“There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exist in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception IS the reality. Everything else is an illusion.” I pulled this quote from chapter 4, “The Law of Perception” out of the book I am working through, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. There is a lot to unpack from that so let me give it a try.
Have you ever walked into somebody’s house and thought to yourself, “WOW, these people have no taste!” Come on, you know you have. Is it that they have no taste or that their taste is not YOUR taste. For them, they made a great decision when they purchased that velvet Elvis painting to put over the fireplace. Their perception is that their home is perfect, and for them it is. Do you know anyone that often presents their opinion, or their perception of things as just being right. I do and it is annoying, but that is often times how people see their world. Their opinion or perception of it is right and you are not going to change that. “Truth and perception become fused in the mind, leaving no difference between the two.” Man I love this book.
Companies make marketing mistakes all of the time because they think they are fighting a product battle and they really are not. I am not saying that product doesn’t matter because it does, but for me that is the price of entry. Just because your product might be better does not mean you are going to win the battle with the consumer. Consider for a minute that Serta is the #1 mattress brand in the United States. Is it because of their products? Maybe some, but if it were all about that then they would be #1 in every foreign market they compete in and they aren’t. Is Casper a better foam bed than the others out there? I have seen them and do not believe they are, HOWEVER, they are doing a brilliant job of telling their story and winning the perception battle on line.
We have to understand how people arrive at their beliefs or perceptions, and only then can we hope to change them. Today it isn’t just about addressing your target customer either, you have to get their friends and family on board so that you can make sure the reviews are going your way. Once a wave of people think you stink, that momentum can kill you and before you know it you stink. Its real.
Remember Audi. Not the Audi of today, the Audi of 20 something years ago. They had a problem with quality and “unintended acceleration.” It was not an issue with every car but pretty soon, that is how it was perceived and their brand was hurt in a big way. It is just recently that they have really come back, and I bet if you talk to the executives there, (those that survived), they would tell you that it was one helluva long road.
Are you winning the battle of perception? Does your team think it is just about the product?