One of the common misconceptions with marketing for businesses is the idea that if we tell people enough about how good we are at what we do then at some point they’re bound to buy from us. Not so. Hence re-introducing you to the marketing idea of “selling the sizzle…not the sausage” (imagine that sausage being placed on the barbeque and sizzling away with the associated smoke and gorgeous smells…hungry yet?)
In marketing terms then this could be defined as the good things that will happen to someone when they use your product or service?
Marketing in this context could be defined as what you actually say to your prospective client as well as any written marketing pieces (defined as marketing ‘copy’).
Imagine your marketing (whether written or verbal) as a ‘first date’: when you’ve finished your time together they’ll decide whether they want to continue the ‘relationship’ and meet you again. What would you talk about on that first date?
Would You Talk About Yourself?
i.e. ‘We’ve been established for 23 years and employ 14 people. Our offices are located in…we deliver an exceptional service…’ (you get the idea). If you told your life story on a first date how would you rate your chances of a second meeting?
Would You Talk About Your ‘Products and Services?
We sell a full range of ‘XX’ …..and on and on’. Again, on a first date this might be the equivalent of telling them what a lovely car you have, what a gorgeous house you have and that new flatscreen television that you’ve just purchased. A good chance of a second meet up? Possibly not!
Your ‘Features and Benefits’.
Your most effective marketing will be more focused on features and benefits. What are the concerns of your customer? What problems will be solved? In first date terms this could be the equivalent of taking the time to ask about the other person and find out they’re likes and dislikes – what do you have in common? In effect – we are asking questions and listening with a much higher likelihood of a second meeting.
EveryBody’s Favourite Radio Stations?
WII-FM – What’s In It For ME ?
MMFI – AM – Make Me Feel Important About Myself !
It’s sometimes comes as a shock when I ask business owners to consider that:
- Their customers don’t care that they’ve been in business for 23 years.
- Their customers don’t care how many people they employ
- Their customers certainly don’t care about their business mission or business vision.
So What DO Your Customers Care About?
They care about the features that your product or service has and, more importantly, how this will benefit them.
Features, Benefits and ‘Hidden’ Benefits:
A feature is a fact about a product such as a car that can accelerate from 0-60 miles an hour in 4 seconds. Or it may do 83 miles to the gallon.
A benefit about the same car is that it makes overtaking safer or it’s more economical than many other cars.
A ‘hidden’ benefit may be how we may feel within ourselves driving a car like this and (more likely) how others may see us (status) with our new car sitting in the drive.
One of the most famous copywriting pieces was written by John Caples with the headline “They Laughed When I sat down at the Piano. But When I Started to Play…” If you get the chance look this up on the internet it’s an exceptional piece that sold millions of pounds worth of product – it’s style has been copied many times. Can you spot the features? The benefits? The hidden benefits?
For your own business consider your current products and services:
- Your Marketing: What do you currently say and do?
- What are your product / service features?
- What are your product / service benefits?
- What are your product / service ‘hidden’ Benefits?