How Brands Can Use Utility Marketing to Stay Relevant.
By Stacy Ketiku
Utility is an economics concept that refers to the total satisfaction received from consuming goods and services. However, utility marketing is a method through which brands portray the value gotten from the consumption of their goods or services. It highlights elements of a product that make it irresistible to a buyer. Marketing won’t be so much of a daunting task if product managers and business owners pay more attention to creating products that are useful to people.
With several brands springing up, one major reason businesses are forced to closed down is because they aren’t providing the type of solution consumers are aching for. In some other cases, brands could partake in utility marketing by finding out their audience’s pain points and creating solutions that are closely related with their main products, but without any financial implication from the user yet. Although this type of campaign won’t produce immediate sales, it will simply keep your brand top of mind and relevant whenever your product or service is needed. Let’s assume that you are a fitness coach, you can engage in utility marketing by creating a mobile app that displays workout sessions and meal plans for people who are trying to lose weight and stay fit. Give your audience a taste of how useful your platform is by making only the basics free for them, once they are aware of the value you offer, they are most likely to pay to get premium access. That is utility marketing at work; they are ready to invest in your business because they are aware of how useful it is to them.
Before any brand decides to create a product or service, never jump past the research stage. This is where you find out what areas you can give value or provide real solutions to people’s problems. At this point, you will also need to create a buyer persona to identify which section of the population needs your products, as well as other information. Once these have been finalised, look into the 4 areas of utility marketing and decide how to incorporate them into your products or services.
4 Areas of Utility Marketing
When deciding on what products or services to launch, the time factor is of essence. You should figure out if your item is time-bound i.e. only available at certain periods in a year. If you sell things like raincoats, seasonal foods or fruits, summer or winter wears, Christmas trees, and more, you need to consider time utility and ensure that your products are readily available at those times when people need them. In addition, customers also want to know how long it will take before they get value for / satisfaction from their investment; would it be immediate or after a while? You should let them know upfront.
It refers to making your product available in strategic places where your target consumer can find them with ease. Plan to market your products in the places where your ideal customer is most likely to hang out. Some common examples of such places are local markets, online stores, retail stores, etc. The idea is to make it convenient for them to get a hold of your product. This factor is also closely knitted into the laws of demand and supply. When a product is readily available, it tends to be cheaper than when it is scarce or not in high demand.
Before people buy items, they consciously or unconsciously take note of its features, components, raw materials used, and how the end-product was put together. Form utility focuses on how users can attain a level of satisfaction from the general outlook and internal features of a product. Brands try to achieve this by providing varying colours or models of a single item; they want people to have choices and pick whichever suits their needs the most. For example, either a plastic or ceramic plate serves the same purpose although they are made with different raw materials which make them look and feel differently. A customer is likely to only buy any of the plates if it meets their need and preference.
Customers patronise brands for several reasons; it could be to feel classy, affluent, or even more satisfied as a result of owning certain items. This leads them to give out something valuable to them in exchange for the benefits your brand has promised. People exchange money for products, while you might also give out your free resources and get their time/attention in return, etc. Those are all a function of possession utility; it gives your buyer the feeling that owning a certain item will bring them satisfaction or happiness.
For easy marketing, apart from the unique selling proposition of your products, these four areas of utility marketing should be critically considered if you want your brand to always stay relevant in the minds of your customers.