What You Make Is Not What You SellTips of the Trade — By Steve Sevell on November 5, 2010 at 8:00 am
Research continually shows that people make decisions emotionally, then justify what they want with logic. So if logic is your first line of offense in your marketing, you’re not addressing a huge chunk of your potential audience.
Whatever your product or service, what you put into it, is not what your customer gets out of it. Features go in and benefits come out. And benefits are almost always felt on an emotional level.
Let’s use a landscape business as an example
What they do −lawn care, landscaping, spring and fall cleaning− is one thing. And those companies that only promote those services are doing themselves a disservice.
They shouldn’t sell the fact they make your grass green. What they should sell is the fact they make your neighbors jealous. Doing that opens up all kinds of new options to stand out from your competition.
They key, of course, is being the first in your community to market yourself that way. Then stick with it.
Pick something unique and be known for it
For instance, Volvo makes cars, but it sells “safety” and now when asked to name the safest car, it’s the company people name. Other attributes often accompany a characterization, so not only is a Volvo the “safety” car, but it’s also the “caring for your family” car.
Folger’s Coffee has tagged itself the “mountain grown coffee.” The fact is, every coffee is grown in the mountains; coffee can’t grow anywhere else.
What they make is crappy coffee, but what they sell is (somewhat) exotic coffee. The point here is Folgers was the first to claim it, so now the company owns it.
One small home builder wondered how it could differentiate itself. After some research, they hit upon something that gave them a unique specialty for a specific audience.
Builders “do” construction, but what this company sold is that they are ”The Certified Aging-in-Place Builder.” That is an emotional appeal to a large audience: people over 60 who want to stay in their homes!
Do a Google search for “Columbus foot doctors” and you’ll see there are a ton of them. So how can one practice stand out from the other foot docs in Columbus?
Well, consider the statistic that 50 percent of foot issues are from bunions. (I never said this would be pretty!) This foot doctor fixes foot problems, but he could market himself as “The Bunion Expert.” Of course, people want to go to an expert for their specific issue. And it opens the door to other services once they have someone on the phone or in their office.
Don’t sell your company, sell what your company can do for your customers
Most small companies think their logo, or at least the name of the company, is what differentiates them. Not true. Your logo is not the best thing to put at the top of an advertisement. Why?
Because your logo is not a benefit to anyone. It’s a waste of valuable “real estate” in an ad, web banner, or any other marketing material. No one cares nearly as much about your company as they care about what your company can do for them. Find a way to make their lives better, easier, more fun, sexier, or solve one of their problems.
Here’s a web banner for a home builder who is making home buying more fun.
Please stop talking about yourself in your marketing
It might seem counterintuitive, but one of the most common mistakes in marketing is talking too much about your company. (These are probably the same folks who put their logo in the headline.)
What everyone really wants to hear is not what you do, but “What can your company do for me?”
Which gets us back to the fact that what you make is not what you sell. What you make is all about your product or service. What you sell is how it benefits the lives of your customers.
So look at your product or service from your customers’ perspective and market yourself as the company that solves one of their problems.
The key is to engage your audience on both an emotional and intellectual level. Because if they can relate, they will respond.
Steve Sevell is owner and principal of Sevell + Sevell, a web design and marketing firm in Columbus's Short North. Visit Sevell.com or the firm's web design micro site at WebDesign-ColumbusOhio.com. Sevell also can be reached via email at Sevell@Sevell.com.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.