Moving the consumer to a new levelFeb 24, 2007
Well, OK, but someone had to buy the jar of coffee so letâ€™s say its real cost was 35p. Yes?
If you popped out to your local sandwich shop or tea room, you might have paid a bit more than that. Letâ€™s say Â£1.20 to Â£1.80. If it was from Starbucks, youâ€™re looking at something more like Â£2 to Â£3.
And if youâ€™re relaxing in a hotel lounge (lucky you), you have probably just parted with anything up to Â£10.
And people say you have to be price-competitive these days? Would you buy a car at 30 times the cost you could buy it elsewhere?
The difference between the car and the coffee, of course, is that youâ€™re actually paying for a coffee experience. The Starbucks coffee brings with it a sense of relaxation, of a calmness among the rush of the world. The large, comfortable chairs and sofas; the huge cups, frothing over so much that you just have to hold them steady.
Even when you order a takeaway, the experience is now so indelibly tied in with the drink that comes with it, in the same way champagne is imbued with glamour and celebration.
Any good marketing professional will tell you that you shouldnâ€™t talk of product features but of consumer benefits. I would take that further and say that you should be looking at how you can offer the consumer an experience.
BMW, for instance, despite possessing a blindingly obvious experience to offer (confident, brilliant driving) stole a march on its rivals many years ago by introducing leather-bound folders and booklets containing lists of prime hotels and restaurants – and immediately made buyers feel like they had become members of an exclusive club.
So the next time youâ€™re relaxing with a coffee, ask yourself this: what sense of experience can I add to my business?
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