In the latest issue of Intelligent Life I read with interest an advertising feature by Jaguar on the subject of a new group of consumers, described as “transumers”.
You may not be able to read the words on this copy of the ad – I’ll do my best to paraphrase.
“Things have moved on since the “greed is good” heyday of the 1980’s”.
Today’s modern symbols of wealth have diminished in favour of the luxury “experience”: boosted in part due to the growth of experiential marketing strategies, where what you feel when using a product transcends the existence and price of the product itself.
This trend predates the global financial crisis, according to Bloomberg News, luxury goods purchases dropped 21% for each affluent consumer in the third quarter of 2007, while spending on buying and renting experiences gained 11% according to Unity Marketing, a research firm in the USA.
The trend towards the purchase of an experience rather than a distinct product has been called Transumerism (trendspotting.com).
So here is my suggestion.
That the “positive differentiation” that will ensure the survival of the independent practice (in the face of competition from retailers and corporates) will be the extent to which they can provide an “experience”, rather than dentistry.
An enhanced smile may be the outcome – but it will be the way you deliver it that will make the difference.
Once again – evidence that “service will be your competitive advantage”.
Back to my story of a recent visit to a Maserati dealership in Manchester – who delivered zero customer service and have yet to call me.
A forecourt full of £100,000 cars – and lazy twerps in suits. Goodbye Maserati.
Or one of my best mates, who drove 250 miles yesterday to view a potential investment property (holiday let).
He arrived at the door of the property at 13:00 (as arranged) and simultaneously received a text message from the estate agent to say the viewing was cancelled because they didn’t have a key.
Then a 250 mile drive home.
This, for a million pound property?
My dearest wish is that the real recession (which is about to start) will clear the last of these dodos out of the system.
Sometimes an endangered species just has to become extinct.
How is your customer service?