Remember the days when marketing and sales although often operating from the same floor were in different silos? When marketers spent most of their time working on beautiful communication materials without a care for their impact on revenue generation? When sales managers would identify unique selling propositions (USPs) and training specialists would teach road warriors how to describe the features, and link them to customer benefits? And silver-tongued road warriors would burnish their sales kits, freshen up promotional material, sharpen their image, and hit the road to sell themselves first and their products next?
Can’t remember? Good! For those days, like the age of dinosaurs are gone forever. The primary purpose of marketing is now clear. It is to create long-term mutually beneficial exchange relationships between an entity and the individuals and organisations with which it interacts. Equally important is the shift in function of the sales force from merely communicating value, to creating value by the way that they sell.
In all this the positioning and promise of the brand place the customer at the centre of building a maintainable hold on the marketplace. It shifts the focus from the classic idea of companies developing USPs to establishing a “unique emotional proposition.”
Ok, so what is “unique emotional proposition,” and why does it matter? Here’s an example. A problem that Audi once faced was that most people mentioned Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW as German cars with all the connotations of quality and reliability that entails, but often omitted Audi (now owned by VW). Realising this Audi promptly launched campaigns to realign brand perceptions, for they needed that unique emotional attachment of German engineering. Why? Because your unique emotional proposition allows you to sell more of your stuff, to more people, more often, for more money. Ask any MacAddict. We happily buy overpriced iPhones, iPads, iPods etc., simply because we love the brand!
Coming closer home, can you identify the clearly defined unique emotional proposition that differentiates your brand in a world of parity? If you can, your are doing well: but the competition never sleeps. And if you can’t you may soon become a marketing dinosaur.
Herman D. Alvaranga is a marketing and sales strategist.