What are you selling?

QUICK READ: Marketers get too carried away with their brands. Sure, there are some brands that people are passionate about (don’t come between me and my Haagen Dazs) but the rising sales of private labels indicate, to me, that a lot of consumers are falling out of love with brands.

I consider myself a savvy consumer. There are some brands I love, Subaru, Trek Bikes, and others that I could care less about. However, women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions and they are smart shoppers.

The competition in the grocery aisle is fierce. New brands are appearing overnight as well as premium store brands. Too many marketers believe their own marketing and are stunned when they lose market share. They fail to ask “what are we really selling?”.

Let’s look at coffee as an example. Starbucks coffee is almost every coffee aisle at food stores but I have been seeing more craft coffee brewers showing up online and doing very well. Some are even marketing against Starbucks “burnt” coffee taste. I have been surprised at the reduced shelf space Starbucks seems to be getting at stores.

What about big-ticket items like electronics? Well, Vizio came to market and completely caught brands like Sony off guard. A lot of automobile brands are just transportation to people and even brands like BMW and Mercedes are declining in sales.

Why would someone opt for a Subaru versus a BMW? BMW used to be a yuppy brand and a performance car. Now people sonnet see the need to spend $45,000 for a BMW 3-Series. Subaru on the other hand has excellent resale value and is known as a car that can go over 100,000 miles without major issues.

With all this then it all comes down to “what are you really selling?”. Supplement companies maybe selling certified ingredients, frozen food is selling how the meal tastes not the picture on the box.

At every marketing meeting you should be asking “what is the value to consumers?” and “what are we really selling?”.

One more thing. Right now there is a huge swing in the other direction when it comes to political correctness. Eskimo Pie is even removing the name “Eskimo” because it might be offensive? If someone likes Eskimo Pie they’re going to buy the product. The same with Uncle Ben’s rice. Brands are too damn afraid of their own shadows.

An Italian pasta sauce brand based in Chicago asked me if they should change the logo which includes an older Italian woman because they feel it might be offensive. It’s not. The woman depicted on the label was the person who developed the recipe for the sauce and is the owner’s mother.

Some brands DO have a lot of equity but if you believe that a competitor can’t eat away at your equity you’re kidding yourself. Know what you’re really selling and don’t believe too much of your brand bullshit.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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