Our home renovation is nearly complete. We’re less than one month away from moving in. HOOYAH! This is my wife’s and my “forever” home. In other words, we hope to “age in place.” However, to remain in our forever home, we need to take steps to remove “vertical” steps. Accordingly, we are installing an elevator for a time when we may not be able to negotiate stairs, regardless of the cause.
The elevator is undoubtedly cool. It has a clear cylindrical design, affording a 360-degree panoramic view. The company, Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators, LLC, refers to it as a vertical transportation vehicle within a bubble. It neither uses pistons nor cables. Instead, it is powered by air! “Beam me up, Scotty!”
Sales and maintenance are provided by more than 250 dealers worldwide. In many areas, potential customers can choose to purchase from a few authorized dealers. Each dealer carries the same PVE products at the same manufacturer’s list prices. There are no differences in the physical product (i.e., the tangibles) from one dealer to the next. So then, what might persuade you to choose to purchase from one dealer over another? Intangibles!
The “whole product” is comprised of tangibles and intangibles. The tangibles are the product’s physical properties—what comes in the three boxes shipped to my home. For example, in the case of the Apple MacBook Pro, it is the laptop computer and accessories. The intangibles are things outside of the box that serve to add value to your purchase. These intangibles include servicing, financing, personal instruction, etc. The Apple Genius Bar is an example of an intangible. You won’t find the Genius Bar in the box when you receive your MacBook Pro, but it is an important contributor to the whole product and a potential customer’s decision to purchase it over a PC.
A prospective elevator purchaser called me to inquire if I was satisfied, not with the elevator but, with the dealer. He explained that he already has a PVE in his current home. Specifically, he has the 3-passenger, wheelchair version and is extremely pleased with its performance. His wife is not ambulatory. She’s totally dependent upon a wheelchair to get around, and the elevator is essential to negotiate from one level of their home to another. This purchaser told me he plans to install the same model PVE in a second home, which is in Florida.
Now, this prospective purchaser can choose from one of three dealers. Again, the product is identical regardless of the dealer he chooses. However, he is interested in dealer maintenance and, importantly, responsiveness. The dealer needs to be able to remedy any problems with the elevator, within 24-hours. Otherwise, his wife will be left stranded on one of two floors until they can repair the elevator. It is about QOL (quality of life) for her—and him!
Maintenance skills and responsiveness do not come in the box. Nor are they physical properties of the elevator. Instead, they are intangibles representing a tangible difference in customer preference for choosing which dealer to make his purchase. The intangibles will have a profound impact on his expectations and experience.
Intangibles can prove transformational in going beyond selling products to creating experiences that inspire customer loyalty. Use them to build your whole product and drive customer preference.
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Stay SAFE and be well.
Peace and best wishes,