Selling in 3D

It’s all about ‘3D’ at the moment. 3D movies, TVs and even phones have moved to cash-in on the fad. It’s important to think ‘3D’ for your business’ marketing efforts too. The need to be market-oriented in your provision of a good or service to customers has been well-documented in marketing circles, and here I outline a simple way to categorise where you’re at with your selling efforts.

One-dimensional selling

I describe 1D selling as a hard-core product orientation, where the sole focus of a business is the good/service it produces. This is a very dangerous strategy, as it can often mean that the needs and wants that exist in the market are neglected. A one-dimensional approach is not really a selling strategy at all; instead it is assumed that the inherent quality of the good/service will sell the product and therefore no more marketing effort is required. This is a strategy to avoid unless you are the clear market leader with a product that is so far ahead of the market that it does in fact sell itself – think perhaps the first iPod (even though Apple did back the product with significant marketing), Rolls Royce luxury cars or sliced bread.

Two-dimensional selling

2D selling is a more active strategy than adopting a product orientation, whereby the product is linked to the market through marketing and sales effort. The good/service is produced first, and then customers or clients are sought through marketing communication strategies or sales calls. 2D selling is about convincing the market to ‘buy in’ to what is being offered. An example of this was the marketing of Listerine in the 1920s. Listerine was experiencing lagging sales as a medical antiseptic but then was pitched as a remedy to ‘halitosis’, a term that was obscure in the 1920s but caught the attention of the market. Bad breath wasn’t considered a medical condition until Listerine stepped in and created a need (and probably quite a bit of panic!). Sales of Listerine skyrocketed, and it has been quoted that “Listerine did not make mouthwash as much as it made halitosis.”

Three-dimensional selling

A three dimensional strategy involves adopting a full market orientation, where understanding the needs of the market is the priority, and then tailoring the product offering to meet those needs. Instead of hoping that customers will simply ‘buy in’ to what is being offered, the three dimensional business will go one step further and actively change its offering to better serve the needs of specific markets, consumer segments or individual customers. McDonald’s restaurants are a prime example of three dimensional selling with their continual introduction of healthier options to the menu over the last decade. McDonald’s recognised that market demand was shifting as consumers became increasingly health conscious. McDonald’s therefore invested in expanding its menu to include salads, wraps and fruit smoothies to accommodate the market and retain market share against healthier options of take-away dining. If it is within the means of your business, the investment in a three dimensional strategy can have a huge payoff in satisfying customers and encouraging repeat purchases.



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