In my two previous posts, I explained how understanding the laws of the universe and the differences between perception and reality can help businesses to do better marketing. In this one, I take these concepts a bit further to show marketers how they can use gravity -- the least understood of the four fundamental forces of nature -- to improve their marketing.
What is gravity?
In grade school, many of us learned that Sir Isaac Newton started thinking about the law of gravity when an apple fell on his head. Although gravity cannot be seen with the human eye, it is a very real force. This becomes obvious when people slip and fall, drop something that breaks on the ground, or get hit on the head by a falling object. While people can perceive these effects of gravity, scientists are not sure what it is. We see objects fall down or toward a large object, but unlike other forces, scientists have not found an opposing force that can repel a falling object. This and other characteristics make gravity perhaps the most mysterious of the known forces. Even so, we can measure it, and make predictions based on it.
Gravitational force equation
The gravitational force between two objects is described by the equation.
F = G(m1m2)/d2, where F is the gravitational force, m1 and m2 are the masses of the two objects, d is the distance between the objects, and G is the gravitational constant.
Marketing and Gravitation.
Relating this concept to marketing, m1 is the size or importance of a particular customer, m2 relates to the impact of your company and products on the marketplace, and d is the metaphorical distance between you and your target audience. The force of attraction between your product and prospect is proportional to the importance of your prospect (m1) and the combined mass of your company and product brands (m2), and it is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between you and your prospect (d2). Since you don't have control over the mass, or importance, of your prospect (other than you can choose to target companies of sufficient mass), you need to focus on the mass of your company and products and keep the distance between you and your prospect as small as possible. For example, as the distance doubles, the attraction is four times weaker. As it triples, it is nine times weaker. If the distance goes up by a factor of 10, the attraction decreases by a factor of 100! This means that in order to make a bigger impact on your target audience, you need to keep the distance between you and your audience as small as possible while you make your products and company as important (or massive) as possible.
Shortening the Distance.
Distance can be kept short by staying in close contact with customers. You can do this with frequent face-to-face visits. In fact, companies, such as IBM, often assign sales people to exclusively work out of the offices of very big and important clients. Since most companies cannot afford to do this, they can make up the distance with occasional visits, phone calls, direct mailings, emails, social media, and advertising. Advertising tends to work well for consumer products sold to very large audiences whereas personal contacts tend to work better for business-to-business, industrial, and non-consumer high-tech products. Online and mobile communications have become important for all types of products because they are proving to be an efficient, convenient, and inexpensive means of communication between companies and customers.
Increasing Mass, or Impact.
You can increase the mass, or footprint, of your business by using the branding and promotion building blocks of marketing. Any activity that promotes your products, especially if done well, will increase your footprint and importance. Coca Cola has a large mass and makes a large impact because of its brand recognition (its familiar logo), longevity, success record, popularity, and large advertising budget.
Using gravity to formulate more effective marketing strategies.
By using gravity and other universal laws as tools, businesses can craft more effective marketing strategies as illustrated below.
- Corporate Image. By improving their corporate image, companies will naturally attract more customers, employees and other important publics. Most want to do business with the good companies. Therefore, developing strategies to create, manage, and improve a company's image can increase mass, the force of attraction, and business.
- Positioning. By developing unique positions for each of your products, you can attract more customers since they will be able to more easily perceive the unique advantages your products have over competitors. They will gravitate to yours over theirs.
- Product. By creating products that meet or exceed expectations, the desire to own these products will attract more customers and increase their mass, or gravity, in the marketplace.
- Pricing. By implementing pricing strategies that lure customers, companies can create the sales revenues and profits they need to grow their market share and become more massive factors in the market.
- Distribution. More distribution channels and outlets provide greater opportunities for your target audience to find, buy, use and recommend your products. Furthermore, each location comes with sales people and marketing efforts to attract more customers and increase the sales of your products.
- Promotion. In addition to shortening the distance between you and your audience, promotion strategies can dramatically increase awareness of your brand and educate the marketplace about the benefits of your products. Studies show that promoted products are perceived to be better than those that are not promoted. In fact, the brand label "As Seen on TV" can boost the sales of brands that are not well-known.
- Marketing Information System. Studies also show that companies that bother to obtain feedback on the performance of their products are perceived to be better companies. This attracts repeat business and more customers.
If you can apply the concept of gravitation to your marketing efforts, you are likely to shorten the distance between you and your customers, increase the mass impact of your company and products, and exponentially increase the positive force you exert on the marketplace. Good luck.