Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Challenges in marketing

Above image from here.

Marketing is a challenging profession.  Marketing is a process that aims to delight customers through creation, communication and delivery of value.  The delivered value is represented by a bundle of offerings: which includes the product(s), image, idea(s), services and other intangibles that create a delightful experience to the customer.  Delight is the emotional state aimed by a marketer in the customer’s mind.  The delighted smiling customer is responsible for consumption of a product or service – and the core of marketing is increasing the consumption.  A delighted customer voluntarily spreads the message of the product, this adds to positive word-of-mouth.  Products and services that delight customers are aimed at satisfying various needs, wants and desires: the process of identifying and meeting these requirements makes marketing a challenging process.

Marketing is a passion, smiling becomes second nature to a marketer, speaking in an ethical manner, generating positive emotions, praising the right points in a product and appreciating interesting attributes of a target customer, and speaking convincingly with logic - is a habit among successful marketers.  Marketing personnel bring life to staid products; advertising and communication activity adds glamour, attraction and creates a pull towards the marketed product by giving hope of a promising and delightful ‘experience-in-store’.

Every human craves to be happy and seeks progress.  Educational products and services for instance, offer hope of a help to achieve higher happiness and progress (improvement).  Entertainment products & services like audio, video, TV channel programs… all are designed to provide the unexpected - and get target audiences hooked onto a sequelae of delightful experiences.  Marketing, verily, is a process of creating delight among the targeted audiences, and marketing verily, creates the reason for existence of a business.  Consequently, businesses create customers!

When a Medical Representative meets a doctor in his clinic, the clinician looks with hope of a pleasant encounter with a delightful personality.   Through his smile, cheerful disposition, detailing points, sampling strategies and in-clinic inputs, the MR, gives moments of knowledge reminders, updates, positive strokes, joy and pleasantness to the doctor.  The road travelled by a MR in his day-to-day working is not a smooth one, on a daily basis; a MR overcomes routine obstacles to his communication activity, and yet creates a sale, and delight to the doctor or chemist.  The same is true of any other marketing person.  Marketers target their activities and messages to customers, they overcome stumbling blocks and ensure the consumption of a product or service, and this ensures delight in the customer.

Marketers face following main obstacles of marketing communication in day-to-day working:

a)      Preoccupation
b)      Defensiveness
c)      Prejudice
d)     Memory failure
e)      Language problem

a)      Preoccupation: The open and uncluttered mind of a customer or doctor is the biggest window of opportunity to a marketing communicator.  When a customer is met when he or she is relatively free from burden of chores, and is able to provide attention to the marketing person, half the battle for winning the customer is done.  Preoccupation is the chief reason for failure of consumption of marketing messages, hence it is vital to meet prospects (target customers) at their time of convenience rather than at the convenience of salesperson.  It means the salesperson has to go the extra mile.  Eg., there are several doctors who are ready to meet medical representatives (MRs) at early morning hours, but only certain MRs are willing to take the extra trouble of meeting the doctor at such times. 
b)      Defensiveness: is the behavior of prospect or customer to avoid receiving marketing messages.  The prospect or customer believes the messages are more marketing-person oriented rather customer oriented.  The potential customer thinks the marketing person is there to sell the product or service and make a profit rather than satisfy the customer.  Hence, it is vital to build bridges of trust: the sales person has to get accepted as a reliable person, this will help reduce defensiveness and ensure better acceptance of marketing messages.
c)      Prejudice (or partiality): is a routine experience for marketers.  For eg., certain doctors show partiality to MRs of multinational companies.  Or caste and creed may be a criterion for making the purchasing/prescribing decision.  Prejudice is a barrier that is surmounted by sales personnel through sheer force of professionalism.  There is no substitute to professional behavior.  The trained salesperson, who represents the product with elan, persuasion and perseverance, will always be in a better position to forge win-win relationships for successful sales transactions.
d)     Memory failure: Preparation meets opportunity, is an appropriate guiding principle for marketing and selling activities.  A prepared MR or salesperson is in a position of strength to handle objections and convince prospects on the benefits of proposed product, service or idea.  Constant revision of product notes, talking points, and technical profile of product or service, ensures there is no memory failure and interactions with prospects or customers will be positive with gusto. 
e)      Language problem: is often a stumbling block in communication process.  It is vital to propose product or service benefits with a vocabulary that matches wavelength of prospect.  When medical products are marketed with appropriate scientific or medical terminology, acceptance of marketing messages is superior, chance of customer or prospect conversion is higher.

Above challenges to marketing messaging are universal in nature.  These obstacles are seen in interpersonal and intragroup communication too.  Ability to handle such objections in communication process will help boost career fortunes. Thanks for reading this post, kindly scroll down to read older posts.

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