(Can marketers afford to take the customers for granted or should they find ways and means of enhancing customer value to thwart the threat from competition)
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
- Bill Gates
This quote prompts the power that could help a firm to achieve unrestricted success.
Indeed, Firms do need to value their customers, consumers and deliver products and/or services that are advantageous, user-friendly to them. Firm needs to strategically develop product/services features, align its rational benefits as well as emotional benefits as per the needs, taste and customer’s preferences. Firms strive to deliver this customer value at a profit.
Owing to vast rapid dynamic competitive markets, consumers have a wide varieties of options to choose the needed desired product amongst several other similar products. If after consuming it, he is not satisfied with the features offered by the product, he will easily switch to some other similar relative product without any restrictions and sometimes without even looking at the cost advantages that the old product had offered, if any. Brand loyalty and Brand Switch are just a thin line away from each other. Intense Proper care hence is needed and must be taken by Firms to sustain and expand customer loyalty.
Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
- Donald Porter
Thus Firms just need to align their product mix such as it favours, suits the customers well; if not it is the best product in the market.
Firms must hence understand consumer markets. It might be possible that firms may not need to market its products/services to all consumers. Proper Effective STPD strategies will help the firms divide the market into key market segments, analyse the segments and then target the segments which it can profitably serve best and create competitive customer value. The below quote helps us to understand this considerably.
Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Damon Richards
Subsequently, one of the very most important Principle and/or Element of Firm’s Marketing Mix is “Product” Strategies. This usually includes strategies involving analysis of product variety, quality, design, features, brand name, packaging, sizes and others. Firms need to research on their consumers and their markets to obtain competitive advantage using their products strategies.
Complexity of Products should be taken into consideration while working on effective and efficient marketing strategies of that product. The product should provide the best core customer value that defines the basic, indisputable need that consumers are looking for. The Actual Product Features consists of added to the core product Brand Name, Quality Performance, Packaging and key features/benefits that differentiates it from others. Associated Product Features involves providing key assistance in financing, warranty and support to the core product.
Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.
- Kevin Stirtz
Firms might need to add items and increase depth of their product mix to relate and address to changing customer preferences or to gain competitive advantage that would help it to increase profits and sales. Firms may also need to delete items and decrease the depth to minimise opportunity lost and eliminate unprofitable or low margin items and realign its capital and its resources. In worst scenarios, Firms might feel it necessary to remove a complete product line and decrease Product Mix Breadth to give complete focus on other profitable product lines, internal growth strategies priorities or to address the new challenging customer market needs. Corresponding, Firms might add a new product line and increase its breadth to boost sales and profits and tap new customer markets and diversify its portfolio to minimise potential risk and gain potential rewards and synergies.
Firms should strive to make strong brands and work to manage its value effectively through careful analysis, study and planning, a long term determination and commitment and unique value creating strategies. These strategies include working on brand positioning, brand marketing, brand performance and their cumulative efforts in creating and growing brand value.
Packaging Strategies implemented by Firms also does have an impact on customers. It attracts customer’s attention while allowing the product to stand out from those offered by its rivals or competitors. It acts as additional promotional tool and has appealing advantages. It also offers repositioning of their products at a minimum additional cost. With customers becoming environment intelligent, Firms have started working on designing the packaging strategies to make the product more ecological and this gains additional customer confidence and increases customer value.
Firms should work to obtain and achieve competitive advantage by implementing value-creating strategies, not simultaneously being implemented by any current competitor. These strategies need to be rare, valuable, and non-substitutable.
Developing a sustainable, competitive advantage with strong brand value requires customer loyalty, a great location, unique merchandise, proper distribution channels, good vendor relations, a reputation for customer service, and multiple sources of advantage.
The following quote makes this easy to grasp.
Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.
- Mark Cuban
Thus, it is necessary that Firms should and must strive for competitive advantage and work on developing and realigning its marketing strategies to enhance customer value.
Graphic Image – http://www.nccarm.com/about-NCC/value.php
- Marketing Management (14th Edition) By Philip Kotler
- Marketing (4th Ed) by Grewal Levy
- Quotes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2014/03/04/40-eye-opening-customer-service-quotes/
- Name: Sonraj Gaonkar
- Date of Submission: 27th November 2015
- Name & Address of College: MET Institute of Management, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra (West), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050
- Stream: MMS Finance
- Year of Study: SY [MMS Finance Second Year]
- Residential Address: 6,Mohini Mansion, Behind Anand Talkies, Kopri, Thane (East), Thane, Maharashtra 400603
- Age: 26
- Email ID: email@example.com
- Mobile No: +91 977 342 5024