Customer Motivation

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Customers are motivated to purchase, but not for the same reasons.  To date, most explanations of customer motivation are based on cognitive factors rather than biological factors.  At the very basic level, it is easier to apply Maslow’s theory.

Some experts believe that application of Maslow’s theory has been somewhat simplistically explained in a commercial application, especially as the same product or activity can gratify different needs. Yet, individual purchasing considerations and motivation aren’t easy to understand.  Motivation can be a combination of learning experiences, buying history, and cultural environment.

In crafting products and services for the marketplace, managers should conduct research where targeted consumers are involved in order to formulate a well-balanced marketing-mix relative to the competition. Each customer has a need.

As you know, consumers are very complex. In fact, no two people are alike. Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, maintain that marketing research can limit the risks associated with management marketing strategies.

Let’s explore this matter. Doing focus groups on the targeted market to gather market information would be critical. For example, a new retirement development would want to follow this strategy.  Who would want to live there?

If the primary demographic was women and widows, then amenities would need to be in line with these demographics.  Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, further suggests that the specific way we choose to satisfy a need depends on our unique history, learning experiences, and cultural environment. Therefore, gathering information about prospective consumers is critical to the marketing mix. 

Please discuss customer motivation from your own professional experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Buyers’ Trust

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Too many businesses lose their focus. They are often consumed with their own quest for profitability at any cost.  Consequently, buyers become less trusting of these companies. 

In fact, countless businesses are making careless mistakes. Former Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Jim Burke explains, “You can’t have success without trust…You tell me any human relationship that works without trust, whether it’s a marriage or a friendship or a social interaction, in the long run, the same thing is the trust about business, especially businesses that deal with the public.” 

Most businesses underestimate the critical attribute of trust in profitability. Any value proposition will fail without TRUST.  Some organizations seek to clearly deceive customers in the short run to gain profitability. It’s a fatal mistake. 

Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that building trust is essential in fostering good relationships with customers.  In fact, one of the primary tasks of organizational leaders is to foster trust within and outside of the organization.  

Many businesses suffer because they don’t understand their customers and how to meet their needs. Therefore, the message is mixed!  In fact, the manner in which customers are treated have a bearing on their customer satisfaction.

Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, note that building a good relationship with channel members is a critical part of marketing communications. Understanding customers is critical. Therefore, businesses need to provide them the right message is vital.

Furthermore, numerous managers believe they can offer this concept without regard to their employees. Some treat employees poorly and expect them to showcase service with a smile. In this situation, trust is lost. Managers need to model the way in value creation. 

John Hamm, author of Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership argues that some managers have misunderstood leadership. They feel they can work fewer hours, give their work to others, and not respect employees due to their position or title. 

Yet, managers’ bad behaviors are not without consequences. Employees soon lose their trust in these managers to do the right things. Hamm explains, “When leaders compromise their own integrity, it takes that extra urge out of our bodies that says we’re willing to go the mile.  Therefore, trust as a competitive advantage cannot be underestimated by today’s businesses. 

Please discuss your professional experience with customers and their trust in buying.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Locking on the Value Proposition for Customers

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In my office, I hung a newspaper article prominently on my wall.  This 2010 article showcases the top 100 government officials in my area.  Surprisingly, the university basketball coach was the top official, at over $2 million.  Following suit was a short list of athletic coaches followed by highly noted professors and administrators.

This amazing list furthered stimulated my interest in determining the value of individual skill sets.  In some other areas of the country, region, or state, someone would probably determine that these same jobs did not warrant the same financial worth.  In fact, individuals within the same organization with the same title and similar professional backgrounds can be found making significant differences in salary.   Given these realities, it is easy to see that customer value propositions differ.

Today’s companies must become adapted at determining customer value. However, all customers are not the same.   In fact, globalization has created all types of problems for businesses.  One of the issues is how to stay ahead of the competition by exploring new markets while keeping the same customer base.  This action is not easy.

Many businesses build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (outsourcing labor, better technologies) to obtain greater profitability. Yet, the process is often pretty self-serving with little regard to the customer and lesser value on employees.

Therefore, many people might insist that some business simply stumble on what customer value actually is and how it affects their business.  For this discussion, value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product of service.

Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, state that the starting point for learning about relationship selling is to understand the customer. A value lesson is learning that the customer is the center point for creating value.

Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, suggest that the starting point in the buying process is the consumer’s recognition of an unsatisfied need. Therefore, the focus must go back to the customer for any sustainable business success.  They must be deliberate with their connections with customers and value.

Being strategic conscious about these business relationships is not simple.  Ken Favaro, author of Put Value Creation First, further maintains that putting value creation consistently first requires leadership skills, discipline, and perseverance.

He further challenges organizations to demand higher standards from managers who would jeopardize these business relationships. When organizations place value creation as a high priority, organizations will beat their competition.

Given the complexity of customer value, how do businesses stay connected with customers and their ever changing wants and needs?

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green