britaYou ever hear of a Brita filter?  I’ve been using one for years.  I’m mostly a happy customer, except for those darn black bits of charcoal, and how dirty the water receptacle seems to get, it’s been fine.  When I went to replace my old one recently, I suddenly realized how important a role perception plays in our buying decisions.  I was at a Costco and automatically picked up the Brita which included 2 filters, stuck it in my cart, and assumed I would just cart off happily.  Instead, I took out my iPhone and started doing some research on whether I was getting a good price social media marketing.

The price search led me to discover there were a lot of really pretty Brita filters.  So, suddenly, I felt like the white one in my cart was not the one I wanted, and wow, how awesome that I could march over to Target and see if they had one of them pretty ones!  And, I would be willing to suck up the few dollars difference for getting only one filter, just for the shiny, pretty one I wanted. Hmmmm.

At Target, I was confronted with another problem – multiple brands of water filters.  I had really only paid attention to Brita and Pur.  They are everywhere.

So, my perception was: since they are everywhere, they must be the best.  

research2Their price point is great, I can find replacement filters easily because they are in the stores I shop in, so I had almost resigned to buy one of the Brita filters, when I, out of curiosity, pulled up an article on my iPhone, intending to compare Brita and Pur. Instead, I was introduced to 3 other brands, and rankings on each!  With just a little bit of research, I got thinking about WHY I buy a water filter.  Not only might it not really be necessary, but if I were really buying the filter to use as a filter, Brita scored LOWEST on filtering out ALL elements concerned.

My perception changed to: I’m a sucker.  I got roped in to pretty colors, and “everywhere-ness” and never even bothered to research whether I was getting what I paid for. Doh!

Through the article, I found out that I could go super high tech and measure each water droplet for crap in my water.  (I knew the gimmick would wear off after one or two uses, so said no.)  Or, I could get a different brand which, supposedly did more of what I paid for, and was ranked to have better tasting water.  So, I went back to Costco and bought a Mavea which came with 6 filters – a year’s supply – so a better deal than the Brita AND so far, I do find the water tastes better (or I’ve been brain-washed to thinking so by that article.)

The other thing I looked at was customer ratings, of course, and a brief idea of how each company replied to complaints.  I wanted to be sure that if I had any trouble with the filter, I would also be able to return it or get some help.

So, what are the lessons from this experience for marketing:

  1. Omnipresence Gets Results.  If you want to be a go-to expert or product in your industry, you need to be as everywhere as you can.  The more we see of you, the more likely we are to trust you and buy from you.
  2. Deliver What You Promise. Whatever it is you do or sell, make sure that if someone were to do a write-up about your product or service, it really does what you say it does, and that you deliver the results you promise.
  3. Ensure Customer Satisfaction. To the best of your ability, if you have unhappy customers or clients, work hard to come to a solution that helps them feel like they got what they wanted, and makes you

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