What makes a company successful?...

... delivering products and services that are relevant and create impact among consumers.

I combine my expertise as a Marketing executive in a Fortune 500 company and my passion as an investor to find the Companies that I think have "cracked the code" with consumers. Advertising does work. When I see a new product that fits relevant consumer trends, and that is supported with a campaign that I find particularly shrewd and innovative, I know that Company is potentially a great investment.

One of the great investors of all times, Peter Lynch, recommends to "buy what you know". You watch TV, go to the supermarket and walk around everyday. Observe... look around: what you see can make you money in the stock market. Now, let's be clear: a Company is not good just because it advertises. What we have to look for is great products supported with -and enhanced by- great advertising. The principle is simple: if something is good enough to draw your interest, it will be of interest to millions of persons just like you.

It is my goal to share with the reader my findings in the world of marketing which I think will turn into great returns for investors. Profit from it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Consumer values to look for

In my last post "Cracking the consumer code", we discussed how crucial it was to look for companies that, through their products, are meeting the needs and values of today’s consumers. There are some key values that characterize this generation of consumers. These values are embraced with passion and drive people in their selection of the brands that they trust, buy and endorse. In continuing with the discussion on what to look for when evaluating investment opportunities, in this posting we will review some of the most relevant ones.

Inwardly Driven: Today’s world is exciting for the consumers. In a society of abundance, high living standards and instant connections, consumers can go beyond the satisfaction of immediate needs. The basic problems are taken care of, and consumers increasingly focus their attention and energy in satisfying what Maslow defined as higher-level needs, or, in their terms, higher pleasures. A high pleasure is one that transcends the mere functional and/or sensorial satisfaction, and involves emotional, intellectual or spiritual fulfillment. This pursuit of transcendental satisfaction means that the consumers nowadays are inwardly driven, that is, they are focused on fulfilling their inner motivations and aspirations, and are comfortable with putting their needs first rather than meeting others’ expectations. By contrast -and as a way to complete the illustration of the concept-, a consumer in a situation where the main focus is addressing primary needs –i.e. the post-war era mentioned in my previous posting- would be outwardly driven, because their satisfaction is heavily reliant on external factors –i.e. peers, economy and environment-.

Experiential Enablers: The world is full of possibilities –more than never before- and consumers want to experience them all. In a comfortable and predictable society, their quest is for new experiential opportunities that allow them to enrich their lives, make them fun, exciting and energizing. This is another critical value then: beyond products, consumers are looking for the new experiences they enable.

Authenticity: The third value to review is authenticity, also referred to as being real. Authenticity is a tricky value to grasp, and even trickier to activate. Many marketers hear “authenticity” from the mouths of their consumers, and immediately think of heritage, the original, the first. In reality, all what consumers are asking for is to just being told the truth. To just forget the hype, stop trying too hard, and tell them what a product is, what it stands for and what they can truly expect from consuming it. Consumers are just disappointed with products and companies that promise the stars, when in reality they can only deliver a flashlight. The glamour and glitz I mentioned in my previous posting do just not impress them anymore: they just do not need it. In principle, consumers are just sick and tired of being marketed to with hyped offers and false promises, as if they were fools that can’t see through the smoke and mirrors and make their own choice. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

In my next posting, I will be bringing to your attention a company that is very successfully leveraging these three values to define and support their flagship brand.

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