What We Can Learn from Children About Marketing
They should be marketers, quite frankly.
Passive learning – from us – definitely isn’t the extent of our youth’s capabilities. In fact, we may be seeing some role reversals in the teacher-pupil dynamic. Children’s intrinsic negotiation skills and ingenious communication tactics, in particular, are evident. They remind us that we’re practically born with advertising skills in some way or another that we may be forgetting as we age, prompting us marketing professionals to perhaps rethink or refresh our understanding of sales techniques.
President of Eden Advertising Esther Willinger says that there are four fundamental, and yet powerful strategic values that children demonstrate all the time – we’ve just never really given them much thought from a marketing perspective! Now is the time to capitalize on and incorporate them into our own advertising strategies.
Firstly, and perhaps most principally, is to effectively persuade customers into accepting offers. Children generally look for articulate means to ask for something, and this is an exceptional practice when it comes to desires of grand proportions. They will likely come up with various, logical reasons as to why the object of desire is not only beneficial to them, but also to the rest of the family. This mission statement will usually close with politely creative pleases and thanks after they find common ground with their parents on all of their points. It is important to formally guide customers through the informative portion of the sales pitch so that they are more likely to understand and agree to it, minimizing any potential confusion during the interaction.
In the event that the customer rejects the proposition, however, it will pave the way for a secret weapon mandate: (2) turning that no into a yes. To do this correctly, it is first crucial to carefully listen to a customer’s reasons for their rejection. Children can demonstrate a surprising amount of patience during this part of the discussion, and will then offer new arguments and perspectives that they think will help the parent better understand and identify with their initial postulation.
In the best-case scenario, parents will find themselves agreeing to the offer, which may very well indicate that they needed clarification and an incentive before accepting the proposal. Thus, it may not always necessarily be the case that a customer isn’t in need of the offered product or service; their specific needs and concerns require attention in order to retool and optimize the sales process.
It is important to remember that, just like parents, every customer is different. Their individual issues necessitate thorough investigation to uncover why they exist, so that salespeople can remedy those difficulties through their products and services. Constructive solutions and genuine consideration of a customer’s concerns increase the likelihood for marketing success.While on the topic of incentives, parents sometimes simply won’t budge, even after all the pretty persuasions.
They could use some motivation, and this is where (3) the pretty promises come in. Children will often go the extra mile and assure that they will do things, such as completing small errands before heading to bed or school, doing their homework or practice their co-curricular activities without being asked, or possibly even reading in bed! Parents who find value and enticement in such offers are much less likely to refuse. This doesn’t mean that the children are off the hook, though!
Parents can be sure to constantly evaluate the degree to which children keep their word, hence measuring the pitch’s worth. This same scenario applies to all customer interactions; there will be times when customers are unsure whether to proceed with a transaction, and may be allured by useful proffers: an exchange or return policy, a price adjustment, a free trial or discount, or a money back guarantee.
Given all their hard negotiating, children are also more likely to (4) commit to the agreement, once they realize the implications of their promises. They know that they cannot maintain the agreement if they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain. This is also true of the sales force-customer relationship; marketers work hard to gain the trust of their clients, and know that it is cost-efficient to keep them satisfied rather than continually trying to reel in new ones. That’s why it’s incredibly important to exceed expectations, so that customers will stay with the business, and even recommend its assets to their peers and colleagues.
We may want our children to eat healthy foods, but there is certainly food for thought here as well!