A Hard Sell

Have you ever wondered about those people that have to sell unpopular things? Items that have gone out of fashion or favour, received a bad press or seen as unhealthy are still on the market. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. Most marketers will, at some point, be in the position where they need to market something that will turn out to be a very hard sell indeed.

Products, that for whatever reason, have become difficult to sell, will require an additional push. Creativity will be the key in this situation until the market turns around or the company is able to change its strategic direction. There are so many different types of customer out there, the savvy marketer just needs to know where to find them. It could well be that the company has been previously targeting the wrong people. A company must study its market and customers, work out why its product is not attracting them and calculate which buttons to push to get targeted customers excited again. For a Brand and Strategy Innovation Agency, visit www.lightbulbinnovation.com/.

Segmenting the market, targeting the appropriate sector and positioning your brand is an age old technique that can make the hard sell just that little bit easier. If you don’t know your customers and just go on intuition and projections then you’ll most likely be making incorrect assumptions.

It has been argued that the reason products become difficult to shift is due to a clear objection that is standing in the way of the product and the consumer. The solution therefore is to come up with an offer that gets rid of this objection. For example, customers concerned about high fuel costs could be offered free fuel with a car that is considered as a gas guzzler. Obviously this is a narrow target and there may be more than one objection to a product but it’s clear from this example that marketers have to get creative to succeed.

A Hard Sell

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Another objection could be that a consumer still has a similar product that is in working order. A solution to this issue is the trade-in. This is a tactic often employed by auto traders and removes the objection that the customer hasn’t had their money’s worth out of the previous product. A discount offered for trading in can also work for other products such as mobile phones or digital cameras. This creates constant business without leaving the customer feel out of pocket.

Setting the correct pricing is also crucial in times of market slumps. Identifying recent buyers and trying to focus on those who fall into the same demographic is one way of weathering the slump until the market picks up. Many companies don’t focus on getting their pricing right as not only are the physical assets valued but also the non-tangible elements that contribute to what the customer is prepared to pay.

Hard to sell items such as trans-fat foods and cigarettes will still attract a large section of the market and the key to finding them is sophisticated segmentation methods and effective targeting. Strong brands can even survive government regulation as was the case when governments banned cigarette advertising. Marlboro actually benefited as it was the strongest brand at the time and stood to reap the benefits as the smaller companies fell away due to not being able to build business through advertising.

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