Marketers should consider consumer favourites

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I was chatting to my nephew on the WhatsApp chat platform the other day and when our conversation had died down, I noticed that his status was, “I am going where my heart is . . .”

I imagined the nostalgia and how exactly he would feel when he landed in Bulawayo the land of his birth.

Being a marketer at heart, I related what would soon be his experience with that of the experience of a relationship with a brand.

Brands must form a relationship with their user. While I was still thinking about this I recalled how attached I was to Athienitis SPAR back then when I lived and worked in Harare.

My car “knew” the way to Athienitis SPAR, a shop that I visited every single day as long as I was in Harare from the time it was opened. I imagine now that my heart was there. The service was superb, the product range out of this world and the shop had a lot of ambience. So while it was far from being the cheapest, I resonated and was faithful to their brands.

Going into 2014 shrewd marketers will know that lip service will no longer sell their brands.

A marketer’s line is meeting the needs of clients and consumers. This line will need to be put into action as the market place is constantly changing and the consumer is largely the decision maker.

Gone are the times when any product can be pushed to the consumer. The consumer is now pulling only that which he or she thinks highly of given that liquidity is not as obvious as it was in yester years.

Many consumers will be going where their heart is. For some it could just be as easy as going to a shop that has the right ambience and is very clean. I am reminded of the time when Greens Supermarket rebranded and opened shop in George Silundika Avenue in Bulawayo.

It had the very same effect Athienitis SPAR had on me as a consumer.

This has, however, changed greatly, a story of how Greens Supermarket has failed to keep this consumer satisfied and what is my gripe, one may ask?

It is the fact that that cleanliness that they once had is gone. I walk into the store now, in most instances just to accompany my sister, and I look at dirty floors and the dirty till points and I am almost always positive that I could not spend a dollar of my hard earned cash there preferring to shop at OK Mart or Bonsa SPAR.

You see, sometimes all a consumer may need is just the cleanliness of the shop and this is not too much to ask for from a retailer than for them to lose a basket full of purchases on each day.

Going into 2014 marketers will need to pay attention to the least of details to keep their customers or clients happy. A customer may ignore a higher price if the place is clean and the service is quintessential. A personalised service is also not difficult to attain.

Attentive staff manning the floors will remember their customers and address them by name. I pay a little bit more for a haircut at Lloyd Banks Hair Salon because the proprietor knows me by name, has a very clean environment and has personalised towels.

This is the standard that consumers far and wide will be expecting from all marketers in 2014. Competition will be stiffer as each business ups its game.

Last weekend I went shopping for fragrance at Edgars Bradfield. The service there pleasantly surprised me. Fragrance is not cheap, and when you are spending a lot of money on something the service has to be remarkable and you have to be encouraged to come back again and again for another purchase.

Well done Edgars Bradfield! So there you go marketers. Brand Savvy consumers will be going where their heart is in 2014. That place has to be good to your business and to your brands.

May the holidays be a time of reflection and positive changes as we seek to protect the return on investment! Till next week, keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy!