Out with the old: What we can learn about modern-day consumer needs from our own experiences

Consumer psychology is something many don’t give sufficient consideration to. It is absolutely critical to understanding the best way to approach your market. It is also worth emphasising that different markets have different consumers of your products. Working with a client recently, they have government clients, large business, small business and the home consumer. Different consumers are likely to have different expectations and different methods for engaging with you.

Here, I’m not just going to talk about consumer resentment. My disclaimer of the day is that some of this is well and truly from the research on trends for 2017. Some of it is pure opinion on my behalf, because I think my opinion is worthwhile! And unapologetically, I will give lots of it. Below are some of the marketing strategies I resent as a fellow consumer.

Consumer resentment towards:

1. Intrusive Marketing — I hate pop ups, I hate auto-play videos and I hate being put on mailing lists when I haven’t ever come into contact with the person organisation. I don’t mind being put on mailing lists of people I have met. I know there are spam rules around this, but I sort of see this like television. I don’t choose to watch adverts about horrible fat food like McDonalds. In fact I don’t even have a choice. I can’t unsubscribe to that. At least I can unsubscribe if someone puts me on their mailing list

2. Generalised marketing — My time in a day is precious. I hate being sent things that really are not relevant to me. I am never going to buy them. Don’t send me something so generealised that it won’t be relevant to me. If you have a large, diverse client base, an investment in segmenting your marketing is a good investment.

3. Lazy marketing — Okay, so I am guilty of this here, not out of laziness, just because my attention to detail is not the best. That’s why I hire people who have better attention to detail than I do. But recently someone from a bank must have sent this communication to a lot of people: At the top there was the email address of another business. This is lazy. In the age of being offended by everything, people are more intolerant than ever. We immediately see this and think: “unprofessional”!

4. Old school approaches to marketing — Come on! It’s 2017. My wife recently wanted to buy herself a new SUV after the birth of our second child. When we went to the car yard, the salesman, who incidentally said he had run a used-car dealership previously, was extremely disrespectful to her, directing most of his questions at me instead. I told him up front that it was going to be her car, and therefore her decision. I was just there for support. We became so annoyed and uncomfortable, and the old school approach put us off. He used so many old school, clichéd quotes — he even the tried it on again in email form the next day: “I’ve just overheard the dealer principal say that we have to do a deal on those demo models”. Sorry mate, nail in the coffin. My wife went to another dealership and bought a different car from people who showed her a lot more respect.

5. Unprofessional people –I recently had a meeting with someone (a vendor) who looked like he had just rolled out bed. He had the worst case of bed hair. After 20 minutes of explaining what I needed, he then tried to upsell me something else. I was disgusted, and am in the process of changing provider. Amazing how easy it is for me to make that decision.

What can we do to avoid these consumer resentments in 2017?

Tips on nailing the consumer thing:

1. Treat people with respect. Your job is to help someone first, not make bucketloads of money. Go in with desperation or greed as your mindset, some will make money, others will fail. Money is an outcome of doing good business. It was the last business day of the month when we visited that car yard. You could smell the desperation on that guy.

2. People are more educated today than they ever have been, even if the education they have got is from the Facebook Institute of Rubbish Facts (yep, there is so much crap on Facebook. I can’t believe what I see people repost sometimes). Just recently one of our consultants called someone from a supplier company. He insisted on trying to give her ALL of the details of the product, even after she said that she had read everything. Consumers have never been more informed, and in some instances will challenge you on your knowledge.

3. Consumers want a connection, more than ever before, but they are ruthless. It is too easy to shop around. Form a genuine connection, make it real, and keep it. There are so many people out there aggressively marketing themselves, so new relationships are rarely formed. Remembering the subtle interests and likes of your clients can go a long way.

4. Don’t be lazy. If you are rubbish at detail, get someone else to check it. If you are trying to take shortcuts, don’t. People see right through it.

5. Old school doesn’t work — The old, traditional sales method is based on salespeople’s harassing prospects in the forms of cold calling, sales pitches where you pitch at people based on the product’s benefits, ABC, or Alec Baldwin puts it in the movie Glengarry Glenross: “Always. Be closing.” Want to annoy people? Do lots of this stuff. It is intimidating for prospects, not to mention humiliating and demoralising for salespeople. No wonder sales is perceived as so exhausting and terrifying by people. I’ve had to do this in the past; its not fun.

6. Being professional is not about wearing an expensive suit, tie and polished shoes in 2017. In fact, I often have sales meetings with a t-shirt and nice chinos, suede boots. Why? Because I have already established credibility and a relationship. People might sit there thinking, hey, that’s a different outfit to what I’m used to, but they probably see that it fits with who I am. I have already told them about what I believe in, in relation to my philosophy of business. Howie in our office wears funky suits and a beanie. Howie is cool. He is also intelligent. I’m not concerned about Howie’s beanie collection!

7. Take an interest in consumer psychology. You should be interested in your prospects.

Liking what we are talking about? Give us a buzz for a chat. If you’re in Perth WA, we can meet for coffee. I might be in a t-shirt, I might be in a suit. Lucky dip!