Marketing to the Hard Sell

In a bad economy it is difficult to sell any product that is not an absolute necessity. On the other hand in a good economy the sale of these goods require little marketing. There are companies however, that face the daunting task of marketing products that are a hard sale no matter the condition of the economy. This paper will focus on the television manufacturing and funereal services industry to discuss the issues facing companies who must market products that are not an easy sell as well as discuss the impacts the exchange relationship when the customer does not want to be a customer. Issues facing companies who must market products that may not be an “easy sell In the age of technology companies seek to stay ahead of their field by being the first to come up with the next new trend. In the television manufacturing field as with so many others this has held true. In the late nineties the world was introduced to high definition televisions. Their sleek flat panel design allowed them to hang on walls making it captivating and an easy sell to those looking to buy a new television along with those looking to keep up with the trend of the day. As more and more manufacturers enter the market for them, the sale price was low enough for them to show up in many homes, replacing the bulky version of old regardless of whether or not they were still in good working condition. While the entrance of several high definition television manufactures was good for the customers, it required companies to lowers their prices which lowered their profit per item. This paved the way for the next new wave in television viewing to emerge. The invention of three dimensional televisions is another intriguing product in home entertainment however; their emergent would not be as easy of a sell as the high definition television. The first issue facing the sale of this product is the fact that many homes are in possession of their not so old high definition television. In an unstable economy, it is difficult to get consumer to give up their perfectly fine old stuff for an improve version of the same thing. Not only is this what three dimensional television manufacture’s face, but the auto industry also. Marketing professor Stephen Hoch (2008) suggested, “Retailers also face situations where consumers hesitate to buy a new product because they have a similar product that still works”. In the auto industry there is an easy fix
for this issue, offer to accept the trade of the currently owned car, which can be resold and perhaps in some cases make a small profit for the auto sales company taking possession of it. This however is not so easy when it comes to the sale of televisions. Transportation for many is a necessity a new television set is not. Therefor even with a trade credit it is not worth the upgrade cost. Spangler (2010) writes “The CTAM/Nielsen study found the most commonly cited reasons for lack of interest in purchasing a 3DTV include the cost of the set (68%), having to wear the 3D glasses (57%) and not enough 3D programming (44%)”. The exchange relationship when it comes to 3D Television is not about whether or not consumers want to buy or even the selection of a better target market, it is simply that there cost outweighs the wants of consumers. Impacts the exchange relationship

The relationship differs when it comes to funeral products and services. The consumer in this situation does not want to be a consumer; devastating circumstance has brought them to a place of need therefore, the greatest impact in this exchange relationship is emotion. Companies who deal in such capacities should approach this relationship with caution. Those workers dealing directly with the consumers in this case are on the front line of the company’s marketing strategy. In many cases these consumer lack knowledge of the products and services being offered, and perhaps too emotional to care, which makes for a time to take advantage of a consumer. However, it is in the best interest of the company to proceed with caution, care and concern. Mullins (2010) writes, Many exchanges are necessary for people and organizations to reap the benefits of the increased specialization and productivity that accompany economic development. But such exchanges do not happen automatically, nor does every exchange necessarily lead to a mutually satisfying long-term relationship.

Although consumer buying funeral services are not there because the want to be there, they do have a need. Because there is traditionally very little marketing efforts made to increase popularity amongst competitor in this field it is up to those on the front line of sales to create a positive experience. This in itself is a type of marketing, and creates a mutually satisfying and hopefully long term relationship. Along with consumer loyalty
word of mouth advertising, means a great deal for companies that are in a position to sell to consumers who don’t want to be consumers.

Marketing to the right consumer is a tough task with any product when there is a weak economy. The task becomes even greater when the products are not wanted buy consumers. Cost plays a big role and is an issue for both sides of the exchange relationship. A customers needs also plays a role. A company’s ability to forecasts what consumers needs and wants are as well as what they will be will to pay are all issues that companies face with a hard to sell product.