Who is the customer? Who is the consumer? In advertising it’s very important to know the difference and keep them in mind when marketing a product.
The customer is the person who pays for and buys the product. The consumer is the person who will ultimately be using it, consuming. It’s not just about making the person who wants to use the product happy. You have to make the customer like the product as well or they won’t part with their cash. Children’s cereals are a good example of this, the child won’t eat the cereal if it doesn’t appeal to them but the parent won’t buy it if they don’t think it’s nutritional enough for their child. ‘Coco Pops’ with its bright yellow box and a friendly adventurous, smiling monkey in the advert stands out as a cereal that is marketed directly at children. Children are drawn in by the bright colours, the fun ad.s and the fact they get to have chocolate in the morning! The adverts are like a very short kids T.V. programme, the monkey battles an evil villain and saves the day within a minute. All this will be very memorable for the child who will then try to persuade their, mum or dad to buy ‘Coco Pops’ on the next shopping trip. But ‘Coco Pops’ doesn’t forget about the parents in their marketing strategy as they know they are the customer. The advert tells the parent the cereal is high in fibre therefore good for your kids, convincing the parent to buy.
Other examples are; toothpaste, washing powder, milk. Someone goes to the supermarket to buy these items but other people in the household will consume them. A man buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend is the customer; the girlfriend will be the consumer, if she says yes of course!
Customer and consumer differ when it comes to Business to Business (B2B). B2B is where one business sells to another. A business that purchases a product from a retailer is called the consumer even although they will sell the product on and are not the ones who will ultimately use the product. Both businesses in this case must think of the end user and who will buy the product. B2B goods are usually goods that will be sold for the buying business to incorporate into their own products, for example a baker may buy a bag of flour that he will then use for making the cakes he will sell in his shop.