Speaker: Make Your Product Unique

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ASPEN, CO -- Marketing is no longer about persuasion. Instead, it's about the seduction of the customer, Paul Wang told attendees at last week's fourth annual Information Privacy Forum.

"We have to make the customer want to be a part of our database and show them what's the benefit to them," Wang, associate professor at Northwestern University, said during his keynote address at the forum, sponsored by The Donnelley Group.

Wang said a marketer's biggest nightmare is that his product is just like his competitor's.

"Then the only thing I can talk about is price," he said. "You have to make sure your product is unique. Then the profit margin will be very high. A good marketer will not lower the price 'so I can sell more.'"

How can a marketer turn a commodity into something unique? Wang offered several suggestions: remove the price tag; bundle additional items with it; personalize it; and create a story around it to get the customer's attention.

"You have to turn the product into an experience," he said. "Often it's intangible. Often it's emotional. But you really have to understand the customer, and that requires knowledge about the customer. Simply adding value without knowledge isn't good. Unless we ask smart questions and collect information, we can never create value."

Wang warned about privacy concerns when gathering this data. Have a privacy policy that is strictly followed, he said, and don't abuse the customer relationship.


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