I am not a purchasing analyst, nor do I understand the emotions on why I buy certain products, that’s my disclaimer and I am making it early. With that established I will proceed. Sometimes I make purchasing decisions on a feature or function, the product can complete a task or satisfy a need and is the only one suitable for the requirement within my budget. Think Post-it Note at one end, WiFi connected GSM-enabled security system for my workshop the other (only found one!). Other purchases are made on instinct, personal preference and emotion. Examples being: HP Sauce (to me there is no other) or a Belstaff jacket.
The first set of criteria, a unique advantage, is simple to understand, and as a product maker, easy to follow. I deliver class-leading or unique products consumers will buy.
The second one is much more difficult to quantify and harder to predict. This is why the world invented marketers, brand values and anything else you would like to add into this segment. As one gentleman told me recently from a design studio, “if we had 10% of the marketing budget we could do so much more.” This may be true, but would the company sell more cars? Not sure, but I do have this idea: what would happen if the Design Studio Director and the Marketing Director got together and shared some ideas? I don’t mean feedback from customer clinics, market trends and industry research, I am actually referring to the tools they both use on a day-to-day basis.
I’ll get to the point in a second, let’s play the game of Pulp Fiction and start another story and see where these two points combine later in this blog. A good friend of mine runs a business that manufactures bread slicing and packing machines supporting a global market. Like many Small-Medium Businesses, it’s a constant search to find new customers and enter new markets. One way is through trade shows, the other is good old fashioned just meeting the customer face-to-face. The problem he has is that it’s expensive and difficult to ship his machine around the world just to show someone, plus it’s inventory he doesn’t need. After a good glass of red wine (this time very much a personal and emotional choice!) we hatched a plan. We took his 3D CAD model and used Autodesk360 Rendering to create a 3D Stereo Panorama which can be used with Google Cardboard and a phone. For less than £10, he now has a sales machine that he can leave with customers, differentiate from the competition at trade shows and it all fits within carry-on-baggage.
Knock on effect – 15% higher close rate and 30% reduction in sales lead time. So the point I am getting to and where these stories take us, is to ask ourselves this question: “Why should your customers be making purchasing decisions on anything less than what your designers use to make design decisions?”
If your design team is using a head-mounted VR solution, then so should your customers. With the gaming industry democratizing the hardware for VR there is no excuse that an Automotive OEM shouldn’t be able to offer the same experience to both new and existing customers. If I were making an emotional purchasing decision, the ability to experience my potential new car in a fully-immersive 3D demonstration would definitely help persuade me.
Now that the marketing machine has learned from the design studio, what can we learn from the other direction?