Sticky Marketing: Real vs. Perceived Value

Everybody perceives value differently. What one person may find useful or special, another can find completely useless.

As consumers, what we find valuable drives the purchases and investments we make. But this trend is not unique to consumers. It is also a major contributing factor in what drives people and companies to create products or provide services: somebody taking the time to develop a new product shows they value an idea enough to attempt to make it a reality.

It should come as no surprise, then, to see businesses aggressively marketing their products and services to the public. They attempt to communicate value to the average consumer in order to get them to perceive their creation from the same perspective, understand its importance, and (ultimately) make a purchase.

Value is perceived thousands of different ways. While you can attempt to sway the market's perception of a product, service, or company, consumers will ultimately make their decision based on their personal experiences. Every element of your brand and its products should be considered when attempting to portray the incredible value of the products your company sells, even an aspect as small as its decal, sticker, or label.

Products, Perceived Value, and Marketing

Marketing and advertising executives have a difficult job: To convince as many consumers as possible that a product or service is more important and more necessary than any other product or service in the world.

Life is busy, and distractions present themselves every single day. Marketing is the art of navigating past those distractions and to communicate to people in such a way that commands their attention and properly explains why they need to take a certain action.

Brands typically advertise their products and services in five different ways. While the following isn't meant to be an exhaustive list, every marketing message should at least hint at these basic elements:

1) Does It Work?

Regardless of what product or service you are trying to sell, it has to work. And In most cases, it doesn't just have to work; it also has to work really well. Due to the technological advances seen in just the past decade, the general public is smarter than ever. It doesn't take long for people to sniff out scams or low-quality products and communicate their thoughts and experiences to their friends—and to the masses thanks to social media—and stop sales of a product dead in its tracks. It doesn’t matter how creative, complicated, or "fail-proof" your marketing strategy is; if the product doesn't work, you won't be selling very much of it for very long.

2) Overall Usability and Ease of Use

Speaking of "does it work," just how well it works plays a large role in a product's success, as well. While most marketing messages skip over the fact that the product or service is sufficient to do the job, some choose to market just how easily it works. Or, maybe the selling point is how quickly it works. For example, one robotic vacuum’s selling point is that it works on its own! Simply charge the battery, turn on the power switch, and walk away and your house will be clean without you having to lift a finger. Which aspect of how well the product works depends on the product you're trying to sell, but it also depends on who your target audience is. If you're targeting young adults, what benefit are they most likely to care about? Chances are, the main benefit according to a young adult will be different from that of the elderly.

3) How It Looks

A close-up of an iPhone with the apple logo on the back

You might have scratched your head when you saw this marketing element included in the list, but think about why you or someone you know loves Apple products. Apple has invested its time, money, and energy in making iPhones, Macs, and iPads look and feel better, more sleek, and more intuitive than other competitor technologies. While the user experience with Apple devices and their software is fairly similar to the competition, it's the design of the hardware and the perception it gives off that attracts millions to the point of purchasing.

4) Will the Product Last Long?

Some products are marketed according to how long the initial investment will last. If a product is easy to use, works well, and looks great, but doesn't last very long, how much are you really getting for your money? Consumers like to know they're maximizing each dollar they spend, especially in difficult economic times. The cost of your item will ultimately determine whether or not an investment by the consumer is worthwhile when durability is not a strength of the product. People will quickly reject what you're selling if the quality (or support) doesn't meet their expectations.

5) How Well It Seamlessly Integrates into Your Life

This is an underrated aspect of marketing products and services. While you can spend millions of dollars to communicate and develop awareness about your product, businesses sometimes choose to speak to the consumer more directly, talking about how their "quality of life" can be improved. Complicated installation steps or confusing sets of instructions can put a damper on a purchasing process that should be exciting and fun. But if the transition from in-store to "in your hands" is simple, easy, and fast, consumers will jump for your product.

What Most Reflects a Product's Value?

If you can purchase something that is easy to use, lasts long, looks great, works great, won't break the bank, and improves the way you go about your daily routine in any way, the marketing campaign for that item will be deemed "successful." However, the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth from consumers who’ve purchased the product and who love it.

This is also known as the product or service "selling itself." Brands that exude value excel in this area. Precedence tells consumers the company is known for credible, top-of-the-line products that enhance consumer's experiences on a daily basis. Wouldn't you want your brand/your company/your business to be associated with those kinds of products and services? Who wouldn't?

The most important aspect of a product's ability to reflect value is the brand that it's tied to. A phone with an Apple logo is infinitely more valuable than one that looks and feels exactly the same as one that’s missing that iconic Apple logo.

All of your products and services have a branded element to them: a logo, sticker, decal, catchphrase—something. Does the way your brand identifies your product reflect the value of your business appropriately?

Decals Can Impact Market Perception

Whether you realize it or not, the branded element on your company's products says a lot about your company. Investing just a few dollars per item more in a three-dimensional decal that's bigger, stands out, and catches the eyes of your consumers will only aid your sales numbers. The people buying your products are more than likely doing their due diligence about every aspect of what you have to offer. Even something as simple as a high-quality decal versus a plain old vinyl one could be the difference between a cold lead and a sale.

Close-up of a liquid handling machine and the decals that brand it.

Recently, a manufacturer from the scientific liquid handling industry approached our decal manufacturing business looking to upgrade their branded decal placed on each of the expensive liquid handling machines they build. The company's branding on the machine was currently nothing more than a cheap vinyl decal, which isn't exactly proper representation for a $250,000 machine.

While there are many, many uses for vinyl decals, they should not be used as the chief branding element on a quarter-of-a-million-dollar machine. Luckily for the client, they called the right number. Our company specializes in a unique decal called a super dome decal. The "super dome" has a three-dimensional quality that makes the decal "pop," but also has a sleek finish that lifts the entire design up off of the surface it's applied to (as opposed to just pouring a layer of polyurethane over the design). These are some of the highest-quality domed decals you'll find on the market today.

Close-up of a domed decal featuring the outline of a polar bear.

So, why were the super dome decals a better fit for this client's expensive machinery? These new decals better communicated the level of value and expertise required to manufacture and sell some of the best liquid handling equipment in the world. They better represent the supplier of the machines for a few reasons:

  • Better appeal—In simple terms: super dome decals just plain look better than your average vinyl decal. When people examine the complexity of the liquid handling machine, they'll be sure to notice the impressive branded decal that lets them know who made this elite scientific tool.
  • Attention to detail—I don't know a lot about the liquid handling industry, but it seems like an intricate profession. I would assume attention to detail and following specific directions is crucially important. A decal that easily peels off or quickly fades away doesn't communicate value, In fact, it can communicate the opposite. These thick, polyurethane domed decals and their technical specifications show the level of detail that's put into them. If the company puts that much work and investment into the decal that displays their brand name, how much more are they applying when they make their scientific equipment? A lot.
  • Longer durability—Super dome decals are going to last longer because more work was put into creating them. Thick instead of thin. 3D instead of 2D. Durable instead of flimsy. The client manufactures liquid handling machines that are meant to last for decades. Shouldn't the brand name on the machine be able to last along with it?

What Do Your Products’ Decals Say About Your Brand?

Just like matching wine with food, there is an ideal decal for virtually every product. But if you aren’t sure if you’ve found the right match for your product(s), don’t worry. We’ve assembled a compact list of questions to ask yourself in order to determine what type of decal is right for your application:

  • What material will you apply the decals to?
  • Will the decals used indoors or outdoors—or both?
  • Do the decals need to be weatherproof?
  • Do they need to have a permanent adhesive on the back or do they need to be removable?
  • Will your existing artwork or branding elements be appropriate for the decal your have in mind or will they need to be altered?

Answering the questions above (and others) can help you determine what type of decal you need to get the job done. For instance, if you are looking for a decal that will stick to any plastic material easily without any worry of ever falling off, an decal using our proprietary Atomic Stick adhesive might be your best option.

Close-up of a GoDecals decal featuring atomic stick adhesive.

While a trailer may need just a simple vinyl cut decal to make a permanent statement, you wouldn’t want to decorate the walls of your office or home with anything but a removable wall sticker or graphic.  

Decals have the versatility to be placed almost anywhere, but if you’re not using the right decal or adhesive, your marketing efforts will not be as efficient as you’d like them to be. If you’ve answered the above the questions, but still have more questions than answers, give us a call. We can help. Which brings us to the conclusion of this piece…

Using Decals to Solve Problems

As stated in our company name, we create solutions. From various sizes of decals to decal materials to adhesives, we help brands use stickers to make their brands stick out. If your company is having a problem with a printed decal or label not sticking, or if you think you have a surface that is "unstickable," don’t worry, there is an option for you, and we will find it together.

Feeling inspired?
Let’s get your project started.

Featured Articles