Customer Service / Online Marketing – One Rock at a Time

How to move mountains – eCommerce & eMarketing strategy for success!

There is no way that I can’t mention perception in any online marketing blog. (There’s a double negative there, for those English majors out there). Bottom line is perception drives consumers. Marketing influences perception. Word of mouth influences perception. Advertising influences perception.

Perception, above anything else, drives people to buy one product or service over another.

Grasshopper at the back is jumping up and down and yelling something about price. He has so much to learn 🙂

We last year I lost a bid with a big (entertainment) client for an online application, pretty robust and pretty high level. We bid the job around $40k, quite happy in the cost vs profit equation that would have us covered based on the Request for Proposal (which we happened to have written for the client!). A larger, more “experienced in the industry” competitor came along and bid the exact same project (actually they omitted a few items) at over $95k, and guess what… they got awarded the contract.

Was it the fact that their proposal was better than ours? Doubtful. Do they have more experience with web application development than us; actually no. BUT… What they did have was a perception that they have the experience to deliver the product based on their industry (the clients’ space) experience. The perception was certainly based on their portfolio (which wasn’t relevant to this project) and their relationships with client peers BUT in no way should they have won the project based on value and their ability to deliver. (Note the project was delivered, half-baked six months late).

Perception drove the decision, not price and certainly not value.

On the walls in my old office we had a few sage comments.. one of them was “We deliver value and results – results justify the value”. Nowhere do we mention price (we were never the cheapest), nowhere do we mention timelines or meetings, presentations or proposals… it’s all about value and delivering what the client wants, needs and can afford (in that order!)

At the end of the day, perception (or lack of a positive perception or less of a positive perception) lost us this particular project. How can we (how can you) make the clients’ perception at a level where a decision to ‘seal the deal’ is a no brainer? You can’t. Period.

All you can do is try. Perception is so personal (or institutional) that to overcome it’s power is difficult. You can dump a ‘boatload’ of cash on advertising, marketing, presentations and / or literature, you can spend half your budget on a cool website with testimonials from dozens of ‘satisfied customers’, but at the end of the day changing or influencing someone’s perception of your company, product or service is a function of all of the above and the ability to sell yourself as the company, product or service that

  1. your client wants

  2. your client needs

  3. offers a better perception than your competition

Last, and I want to add this last. If you have a ‘good’ perception in your clients or customers eyes, it is yours to lose. So hang on and reinforce that perception with your advertising, marketing, website, presentations and / or literature. Because perception isn’t really about you, it is you.

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