User perception is a very powerful tool in your small business marketing toolbox, but are you using it effectively in your marketing?
My roommate’s new shoe rack
My roommate purchased a new shoe rack recently. The components of the item were quite neatly packaged and required “some assembly” (namely a euphemism for the less desirable “no part of this item has been assembled; all you are getting is a bag of parts and a badly written assembly guide” description). He assembled the item in the kitchen and then positioned some shoes on it to test it out.
That burst of activity occurred several days ago but the shoe rack sill remains in the exact same location in the kitchen where he positioned it, along with its constituent shoes. But that’s not the point of this blog post; rather the user perception of the item is what interests me.
The design of the shoe rack is such that, when viewed from the side, it appears to be falling forward. Obviously it has remained stationary and completely vertical for several days now, but each time I look at it that sense of forward motion persists. I’m sitting at the kitchen table as I write this post and the side of the shoe rack is in my direct line of sight; each time I look up from the keyboard I see the side of the shoe rack and experience the perception that it is falling over. Regardless of the item’s solid design my perception of it paints a very different picture.
How does this relate to anything?
You might be asking how any of this relates to anything so consider this: my perception of the shoe rack is skewed because of my relative position to the item. My perception is applying a characteristic to the shoe rack that is not accurate and yet, because of my viewing position, that characteristic is very real to me. If you apply this concept to your business, it’s possible that your limited (or lack of) success in the market place relative to others is due to your customers having a skewed perception of your product(s) and/or your company. In other words, in order to properly market to your customers you need to first know what they seeing and how they are interpreting and internalizing, it.