Consumers are people-and that makes them unpredictable
Some years back, in peak summers, my air-conditioner stopped working.
As usual, customer care did not respond.
I called the local mechanic, who came, checked the machine and fixed the machine in less than a minute.
There was a small problem with the wiring. When I offered him money, he refused.
Instead, he told me about the new technology in air-conditioners, and next day sent me an article on my mail.
Well, I was blown.
Since then, I have purchased six air-conditions from him and recommended him to everybody I know.
“Jaago Re” by Tata Tea was launched in 2007, and it has helped the brand immensely due to its innovation, reach and impact.
It involved NGO’s, Colleges and offices to spread socially relevant messages like corruption.
Due to this outreach, the brand could fight competitors like HUL and garner healthy market share.
Similarly, Standard Chartered bank started the Mumbai Marathon, which has become the largest fund-raising platform in India.
The image of the bank has transformed into a socially caring bank.
The business has improved as a result.
Not even once they advertised that they are a great bank to do business with.
Aviva India had come up with a series of batting video tutorials featuring Sachin Tendulkar!
Sachin was caught in candid moments and different avatars giving lessons on Parenting, Cricket, coaching his master shots. He taught batting styles like ‘Stance’ and ‘Straight Drive’ in YouTube video tutorials.
Accenture’s Path to Success campaign was a great way to find and engage potential talent in the industry.
The general knowledge-based format tested the aptitude of the users while keeping them engaged in interesting gameplay.
HSBC has become the first Carbon neutral bank.
Coca Cola cares about the environment and believes in recycling the packaging (I must admit that they do great advertising also).
Green marketing is the new buzzword for today’s companies, as it creates a perception that the company is socially responsible.
But, not even once, these companies have said that “Buy my product.”
They are creating value for your potential customer, without wanting anything in return.
Customers increasingly distrust organizations. An average customer is becoming unpredictable.
All marketing theories take into account that customer journey is linear-which flows from discovery to research and ends at purchase intent.
They do not take into account the most critical variable- social influence.
This influence itself will completely change the buying behavior.
Consumers are people with social influence- and this makes them unpredictable.
That’s going to affect brands.
Unless, organizations engage with customers to create a bond- apart from regular marketing-it will be difficult for customers to develop trust which can overcome social influence parameters.
Reverse marketing is the concept of marketing, in which the customer seeks the firm rather than marketers seeking the customer.
Old marketing is dead.
Reverse marketing is the most powerful tool to tame the unpredictable customer.
The future marketer has to swim along the BLACK SWAN
The most common method to create long term trust and credibility is to provide valuable information to your target customer, which she is looking for.
Depending on your product category, you can provide free information about health, beauty, how to make more money, how to find the cheapest hotels, etc.
As a company, you can make hospitals, build toilets, and create social awareness about relevant subjects.
Every buying decision takes place after the initial trust level has been established.
A brand is trust. Period.
Reverse Marketing process is the 1st step towards creating that trust.
You don’t sell the products; you sell the philosophy behind your existence.
For example, the Tata Tea campaign consisted of ads that featured many of the products, but the message was about the principles of the company and not the product.
By redirecting the viewer’s attention towards the message and away from the goods, anybody using these techniques can create customer retention to the company, irrespective of what its products are.
Service providers use reverse marketing to avoid what is known as “coercive” marketing.
Coercive marketing tells customers that they should want a service, like getting an insurance policy, for a particular reason.
The Insurance Company might use coercive advertising materials to suggest that people who don’t take insurance may suffer in the future.
They market fear of not taking insurance.
Using a reverse marketing strategy, an insurance company like Aviva India uses ads to tell customers that, they are already leading a good life and the company would like them to learn new and interesting things to make their life more beautiful.
This message is intended to create a positive, confidence-boosting association with the Insurance Company for the customer, which increases the likelihood that the customer will choose to opt for the insurance on his or her own.
Reverse marketing is also an efficient way for companies that can offer information of some value to customers free of charge as a way to establish the company as an authority.
People trust businesses that make them feel informed about their purchasing decisions.
I wanted to buy insurance for my car, and Policy Bazaar helped me get
comparative quotes and gave me useful advice for free.
I did not buy the insurance from them, but I developed a positive feel about the company for the future.
A bookstore, for instance, could offer anyone who visits the store, a free newsletter that includes book reviews and recommendations.
Reverse marketing is about giving control to the customer.
It is about being highly responsive to customer requirement.
It is about being loyal to the customer.
It is about listening.
It is about being useful to the customer through continuous engagement.
In reverse marketing, the marketer needs to behave as if they are the customers of the customer.
Building sustained value for the unpredictable customer is the central theme of reverse marketing.
In order to thrive in this unpredictable market- you need to kill the old marketing methods and embrace the new.