In marketing, the notion of perceived value corresponds to the general impression of consumers with regard to a good or service. It is this completely subjective perception that very often conditions the success or failure of a product. Faced with this kind of thinking system where intrinsic values are more valued than technical specifications or price, inbound marketing appears as an ideal solution for businesses.
The idea to write this article came to me spontaneously after watching a TED Talk entitled ” life story of an Ad man And presented by Rory Sutherland, PR at Ogilvy.
In this humorous lecture full of tasty anecdotes, Rory Sutherland brilliantly demonstrates how purely subjective the intrinsic value of the goods and services we consume every day. All that matters is the way in which we perceive those around us, regardless of their real value: how many people will prefer to drive a Fiat 500 rather than a Renault Laguna, even knowing that the latter is more expensive?
From a marketing point of view, this principle is very interesting because it implies thatIt is possible to add value to a product or service not by making it better than that of its competitor, but by changing the perception that the consumer has of it.
To illustrate his point, Rory Sutherland takes the example of the marketing campaign launched a few years ago to promote shreddies, square whole wheat cereals marketed in Canada, New Zealand and England. The aim of this campaign was to reintroduce these almost 70-year-old cereals as a market leader without changing their taste, shape or size, since previous studies had shown that they were generally very appreciated by consumers.
How then to promote an old-fashioned product for which there is nothing new to say? The advertisers in charge of the Shreddies campaign have found the solution: Simply change the way cereals are usually perceived and present them as a whole new product. This is how they decided to rotate the Shreddie usually presented on the packaging by 45 degrees so that it is now placed on its tip … and to promote their brand new product, the ” Diamond shreddies “!
This ingenious marketing campaign not only won numerous awards for the originality of the strategy, but it also profoundly changed the perception of consumers, who, knowing that the product had not changed, found the Diamond shreddies crispier and tastier than the original!
Watch Rory Sutherland’s TED Talk here: “Life story of an Ad man”
This example perfectly illustrates the fact that, more than the real value, it is the perceived value that will make the difference in the mind of the consumer. Why then limit oneself to wanting to market the best, most innovative or strongest products if they are not valued at their fair value? There is of course matter to debate, but in any case, one thing is certain: it is simpler and more economical for a company to try to improve the perception that one has of its products and services rather than actually improving them. Therefore, before embarking on a long and expensive overhaul of their offer, companies would rather be interested in asking the following question:
\” How can I change the perception that consumers have of my products and services without changing them? ”
The answer is quite simple: by persuasion. In a digital environment in which the user is heavily involved, it is now more effective for a company to try to persuade them with quality information rather than with intrusive advertising messages.
From this perspective, inbound marketing is certainly the best alternative. As a methodology based on value marketing and persuasion, it advocates above all a certain ethic that is respectful and attentive to the consumer. Far from outright promotion, the company that has adopted inbound marketing wants above all to make itself useful to its customers by providing them, more than a product, above all a solution. It is this move against traditional practices that increases the value of the business perceived in the eyes of the consumer.
If you want to optimize your perceived value with your target audience, know that among the arsenal of tools for inbound marketing there are three great ways to achieve your goals:
1) Social media
One of the most common mistakes that companies make with social media is to simply use it to spread their marketing messages. Use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus instead as a tool for engagement: be useful and listen to your audience. Give them what they want from you and answer their questions. And above all, try to personalize your message: people like to know that behind the brand, there is a real person talking to them. Social networks have the particularity of giving symbolic value to banal small daily activities through the sharing of information, and it is this particularity that changes the perception of people in relation to a business.
2) Content Marketing
Creating great content for your current and potential customers is a great way to assert yourself as an expert in your field of expertise and to associate your brand with your niche. Put yourself in the shoes of your readership and think about any questions they may have about you and your industry. Then use blog posts, Ebooks, or Slideshare presentations to answer these questions. By positioning yourself as a valuable source of information, you will be the one to whom consumers will turn when needed and, possibly, to buy your products or services.
Marketing is nothing but telling stories. And sometimes, behind a brand or a product hides a very beautiful story. If this is your case, consider sharing it around you! Storytelling gives meaning to what you do, it explains why you do what you do and how you got there. By anchoring your company in its specific context, you create a special bond with your consumers. If this approach is perceived as transparent and sincere, it will bring you real added value that will give you a definite advantage over your competitors.
If we look back ten years, we can see how much marketing has changed. The practices that worked at the time have become obsolete and ineffective. In the era of marketing 3.0, it is essential to bring to the consumer more than a simple product or service, it must be given meaning. This is why inbound marketing, which is based above all on the creation of added value, stands out today more than ever as the future of traditional marketing.