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The Four Components of the Utility Marketing Model

The utility marketing model helps business owners design marketing campaigns that appeal to the psychological motivations that drive consumers to make purchases. Because marketing strategy is an important part of your brand-building efforts, it’s a good idea to craft your marketing for maximum appeal. Marketing is more effective when you include the four basic utilities, or values, that products offer consumers.

Form Utility

The utility of form refers to the appeal of a finished product. Companies often do market research to get a sense of which version of finished products consumers like best. While large companies may use pricey market research companies to find out this type of information, you can conduct market research easily by asking your customers which version of a product you sell they like the best. For example, say your small business specializes in hand-forged knives. You could set up a display, ask customers to pick which handle styles and blades they would buy, and invest in marketing the knives customers like the best.

Time Utility

The utility of time, or timeliness, takes into consideration everything that goes into making products or services available to consumers right when they’re ready to buy. Business that are good at making products or services available to consumers in a timely manner have an easier time convincing them to buy. Factoring in the utility of time connects to inventory management and involves inventory and operations planning such as product manufacturing and shipping. For example, Amazon addresses the value of time utility with its Amazon Prime membership program, which offers members free two-day delivery to get their purchases fast. And to illustrate what happens when a business doesn’t consider the utility of time, consider that a taxi company might not be very successful if its marketing materials mentioned it being closed during rush hour.

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Place Utility

Place utility addresses convenience, an element of the marketplace that is increasingly important to busy consumers. A business can create increased place value by leasing stores in convenient locations. For example, if you run an interior design business, you may get a lot of business if you set up shop near a furniture store and market that fact to potential customers. Place utility can also apply to online businesses. Having a mobile-friendly website gives you access to the millions of consumers who buy goods and services from their smart devices.

Possession Utility

The utility of possession simply means the satisfaction a consumer feels from buying a product or service. For example, you can boost the possession utility by marketing a product's many uses as a benefit. You can also increase utility of possession by offering financing, which allows a consumer to enjoy the product or service immediately while paying little or no money for it. There are endless ways to market products and services to make them more appealing to consumers. Highlighting features to communicate the values in the utility marketing model can help attract more customers and increase sales.

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