Marketing can be one of the most powerful ways to build a winning organization and develop a sustainable competitive advantage.
It is often much more than just letting customer know about your product or service, it is about building an experience for your customers with your product or service. When you are able to build an emotional connection with your customers, you're building a life long relationship that will reap great benefits for your organization and provide a road block for competitors trying to gain access to your market share.
Marketing is all about perception and helping consumers feel like they are getting what they need and want from your product. Take Corona for example. Quite possibly the most powerful marketing campaign ever, Corona has dominated the "beer and beach" market. When consumers go to the beach and want to relax, the first drink that pops into many consumers' mind is Corona. I rarely see anyone drinking coronas at happy hour in the city, but when you're on the beach in the Mexican Riviera, Bahamas, or other tropical locales, Corona is the dominant beverage for the many beachgoers. It's not because Corona is the best tasting beer, but it's because consumers feel an emotional connection with Corona that ties in directly to their perceived experience at a warm, sunny beach.
The beer market is massive, yet Corona has successfully carved out a core niche in the beer consumption market by exclusively focusing on marketing the Corona experience to consumers. Corona gives consumers that feeling of relaxation, no cares, and no worries. Corona is about letting things drift away as you settle in the warm sand, under the bright sun, overlooking the crystal clear blue water. It is about removing stress in your life and letting Corona help you enjoy those care-free times in your life that we all day dream about from our offices and homes. When we buy a Corona, we don't buy it for the taste, we buy it for the experience it provides us.
Because Corona provides consumers that feeling of being able to "escape from it all" we are willing to pay $5 or more for a bottle of Corona. The costs to manufacture Corona are probably the same if not lower than that of Bud Light and other lower premium beers. This is the power of marketing in action. Corona has such a strong connection with consumers that we are willing to pay a premium to access it when we want it most (at the beach).
Rather than trying to pitch customers on the features and benefits of your product, take a chapter from some of today's leading consumer brands and focus on finding ways to fit your product into your customer's lifestyle. Help them experience something better that they want or need from your specific product. Focusing on the emotional connections with your customers rather than just the features or benefits (which can be copied by competitors) will help you build a sustainable competitive advantage that can last a life time.