Most companies believe that they know what their customers want and continue following the same marketing approach until they suddenly realize that the sales have declined. It happens because pure numbers and statistics-based predictions cannot always reflect a person’s need to purchase something, which can be irrational (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Discovering what one values outside of their interaction with a product or a service proves to be even more challenging, and such data is often misleading. Thus, the company may want to implement creative approaches to thoroughly understand the customer and market what it has to offer accordingly.
A product’s value depends on whether it can address someone’s needs, and the failure to do so results in economic consequences. Some may argue that a good marketing strategy can sell anything and disregard what a person wants. While a company’s original marketing can be successful due to novelty and other factors, and a false belief that it is what the consumer wants may be fostered. For instance, BeerCo presumed that its merchandise was the selling point of the bars, although, in reality, the customer’s attitude varied from indifferent to derisive (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014).
The use of female servers, which was also supposed to generate interest, proved to be flawed (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Initially, the idea of a specialized bar might have been appealing, but after it failed to address the actual needs, the establishment’s popularity started declining, despite rigorous marketing (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Unconventional anthropological research managed to reveal the company’s issues and helped it rebound (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Thus, the case suggests that pure marketing that fails to consider what the customer values is not sustainable.
Another example can help unravel why it is important to understand why one may refuse to purchase something, even while the product seemingly possesses some value. People who underwent an ostomy need a special bag for natural waste, and Coloplast took advantage of the niche market, which later expanded to include more healthcare products (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). However, the ostomy bag division eventually declined, although the company attempted to implement several innovations (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014).
Through sensemaking, it managed to determine certain patterns, which allowed Coloplast to make an insight into the issue – the product did not address body type varieties (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Thus, people bought the bag out of necessity, but there was no incentive to purchase more due to leakages and other inconveniencies (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). The product had some primary value, but the company failed to increase it due to being unaware of the customer’s behavior (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). After addressing the issue in a new product line, its value was positively impacted after resonating with the consumer (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). Overall, researching the customer’s behavior helps increase a product’s value.
Doing research is only one element of what determines a product’s value. In theory, it should rise increase because everything accommodates the customer. However, if a person is unaware of a product’s existence, the sensemaking process and the subsequent innovations will be in vain. Therefore, a marketing strategy to emphasize that the customer’s needs are fully addressed is necessary. Coloplast used a storytelling approach, which probably includes some accounts of the people the company interviewed (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, 2014). It appears sensible because the customer could relate to their stories and believe that the product is improved. Using the results of the creative research process for marketing purposes is a natural progression.
A company may even choose to implement the story of how it studied an issue, which can impact both its reputation and a product’s value. Showing that one cares about individuals and directly consults them instead of relying on pure technologies is beneficial. Altogether, it is not sufficient to improve the product – the company should let the customer know that innovations have been implemented, preferably in an engaging way.
The question remains whether creative marketing alone can sustain a product’s value without innovations. For instance, a company can create a mobile application simulating a product’s use or create an animated video with storytelling integrating the product. However, such strategies require a deeper understanding of how the customer interacts with it, which can be acquired through sensemaking. Otherwise, an inaccurate representation of how the product addresses one’s needs may have an opposite effect and become controversial, not to mention its complete devaluation. Thus, it is difficult to separate marketing from research and innovation. The process requires a solid foundation, which is impossible without understanding why someone chooses to buy a product and how they apply it.
Ultimately, all three elements (research, innovation, and marketing) should be customer-driven and intertwined to impact a product’s value. The first one makes insights into one’s behavior, and the last two processes address them. As the described cases suggest, simply marketing a product is futile, and adding a creative angle is impossible without considering the more profound aspects, which is achievable through social sciences. In conclusion, it can be said that creative marketing impacts a product’s value because the former is conceivable once the customer’s needs and circumstances are fully grasped.
Madsbjerg, C. & Rasmussen, M. B. (2014). An anthropologist walks into a bar… Harvard Business Review, 92(3), 80-90. Web.