Sometimes we forget that to be able to sell a product, requires a customer – or potential customer – to know a lot about the product itself. Technology moves at such a rapid pace, we forget that almost completely new technology will arise and, yet, somehow we need to sell it to new people who have never had any experience with it.
Consider, for example, the landscape of cars. In this difficult, conflicting land, every major company is vying for attention and the cash of potential customers. Yet, how would their marketing strategies work on a completely alien group, on those who had never even seen a car before? If Mercedes-Benz ran advertisements for their new models showing off upgrades to the engine, steering, handling and so on, how could this convince people who don’t know what a car is in the first place? How could you market second hand cars if people had never even driven in a car?
To this a good real-world example for considering is the electric car.
First, people are of course buying cars constantly – but there is an acceptance of what that means in terms of fuel and energy. With electric cars, things are completely different. Here, we need to charge cars, have charging stations and operate on different standards of speed.
Second, these differences mean that people will drive and own in different ways. For example, people who need to drive greater distances without stopping, living in poorer countries, will be using gasoline cars and not electric.
But that doesn’t mean things aren’t changing – so even in these areas, it’s necessary for manufacturers to recognize the future is electric cars. For example, the British transport minister is convinced that by 2040 every car in the United Kingdom will be electric.
This trajectory is so obvious people are already seeing the tide change forever. The Guardian’s Debbie Klein writes:
the arrival of serious premium players like BMW has changed the game. For the first time we have cars which are great to drive, aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective and aspirational. The barriers that were once there for owning an electric car have all but gone.
There’s a two fold story happening that dovetail, when you examine it closer.
First is the recognition that the future just is electric cars – just as the future of the telephone was mobile. Second, more appealing brands designing more appealing models are pushing that change along, by making it no longer the domain of large, “Mommy cars”. The reason places like BMW are pushing is because of the first reason; but the first reason is happening because of the second!
This cycle keeps the momentum going and thus gives us new innovation and changed tastes. This marketing tells us that we need to be aware of how it changes – of how we ourselves must change what is marketed and how. Now more people know and will buy an electric car. What does that mean? How will that alter our campaigns and strategies?
All these kinds of interesting considerations should be at the forefront of anyone’s mind who is even vaguely interested in the ongoing dynamics of sales and marketing.