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August 2006: Perception vs. Reality
by Stephen Ghelerter

As a marketer, it is important to realize the insignificance of reality. What counts is the perceptions that the customers have. Crest Toothpaste created the perception that their product was best for fighting cavities. Close-Up has the perception that it creates fresh breath.

Are these perceptions true? It doesn't matter. These are perceptions they have successfully been created in the marketplace, and people purchase based on their perceptions. 

You vs. The Other Guy

Assume you own United Carpet Store and you have the best prices in town. Then along comes Fred's Discount Carpet Depot, and he heavily advertises and claims to have the lowest prices. Whom do you think the public would expect to have the best prices?

In other words, just having the lowest prices is not good enough, you have to convince your market. And if you do convince your market, don't disappoint them by not providing what you claim, or your efforts can backfire.

It's Not Just About Prices

The example above is about prices, but keep in mind having the lowest prices may not be such a good idea. There are other ways to make your business desirable without cutting your profits: Excellent service, for instance. Other factors could be large selection, most knowledgeable, most experienced, best qualified, etc.  Next month's tip will cover how to bring in customers without being the cheapest guy on the block.

How to Make an Impression

First you have to focus on that impression, whether it be cavities, fresh breath, or best tasting pizza in town. Then you have to pound it into people's minds. Include the concept in all your advertising. Put it everywhere you company name appears. Future tips will cover ways to reach your market and create a positive impression.

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