Is the perception of your marketing reality?

The Marketing Truth You Cannot Ignore – Perception is Reality! 

This simple statement can enhance or destroy your business!

So; Just what is perception? Perception is defined as the process by which individuals select, organise and interpret stimulation of their senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing or taste) into a meaningful and coherent picture of your business.  The picture painted by the customers senses should be Reality.  Reality can of course exceed expectation.

Much of the disciplines of marketing communications focuses on creating stimuli that positively influence consumer perceptions.  Does your marketing do this?

What is the product you are selling?  It’s important to define.  It’s not just a consumable product, or service that you sell.  It’s the whole business.  The way it looks outside and online.  The quality of the toilets.  The look of the signage.  The quality of the menu, or a price list, whether its stained and dog eared, or whether is clean and new.  All of these messages create a perception for the customer.

I once took a holiday in the Isle of White at a hotel on the seafront.  When I arrived the first letter of the hotel name was missing.  I immediately thought, this could be ‘Faulty Towers’ experience, and it was!  The availability of poached eggs was confined to certain days.  The lift doors didn’t stop if they touched you (I literally had to wrench my shoulder from the doors), and to top it all, unsympathetic staff.  There were many more incidents too.  The message I want to share with you here is my perception was disappointingly – a reality.  Some hotels will unfortunately, have the same negative messages on the outside, customers viewing these messages may well assume that the standards are poor because of those external message and pass to stay at another hotel instead.  This is lost business for that hotelier and they wouldn’t have noticed, because the customer wouldn’t have told them.  The messages outside your business are crucially important, and; will make a difference to your income, either positively of negatively.

My advice:  Take a regular look at your business with the Customers Eyes.  Identify what you perceive, and then strive to communicate with the customer with all of their senses making sure that its positive and matches what you intend them to perceive.

Do you perceive these vegetables to be abundant and fresh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about this shop?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perception is ‘nothing fresh and nothing to make your meal with’.  You would probably go to a different supermarket.  The big question is ‘Would you go back to the original supermarket?’  Have they now lost your business?

In consumer behavioural terms, perception is the result of two inputs that interact to form the personal evaluations that ultimately drive purchase:

  • Physical stimuli from the outside environment
  • People’s expectations and motives based on past experiences

While it’s difficult to impact the expectations and motives formed on past experiences, here’s how you, as a marketer, can impact the physical stimuli consumers perceive in your business.

Much of the discipline of marketing communications focuses on creating stimuli that positively influence consumer perceptions. Best practices in doing so include:

  • Identifying your product’s value proposition: In order to influence perceptions, you need to define and document your product’s value proposition, don’t forget your product is not just the consumable product or a service, it’s the whole business. Your value proposition is your big picture promise, the benefit your product or service uniquely provides. Defining your value proposition requires you to understand your target customers’ unmet needs and how your products, as well as that of your competitors, will fulfil those needs. Identifying gaps where your customers face unmet needs that are not fulfilled by competitors can help you to identify your product’s value proposition.

The Basics of Marketing

  • Find out what the customer wants
  • Design the product, service and facility to match
  • Tell the customer you have it.
  • Telling the customer you have it, includes using all of the customers senses.

We have many display products to help entice your customers and improve your marketing, please browse our site for more information.

Patrick Huggins

Director for BHMA Limited.

How to Maximise Impulse Sales in Time for the Payday Rush!

Primark impulse sales display

Primark just before the checkout. A display of great impulse products.

Payday is great for your business; the end of the month brings about a smorgasbord of customers ready to spend their hard-earned cash!

Your customers will be wanting to freshen up their wardrobe with a new look; upgrade their home with stylish new furniture or meet up with friends and benefit from retail therapy.  So whilst your customers are in the mood to “spend, spend, spend!” make sure you “promote, promote, promote”.

Use discounted products to create sale opportunities that will bring your customers to the checkout; which is the perfect environment for up-selling!

Primark uses this principle very well.  Simple black retractable barriers are used at the checkout to manage their queues where smaller, affordable products are displayed in dump bins to encourage customers to add further items to their baskets whilst waiting.

Dump bins that are designed to fit on top of barriers posts are perfect for catching the eye and making the most of the available space in this area, they not only look good but with an effective marketing strategy, they can have a large impact on your sales growth too.

Include an eye-level and impulse campaign to see your sales soar.  This should consist of products that grab attention and relate to your hot spot (aisle end) areas to create hype and a need to have.  Fill your bins and keep them full to show abundance, there is nothing worse than an empty shelf or bin, it only has a negative impact and always research your market for upcoming trends, themes and events.

Being ahead will allow you to plan your stock for the demand.  For example if a holiday is on the horizon like Mothers’ day consider adding products which are likely to grab your customer attention as a quick fix gift.

Increase impulse sales and generate traffic with our marketing products, developed and designed by the sign & display solution experts at BHMA.

Email us at sales@bhma.co.uk or call us on 01353 665141 with your requirements.

Queue Management Solutions

Amazon go queue

The Brits find queuing second nature especially at large events, product launches & popular restaurants. However, in other parts of the world, this isn’t always the case!

Recently Amazon opened a checkout free concept store in Seattle designed to help eliminate queuing whilst removing cashiers at the same time.  The principle is that you help yourself to goods and as you leave the store your Amazon registered credit card is billed.

On opening day, locals flocked to the store to investigate the new idea and ironically had to form a queue because of the number of people that turned up!  Needless to say, Amazon had to pull out the barriers and start managing the queues!

When it comes to queue management there are a couple of options but they do the same job; to ensure your customers form an orderly queue and have access to designated areas only.

Classic rope and post barriers are the top of the range when it comes to appearance.  They not only look good but are also perfect for creating V.I.P. areas and are used predominantly in upmarket car showrooms, red carpet events and 5* hotels. These are available in polished silver and gold with a range of velvet and twisted ropes, offering an opulent appearance.

When it comes to retractable barriers make sure you pick a colour that stands out and is easy to recognise, especially if they are being used in an area where lighting is limited or a hazard needs highlighting. To maximise your brand image choose a printed belt with company colours and make sure there are no gaps when forming your lines. Perception is reality and if people think they can sneak through an opening to save time they will!

Whichever queue management method you choose it is important to ensure you are using the correct number of stanchions, posts and ropes. There is nothing worse than seeing an overstretched rope or belt and it can be dangerous.

Adopt the simplify to amplify technique, create a distinctive queuing system which is organised and purposeful, without gaps to amplify the importance of your chosen pathway and ensure the correct brand image is given to your business.

For any questions or queries on finding your queue management solution just email sales@bhma.co.uk or call 01353 665141.

How to create an enticing window display?

Well it’s been a while but after a hectic season we’re back!

Talking of hectic I was in Cambridge shopping at the weekend and was amazed by the amount of high street shoppers I saw. The city was booming.

I also noticed how poor the window displays were and wondered if the shops were as busy as the street! Have people forgotten that their shop window needs to be the epicenter of their business? It needs to encourage new footfall. It needs to build brand awareness. It needs to shout COME IN!

Your regular customer knows your style, your service, your brand, they are loyal, they do not need to be enticed, they will pop in when they are shopping because they trust you.

Your window needs to encourage new business, it needs to say look at me, it needs to say don’t miss out!

So how can you get the best from your window? There are a few ways to achieve this:

  1. Create a mystery! This works well when having a promotion or sale. Simply fill the windows with posters to block the view, this will create an interest and shoppers will be intrigued to see what’s on sale, the only way for them to do this is to pop inside.
  2. Create a peephole! This can be achieved with decorative spray snow at Christmas, or sand spray paint in the summer (just make sure you buy the easy to remove versions!). Passers by won’t be able to resist taking a peek to see what treats are in store, if they have stopped to browse the window display they are more likely to visit.
  3. Stick with the seasons. Everybody loves a change and the seasons are no different, we may moan about the cold but the thought of leaving Autumn and entering Winter fills you with thoughts of cosy fires, hot chocolate and jumpers! Use this to your advantage and create a seasonal display, add golden leaves to your mannequins feet in Autumn, pop Daffodils in your background at Spring or add a couple of suitcases to your sandals and flip flop display. With seasonal vibes being ever present your customer will feel you are in tune with them and your business will be buzzing in no time!
  4. Freshness also promotes a quick response. If your display is filled with foods ensure freshness is at your forefront. The amount of dusty cakes I have seen in a bakers window always makes me want to run for the hills! You want to make sure that your foods, cakes and preserves look like you want to eat them. Use artificial props to create a feeling. For example add olive vines to a deli display, add grape vines to a wine & champagne display and decorate your barrels with hops!
  5. Display one single item only. Premium products are often displayed in this way, how many times have you seen one Mulberry handbag in a large window? Give the impression the item is unique, create desire, create the want, create the need. Don’t be fooled though this will only work for a recognised premium brand, there is no point in displaying an economy pair of shoes in this way, customers will think it’s the pair nobody wants!

Remember your window needs to be eye catching. Use different materials and substrates, be creative, be seasonal and keep it colourful. With todays technology it is possible to print on almost anything, use this to your advantage. Create great dramatic back drops with printed corrugated plastic, metals and tiles and add materials to create layers and interest.

The world is your oyster so take the bull by the horns and get creative!

How to beat the January blues?

pos-blog

January is commonly known as a depressing month, everybody is short of cash, the nights are long, the festivities are over and it’s cold outside! How do you beat the blues, bring in the customers and keep your spirit (and profits) high.

Think of a promotion it could be 2 for 1, a free glass of wine with a main meal or kids eat free. Whatever the deal the right kind of POS is needed to make sure your efforts aren’t wasted and your promotion is a roaring success.

Banners

Printed PVC banners are a great way to shout your offer from the hill tops! Not only are they economic, bright and colourful but they can be displayed outside on a wall or fence and seen from a distance.

Chalkboards

Chalkboards and blackboards are a necessity all year round, but really come into their own during a promotion.

Blackboards are available in a variety of forms including wall mounted and counter standing, for internal and external use, you will be sure to find one that suits your needs.

Chalkboards have the edge on posters, they can be wiped clean in seconds and re-used as and when needed, you can change your offers as demand dictates. If you run out of Leek & Potato Soup you can offer the Duck Pate!

Snap Frames

Snap frames can be wall mounted almost anywhere, are economic and are available in a variety of colours.

For additional advertising display your offers on the back of toilet doors, in your entrance and behind the bar!

Leaflet and Menu Holders

Promote your message from early December to encourage your Christmas visitors to return in January.

Display your leaflets in a simple acrylic holder, these can be positioned on the tables, at the bar and on the wall of the entrance.

Don’t forget to place in rooms if you have a hotel or guest house. Multi-faceted holders are perfect for displaying promotions and provide a cost effective solution for all business.

Tips to Build Your Business Through Effective, SMART, Promotions.

EaziWipe Sandwich BoardTo get the maximum from your promotions they need to be SMART:-

Specific

Know precisely what you want from your promotion and how you are going to run it. Try to plan as much detail in advance as possible.

Measurable

You need to be able to evaluate the success of your promotion, so if you can identify your position before you run the promotion, you will be able to see better if you have achieved your objectives afterwards.

Achievable

Be realistic about what you will get from the promotion.

Relevant

Make sure the promotion is appropriate to your consumers and/or your potential consumers.

Timed

Set yourself a start and end date or time. This will allow you to measure volumes/profit.

And finally…
If it works, consider running it again.
If it doesn’t work, do not despair! Maybe try the same promotion but with a different offer/prize to test what motivates your consumers. Alternatively put it down to experience and try another promotion on a small scale to start with and see if that works instead.

Patrick Huggins – Director