by Micah Trampe
To begin to understand the world of marketing, it is necessary to step into the mind of the consumer. For whatever product is being marketed, we must first connect ourselves to the impact and enrichment that product or service would bring to us. What do we believe the value of that impact and enrichment to be? The answer could be different for everyone, because value is all about perception.
I recently shared a video with the team here at Flood Marketing from Rory Sutherland. In 2009, Sutherland, an advertising guru, gave a TED Talk on a host of life lessons. One of those lessons was perceived value. Within his presentation, he brought up a fascinating study conducted by the American Association of Wine Economists. Yes, it’s a real thing! AAWE disguised cheap boxed wine as pricey, “valuable”, and rare wines. The wine enthusiasts involved in the study tried multiple samples and then tried to decide if they were in fact drinking a wine with high value. They were not, but they believed they were. Many of the taste testers even tried the same wine several times and each time thought it was a different brand of wine. Their perception was altered because of the information AAWE had given them about the wine before the tasting. If you hand someone a glass of five-dollar wine, but tell them it’s from a bottle worth $300, it automatically changes how they feel about the product? Their perception before the first sip is that they are drinking a fine, rare, expensive wine. Now, forget the dollar amount; if you were to only tell them it is Cabernet Sauvignon aged 30 years, when really it was made last month in mass-production, they will likely think it is of higher value than the cost of what they’re really drinking.
Another point of interest from Sutherland’s talk is his mention that perceived value is also in part making “new things familiar and familiar things new.” We as consumers love familiarity. If a new soup commercial can wrap us in the comfort of mom’s home cooking, we’ll buy it. But why that soup? Why not something we’re used to like our favorite red and white label? Because of great marketing, soup lovers now long for a taste of mom’s cooking that they can get on demand. While the brand of soup may be new and unfamiliar, it is familiar because it will supposedly taste like the soup your mom used to make you. Consumers tend to be willing to pay more for these things that bring back familiar and sentimental feelings.
Take the iPhone for example. When the iPhone was first released, the world already had early versions of smartphones that could text, call, email, etc. What the world didn’t have a that time though, is a phone that could connect you with a touch to a live video call with a loved one clear across the world. The world also didn’t have an app that could update you in real time on your favorite team’s scores, or an app that could store all the music you love and play it with just a couple taps on the screen. The evolution of apps and smartphones have brought us closer to things we perceive we “need” along with us every day. Music, movies, shows, 1,000+ photos of our children and pets, and of course we can’t forget social media. By having the ability to connect consumers with so many of life’s greatest aspects, we will now pay a whopping $949 for the iPhone; when a simple mobile phone is less than $20.
With the world we live in today, there are things we put higher value on than even some of the companies selling those things never could have imagined. While new products tug at our heartstrings and our wallets, we as consumers must ask ourselves, “why is this of value to me,” and, “what is that value?” The same must go for services we are purchasing and new business relationships we are entering. Where is the value, and what is that value worth?
As the Digital Community Manager, it is my job to ensure the content we are putting forth is of value – the best value. No matter a client’s budget, the value and quality remain the same. Value is something each of us at Flood strive for every day.