The product or service is the most important element in the marketing mix. However, good products fail daily. I remember the first line in the first chapter of one of my business textbooks in college in the sixties was, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” That's laughable nowadays, isn't it?
Why did Sony's Betamax – a superior technology – lose to VHS? Why did Apple's platform – a superior technology – lose out to DOS and, later, to Windows?
In both cases, the Matsushita and IBM consortium did a better job of integrating manufacturing and distribution resources in their industry to create more powerful offerings to the consumer.
The same principles apply to marketing communications.
People buy based on what they see, hear – and most importantly, feel – about the brand. Today people have more choices than ever. As products move toward parity in features and price, purchases become emotionally driven. Experts now claim that virtually all purchase and brand decisions are driven by emotion. People make emotion-based decisions and then build the logic to justify the decision.
To market a product or service properly, marketers need to know how people feel about their brands. They are accountable for delivering a return on the company's investment. So, in order to find out how the customers feel and to be able to measure the return on the marketing investment, true IMC creates a response loop.
Response loops are behavior-based and can draw feedback from customers in many ways:
- Customer surveys done in a variety of ways, through various mediums.
- Controlled measurement of actual purchase and use behavior.
These feedback loops help marketers:
- Improve the features and quality of the products they sell.
- Offer the right products or services with the right features to the right people at the right time.
- Understand their customers' needs and desires.
- Gain insight into other products that interest their customers.
- Reap profit more quickly and build more for the long term.
This feedback loop creates real-time, immediate, projectable, behavior-based primary research.
This is much more valuable than surveys that simply predict consumer activity by asking about their intentions to buy.
Survey questions are ninety-pound weaklings compared to behavior-based information!