Remember back in the good old days when TV commercials showed blind-folded people tasting different colas or washing dirty laundry, only to discover that one product was better than the other?
Remember when such blatant product claims met with acceptance from the viewing audience? Remember when we actually believed the claims made through advertisements? Well, those days are long gone.
Over the past few decades, advertising had increased steadily to the point where the average person sees literally thousands of marketing messages each day. And that's had an effect. Today, the average consumer no longer believes the claims communicated through marketing and have grown suspicious and skeptical of marketing in general. The average consumer has been fooled too many times to let another scam pull the wool over their eyes.
There are actually a few specific reasons why this evolution has taken place and we've already mentioned the first one. The fact is that there's simply too much marketing out there. Between TV ads, radio ads, magazine ads, billboards, product placements, celebrity endorsements and the internet, our world has simply become over-saturated with marketing messages.
The second thing is that modern advertising has become deceptive. It's long since been known that the easiest way to lie is to use statistics. There are so many different ways to interpret data that someone could probably convince you of just about anything and have detailed statistics backing up their argument. Marketers have taken advantage of this reality and made incredible claims that appear to be verified by legitimate research. Once the consumer discovers the figures were correct but misleading, the trust level disintegrates. That's what's happened these past few years. Consumers no longer believe the research marketers present.
The third thing that's happened is simply that the marketing messages no longer get noticed. Consumers have become desensitized to marketing messages so most go unnoticed by consumers. Now, the reality remains that the subconscious mind continues to be affected by these messages even if the conscious mind isn't engaged but the impact of a marketing message on the conscious mind of a consumer has diminished significantly.
The marketers who will succeed in the new era are those who give consumers a sample of the product before a purchase decision is required. This phenomenon started with the increasingly unconditional return policies of retailers. Before long, it crossed the purchase threshold such that potential customers could actually sample the product before they made a purchase decision.
This is no different than the sampling stands you find in Costco. People are hired to prepare products and give shoppers free samples so they can make an informed decision. In fact, in more and more product categories, consumers are demanding samples first; value first; benefits first. And if the product meets their expectations, they can consider a purchase thereafter.
The downside is that marketing has become more expensive. Companies have to provide more value before revenue can be expected. But the upside is that customer loyalty is alive and well. You just have to earn that trust directly. If you can do that, the rest of the selling proposition becomes much easier.