Quality vs. Economy … You Can’t Have Both
Issue: February 2013 by Gregory Morgan, Esq., Account Executive, Prototype Advertising in Inside The Magazine, Marketing & Sales
Sometimes, the seemly simple marketing plan doesn’t work because of a not-so-complicated problem. Take, for example, the owner of a small but very successful clothing store who was known for selling quality suits and offering unsurpassed service for more than 20 years. When the holidays came around, naturally the owner wanted to be competitive with the other “big box” stores that offered reduced prices to motivate buyers. So, he cut the price of his standard $300 suits to $250. The results were surprising: sales decreased.
Feeling pressure to increase holiday sales, the owner decided to decrease the price again to $200. He sold even less. In desperation to save holiday sales, he lowered the price of the $300 suits to $150. Sales stopped. What was wrong? He did what every other clothing retailer was doing during the holidays. But for this store, this marketing message just didn’t work.
It was suggested that he raise the price of the suits to $350 ($50 MORE than the original price). Suddenly, he sold out. Raising the price usually doesn’t sell more, but in this case it did. This story is a great example of how the wrong marketing message can actually hurt your brand image. The Lesson: Make sure that your message always matches your USP.
Craft the right message
Your USP or “Unique Selling Proposition” should be clear before you begin crafting a marketing message. How does your business position itself in the marketplace as compared with other businesses like it? Once you determine your USP, make sure that your marketing message always supports this position which, in turn, will strengthen your brand. In the case of the clothing store, the marketing message, by advertising lower priced suits, was not consistent with the store’s reputation for quality. Which brings us to…
Quality vs. Economy
Generally, a product is positioned for its quality or for being economical. And, while some have made a success of marketing quality for less, most are either one or the other. If your product or service is known for being economical, make sure that you’re talking about price or the equivalent. But, if you’re known for quality, talking about the price may send the WRONG message to your customer base with the presumption of lower price meaning lower quality. Either way, the marketing message for your business should remain consistent with its positioning in the marketplace.
Consistency Is Key
Whether it’s a print ad, radio spot or even the front window of your store, every word, picture and appearance of your business should be consistent with how you are positioned within the marketplace. A consistent message from all sources will make your message clear to the consumer and develop an understanding among your target audience of what your business is known for. Plus, the consistency in your message will get your business on the way to developing a solid brand which includes its message, name and look.
So, before you go marking up all of your prices to promote sales, make sure you know clearly how your actions apply to your brand, promote your brand message and increase your bottom line. In the end, it will suit your business and your bottom line.
Prototype Advertising is the largest full-service advertising agency in Central Virginia. Learn more at www.PrototypeAdvertising.com.