or being exploited while purchasing.
How do you let consumers know that they are in control when engaging with your business? Build trust, be transparent, and be informative in your marketing and with your brand’s presence. Marketing requires strategy and long-range plans so building trust is something that takes time and comes with establishing your brand. The best way to build trust is by humanising your brand and this can be achieved with social selling and content marketing. Social selling occurs when brands utilise their social media for meaningful engagement with their consumer base. Content marketing, which in many cases can be regarded as a facet of social selling, is when businesses put out helpful, engaging, or entertaining content in an effort to attract new customers or improve the quality of existing patrons' experience with their brand. Content marketing may make use of the forms of videos, infographics, or the highly recommended blogging format to connect to people.
Being transparent is an agreement to honour your customers by being honest about what your products and services can do for them. Misrepresenting your business to appear more appealing or hiding important information from your consumer base is unethical and the quickest way to lose their trust and dissuade potential customers. People appreciate honesty because it allows them to make an informed decision thus giving them control. Transparency also goes hand-in-hand with being informative. Let consumers know not just what your products and services are but the many ways they can improve their lives. Speak to the real-life situations of the consumer by connecting what your business can provide with active situations and circumstances in their life. Solution selling is one great way to do this. Identify consumers’ problems and let them know that your business has the solution that is right for them. Another way to do this is by showing consumers that your business is not just providing them with a thing but that your products and services can provide them with an experience.
The important thing for business owners to keep in mind when deciding how their brand interacts with the buying public is to make sure that engagements with consumers are meaningful and impactful. Don’t let your marketing make you drown in the sea full of advertisements that barrage consumers every waking second. Stand out by humanising your brand, being transparent, and highlighting the value of your products and services so that consumers get more than just a superficial experience with your business.