Marketing High-Risk Products

Marketing a high-risk product is *vastly* different than marketing a consumer product that carries little or no risk. As everyone knows from personal experience we choose a professional advisor, a doctor, an attorney, or a stockbroker with much more care than we buy soft drinks or even automobiles. With high-risk products (or services) the customer has more at stake and looks for objective sources of evidence about the provider's methods and abilities.

In the world of high risk the customer will not rely on the word of the provider. The customer’s decision process is based on finding objective information from reliable sources, something the vendor cannot provide. Have you ever had someone call and ask you what kind of computer he or she should buy? This is a common method of lowering risk by gathering objective evidence.

Although solar power may not be considered high risk from a technical point-of-view, it is certainly much riskier than the alternative of obtaining electric power from the local utility. Consumers perceive solar to be high risk "relative" to Ready Killowatt.

With low risk products, there is little or no penalty for making the wrong decision. Marketing low-risk products relies on name recognition, image and branding because most products in a given category are interchangeable, plus customers accept the claims of the provider at face value. When was the last time you called a trusted friend to ask what type of cereal or milk to buy? Or called the Coca Cola Company to ask if they offer 24-hour support? We just automatically believe that Kellogg's knows how to make Corn Flakes.

Marketing solar power as if it were a low-risk consumer product is a fatal mistake.

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