Product, Pricing, Promotion and ?

What motivates our decisions when we shop?

A question that has become quite relevant in our complicated work lives. With more demand on our time, there are not enough productive hours to facilitate combing through the various data to inform decisions. At the executive level, leaders are facing even greater demands from shareholders and missed targets due to improper planning and execution, cannot be hidden by lame excuses. The focus of corporations has shifted to encompass how to retain and attract clients and customers. It is not just simply a matter of having cutting edge products on the market. There is a growing body of research that is suggesting that the after-purchase support services add desirable benefits to the company’s bottom line.

With so many companies embracing the culture of “likes”, a symbolic gesture on social media to suggest that a unit (person) is a fan, the aim is to ensure that the products and services offered, remain visible to the fickle public. But is a like indicative of how companies are perceived? Possibly not.  From educational facilities to supermarkets, government to the private sector, all are seeking to capitalize on the rich and diverse audience that offer new potential.  With a discerning public, armed with information about various products on the market, executives are faced with determining, what motivates the “digital age” customer to choose a particular product or service.

Take a look at the top performing products on the market today. What do they have in common?  One common feature is that the concepts remain the same but they are improved and designed to meet the demands of that savvy individual. The Ipad and the Samsung tablets for example, continue to appeal to different target markets. These products continue to do well, even in economically challenging times because the upgrades meet the needs of the customer. Another reason is that these companies recognize that valuing the customer by offering after care services, will preserve the relationship for future.

There are some products however that retain prestige without having its original features distorted with time. The Jeep is one such product that continues to capture the heart of the young and mature alike. The simplicity of its features are designed to provoke the free-spirited nature within many of us. With minute changes made to its exterior, the off-road vehicle can be equipped with the latest technology as a complement to the strong characteristics of the vehicle. What endears customers to this “unattractive” (in the modern context) vehicle? As one owner said, “when you own it, you know?”

Retrieved from Google Images, November 25, 2013

With the powerful tool called choice, customers are better equipped to identify those products that appeal to them. They are also able to provide rich data to marketing firms about their choices. Some years ago, I was told that there were three P’s in marketing. I am suggesting that the fourth P be considered as important as the other three – Product, Pricing, Promotion and People. People who are focused on the needs of their clients will continue to outpace those who are just about selling a product or service.

A sale is never complete until the customer is happy”.

Copyright Suzette Henry-Campbell 2013

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