Adnalysis: Nobody should buy our brands (we don’t deserve the sale)
by Bogosi Motshegwa (@Thinkerneur) In marketing, advertising and brand-building, it’s surprising how we go about as if we deserve for people to buy from us. We set ambitious targets and goals; we fight over market share; and, in claiming that we know or understand the people who we are talking to, we want to ‘own’ their hearts and wallets. All we talk about is what we want to achieve, as if it’s our birthright to have people buy our products or services.
We selfishly want
What we want collectively gets even more fragmented when in a room full of specialists, as everyone has their own agenda. The marketing team is concerned with the health of the brand and marketing spend; the sales team puts pressure on the marketing team to spend less but expects it to help it gain exponential sales figures. The media people want more money to spread across channels; digital want a share for the online advertising. The creative teams sometimes want to really add value by producing great work but, sometimes, they just want to win awards.
Whatever the case may be, we somehow have it fixed in our minds that we will achieve the set goals, giving almost little-to-no thought about the people we expect to pay for those products or services.
It starts with this one conviction
Out of the hundreds of briefs I’ve worked on, every client believes that their brand is the best. I’m yet to meet a client or come across a brief that says, “Our product is average, please help us? We are desperate.” No. All clients have the best product or service on offer (sometimes this is true). Points of parity get elevated to strong USPs. It’s unbelievable. Embarrassing, almost.
This permeates, sometimes unconsciously, and makes us (both clients and agencies) believe that people deserve to buy whatever product or service we are offering. This is critical to understand as it’s this exact reason that we take customers and prospects for granted. Even though brands may not necessarily feel this way, they certainly do act as if people are lucky to visit their store, website and or events.
We’re lucky to even be considered
It’s this pseudo-entitlement that I think leads to the lack of appreciation of customers. This is reflected in the very mediocre customer service that exists across industries in South Africa. But’s that another story. The point is, if we really think about it, whatever we are selling, nobody has to buy it. If we use that as our lens, it should give us a different perspective on our customer service strategies.
So, we should consider ourselves lucky and privileged. With everything that we can think of being ubiquitous, people giving our brand and/or product our attention is nothing to be taken for granted.
Loyalty is royalty — this is how we as marketers, agencies and brands should think of customers, consumers and prospects: as royalty. If we literally treated people as royalty, our approach to how we deal with them would be enhanced.
Customers spend more than their money when they buy from us
It’s not just their money that people spend when they transact with us. The other costs include time and effort. These don’t have a price attached to them; they’re not tangible; therefore, we don’t account for them.
Even when we host free events, people not having to pay to attend doesn’t mean that they aren’t sacrificing something. By attending, they’ve chosen our event over friends, family, time to relax etc. This is significant.
Companies should respect people (customers, consumers and shoppers)
When we realise how much people sacrifice to get to our stores, our websites, to consume our marketing material, be at our events, and eventually buy from us, we will then realise that people give more than they take.
We may be thinking: “Why should brands be grateful for providing a service or product that serves people’s needs and satisfies their wants? They get something conveniently and we get paid for it.”
Yes, they could have chosen anybody — but they chose us. That alone should be enough for us to really put effort into creating exceptional customer service experiences and to really show appreciation.
I call that respect and humility. Nobody needs to buy from us, so be grateful. And this gratitude may be expressed through great customer service.
Bogosi Motshegwa (@Thinkerneur) truly believes that advertising can really change the world. Every single day he tries to prove this. He shares his thoughts on the industry and sometimes has unconventional views. Bogosi is the co-founder of Melanoid Éclat (for finding black entrepreneurs), a committee member of AMASA, an Advisory Council member and guest speaker at Vega, and also does speaker management at TEDxJohannesburg. He is currently a strategic planner at The Creative Counsel. He contributes the new monthly column, “Adnalysis”, which analyses adland from a strategist’s viewpoint, to MarkLives.com.