by: David Whitaker
Many Mon Ethos athletes are sponsored by companies that sell a product. Many of our athletes anticipate selling thier own product. These products range from clothing to supplements. The below was composed to help the Mon Ethos athlete have a basic understanding of why customers purchase a product.
All purchases are fueled by raw human desire. There are no exceptions. However, there’s a terrible phenomenon in business where the owners and entrepreneurs of today’s era live perfectly unaware of the true reason that their customers are willing to spend their hard earned cash. Without a clear understanding of this motivation, all efforts of marketing and business are diluted down to a weak and mild form of what they could have potentially been.
In marketing, this term is “utility.” Utility simply implies that the purpose of an item speaks volumes about the way it should be presented. Utility is the single most important part of a purchase, and focusing on the reason someone might buy a product is the lone reason that the subject of marketing exists. All masters of the marketing universe have some deep, intimate understanding of the human mind, and pushing towards the psychological side of sales is a wise choice for the hopeful business owner, entrepreneur and wet-foot amateurs. The easiest way to grasp the basics of marketing psychology is to take a close look at the documented types of utility and what exactly they imply about the customer.
The Utility of Form
Form or formation of a product is arguably the largest, most relevant type of utility. In turn, that makes it arguably the biggest market and reason for purchase in all of the world’s economies. Form utility is the process of creating a product from materials, putting it in places where it can be easily purchased and allowing natural desire to do the work.
Fast food is a great example of form utility. A large order of fries might cost 20 times the price of a potato, but people are more willing to buy the potato in french-fried form. The same is true for everything from luxury cars to frozen orange juice: the finished product is worth more than its parts. The formation of a product can be quite simple or quite advanced, but the end result is a finished structure that is easier to buy than it is to create. The harder it is to create, the more likely it is to sell.
The Utility of Placement
You can interchange place and placement when describing this utility. The concept, however, is quite simple: you must locate any product in a position where people can access it as easily as possible. A company selling frozen french fries must secure shelf space where customers are likely to buy their product, but a company selling cooked fries has a much more strict, narrow window of placement.
Placement is one of the most significant elements of marketing and business. A company can increase their sales far beyond their previously-assumed potential by simply finding a better location, advertising medium, or another source of customers. There are most certainly products that exist in the world that could easily make someone a millionaire if they weren’t sitting in the wrong location. A produced product is temporarily worthless without the ability to capture the attention of likely buyers, and place utility is the reason that advertisements exist in the first place: they are designed to make people seek out the location of a product. They also attempt to secure a sale, but closing a sale is not necessarily associated with utility.
The Utility of Time
The art of being available is an entirely different aspect of marketing, and it is one of the key separating factors of simple products and timely purchases. A great example of this is a tow truck company that never closes its doors. During the early morning hours, the company would easily be able to secure sales over their competitors that are not open for business at that particular time. Another example of this could be the 24-hour grocery store, pharmacy or shopping center. These businesses capitalize off of the understanding of time utility. This can also be seasonal, as costume stores tend to fade away after Halloween, and snow cone shacks tend to disappear with the cold weather. Ice cream trucks are rarer in the winter, and this speaks of changing human desire at different points in time.
The Utility of Possession
Possession Utility comes from the desire to hold or own something. An excellent example of this is gold: it has no inherent value. It’s just a shiny chunk of metal, and it is typically purchased to be held. However, it has value if sold to the right people, and so the mere act of possessing gold is valuable and thus likely to trigger purchases. The stock market and foreign exchanges are founded on possession utility, as the only reason people buy stocks is for the sake of holding or selling them.
However, possession utility also implies that the item may be used for whatever purpose that the buyer chooses. A great example of this side of possession is with edible seeds: the buyer may purchase them to eat, but they may also grow more food out of the seed. There are plenty of examples of dual-purpose items, and this means that some products and services may have two or more completely separate audiences with different reasons for buying.
The Utility of Image
If the gold we mentioned earlier was fashioned into a necklace, it would have a new value associated with it. While this falls into the category of form utility, what is the actual reason for the desire to own the necklace? It presents a particular visual, emotional or social stimulation for buying. Any purchases that are merely cosmetic fall into the category of image utility. Another good example of this phenomenon would be in products designed to whiten teeth that are otherwise healthy. If the teeth are healthy, and whitening is purely a cosmetic choice, the value of the whitening products is in its image utility.
Where to Go From Here
Start looking at products through the lens of utility. If you’re interested in creating your own products or offering your own services, they will always have one or more forms of utility that drive the desire to buy. Whatever utility the product offers is what you should emphasize, and this concept comes in very handy when demographic data, trends and advertising mediums combine in harmony. The basic understanding of utility is what sets amateurs from rookies apart, and the art of presenting utility is the beating heart of marketing.