A recent Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of 1,000 online consumers found the No. 1 thing they want is discounts on products or services. 65 percent of respondents asked for coupons, outranking better customer service, games and entertainment, or news. At first glance this seems depressing for marketers who try to decommoditize their service by focusing on brand aspects, aspirational values, or service quality offerings … so let’s explore.
1. Absent a relationship, price matters. Most consumers don’t have relationships with most brands; think about the brands you care deeply about, and you’ll likely stop at a handful. So any online marketing contact is likely to be superficial, akin to a first date, and of course to get customers to flirt with you, you may have to make an attractive offer. Price framing, in which you set a reference price and then discount sharply beneath it to convey value, is one way to help consumers new to your service judge whether you offer good value.
2. Immersed in clutter, offers matter. Online marketing touchpoints are wildly littered with banner ads, video, Google search results … creating a commoditized communications space. A typical U.S. consumer changes his or her web viewing window 17 times an hour, thus being exposed to thousands of marketing cries each day. No one can possibly digest this many messages, so consumers may expect an offer in exchange for their limited attention.
3. Online touchpoints are just the beginning of a customer relationship. Customers who evolve into loyal fans, every marketer’s dream, make repeat purchases and word of mouth referrals often far away from online communications. Life happens in the real world. Loyalists end up in a store, on the phone, perusing catalogs, perhaps with clicks for future purchases, yes, but those are often the “last click” after considered intent.
So brands have many opportunities to promote their deeper values as they grow share of customer. It just may not be online.
Via Ian Schafer.