Let’s assume you’re just starting your business. You have carried out a market research, you have studied and known your target audience; and you have also build a great product based on the findings of these research. However, selling your products to these carefully research and targeted audience seems a daunting task with the sales fluctuating with time.
So, right now, you’re wondering what do you did wrong?
Is your product flawed? Are you targeting the wrong audience even though you’ve studied them carefully?
Thousands of questions will be flooding your mind, with no right answer to all these questions.
This scenario is the reality of many business owner, and for marketers assigned with the task of promoting and advertising these products.
What if I tell you most of the times the problem is not with your target audience and your product is still great?
In solving this kind of problem, that’s where the term called UTILITY in marketing comes in. You must have heard this term before if you’ve taken any course related to economics.
Utility is generally defined as the ability of a product to satisfy consumer wants. A product or service with utility has the ability to satisfy customer wants or needs. For instance, You’re hungry, and there is doughnut and bread buns available. Assuming, you hate eating bread buns, which one will you choose?
Secondly, would you rather buy a pair of shoes that is one size too small, or the one that fit perfectly?
In both instances I’m very sure you will choose both doughnut and the pair of shoes that fit perfectly. Why? because they possess utility. You won’t choose the other two because you won’t or can’t make use of them. And also, they don’t satisfy your needs or wants.
What is utility marketing?
Utility marketing is the process by which a business communicate the value or usefulness of a product to its consumer. Utility marketing helps to convince the consumer that buying this product will provide utility to them.
Consumer sometimes are confused about how a product can satisfy their wants or needs. It is utility marketing that helps clear this confusion. It also helps provide clarity to the consumer on how the product can satisfy these wants.
Utility marketing model helps understand what motivate consumers to buy a products. Understanding these consumer motives, help you craft your marketing for maximum appeal to consumer. Furthermore, it helps to build your brand and drive more sales.
What are the Four types of utility marketing?
Marketing is more effective when you include the four basic types of utilities that your products offer its consumers. Understanding these basics utilities will help you in knowing different ways you can add value to your products. The four basic types of utilities are:
- Form utility - Time utility - Place utility - Possession utility
1- Form utility
Assuming you’re hungry and you want to eat bread, what will you rather buy; a wheat flour to make your bread or already oven baked bread? The oven baked bread, right? This doesn’t need an explanation, because of the form of these products. This is Form utility.
Form utility is a concept in marketing in which finished product is more valuable to the consumer, therefore the product should be designed in a way that it will be readily available to them. It means a company should develop a product that meets the format, size, shape and scope that customers wants. The only way to do these is to assemble the product’s component together instead of just selling its part as raw-materials.
Form utility is usually valuable and common with physical products, where the consumers already have a picture of what your products should look like before even seeing and buying it.
It is the value a consumer derived in buying a finished product like furniture, electronics, food from eateries and so on. It is hard task for the consumer to buy the different parts of these products, assemble them and turn them to a finished products by themselves. For instance people now prefer a laptop to desktop because of its form. It doesn’t need external CPU, a big monitor, and external keyboard, its all build up into one easy to carry around form- Laptop.
2- Time utility
Time utility is the Utility of a good or service created by its availability at a particular time. You can leverage time this in two ways and make it your business Unique Selling Proposition.
Firstly by season; some products drives higher demand at a particular period of time than others. For example, a clothing shop get to sell more woolen clothes like sweater, cardigan, sweatshirt and the likes during the cold period. While, the reverse is the case during the heat period.
Also, products like food staples and water tends to get higher demand and low supply during the dry season. As a company producing these products, you have to make sure they are available during these period. This will help drive more sales and profit -because products tend to be at a higher price during these periods.
Secondly by urgency; from MacDonald, Domino’s Pizza to Amazon, many company base their UPS on providing you a quick and urgent service. Domino’s Pizza will have their pizza delivered to you within 30 minutes or they refund you. And within a minute of walking into McDonald, you will have their delicious burger in your hand. Also, Amazon Prime membership program offers members free two-day delivery to get their purchases fast.
Time utility has serve has UPS for fast food and quick-lube services. In a nutshell, time utility helps to provide consumer with your product or service anytime they need it.
3- Place utility
Place utility is the process of increasing the attractiveness of a product to a group of consumers by altering its physical location. In a business context, place utility might involve shipping a finished product to a new location that is more accessible to consumers, than the place where it was initially manufactured.
Place utility addresses convenience or ease of access to your products. There are two ways to make sure your products are readily available to your consumer:
Firstly; through convenience stores. You can have multiple convenience stores spread across your target location. In doing this, you should make sure they are located strategically. For instance, small food vendors can locate their restaurant at an area with an active night economy.
Secondly; through online stores or websites. Having a website or an online store will give the people the access to buy your products or services anytime, anywhere and with ease. And to further prove the need for an online store or website; there are over 2 Billion online shoppers in 2020 with e-commerce sales expected to reach $4.2 Trillion by the end of 2020.
Always keep in mind that; no matter how great your product or services or how capable your marketing team is, if people can’t access your product easily, they will always choose your competitors over you.
4- Possession utility
The marketing utility that allows the customer to physically access what they bought, is referred to as “Possession”. Possession utility is the real value customers have while buying a product, and they have the choice to use the product for the purpose it was made for or finding a new way to use the product.
Possession utility is created when ownership of a product is transferred from the seller to the person or business that will use the good or service. In other words, the person or business who purchases the product finds it useful and satisfying only after assuming the full ownership of that product.
For instance, you can’t wear a cloth you admire while it is on display in the store window, can you? Therefore, it has no possession utility for you. But, after you purchase it and put it on, it becomes yours. Same with buying a car, you can’t assume the full ownership until the down/full payment and paperwork has being completed.
Having a variety of easy payment methods like paying in instalment or low interest financing deal will make it easier for the consumer to buy your product.
To get your business to build it brand, drive more sales and retain it customers; you have to adopt utility marketing. You need to communicate to your consumer how your product or service can satisfy their needs/wants. The four types of utility should all be incorporated to make utility marketing more effective.
Your product/services must be in the desirable form the consumer needs. It must be available at the needed time. The consumer should be able to access your product easily. And they should be to use the product for the purpose it has being purchased for.
Furthermore, there are other motives or values consumer seek in some products, you should try and find what value your consumers are looking for in your own products.
Want to leverage utility marketing and grow your business? Contact us at Digprom.