Marketing is Never About the Product or Service We Are Selling
Marketing is never about the product or service we are selling – it is about the benefits our customers or prospects will enjoy from using that which we are selling. One of the most egregious marketing errors a company or organization can make is to look at a marketing campaign from their own point of view. This approach is contrary to the very notion of best marketing practices.
Without ever having the conscious thought, we assume that everyone else has the same level of knowledge about our product or service as we do. Whenever the marketing director or copywriter creates ad content or website copy that says something such as: “We provide simple solutions to complex problems,” or “We will meet or exceed your greatest expectations,” you have not connected with the client or prospect on any level, and you might as well have saved your money. The copywriter probably had a number of solutions or expectations running through his or her head, which is all well and good, but they need to be put into the ad copy. The problem is that this kind of typical “sales speak” does not recognize the complex problems or greatest expectations that live in the mind of the prospect, and connect them with the exact features of your product or service that will solve their dilemma.
Do yourself a favor. Grab a pen and a pad of paper, sit down someplace where you will not be disturbed, and ask yourself a couple of questions. First: What is my company selling? Make a list of what you think you are selling until you are out of options. Next, ask yourself what your customers are buying: make another list until you can’t think of anything else to write. Then take a moment and place yourself squarely in the mind of your clients. This may take a few minutes, but it is time well spent. Now, look at your company, product or service using the exact perspective your average client would use. If your customers are buying what you think you are selling, congratulations. If you notice a disparity between that which your customers want and that which you believe you or your company is providing, it is time to change the channel and develop new messaging and imagery.
I’ll give you an example. I once met with the Marketing Director of a fairly large moving company that did about 80% residential and 20% commercial business. Their residential business had been sliding for some time and they were seeking fresh ideas. When I asked him what his company was selling, he replied: “We have more trucks than anyone else, we have a tremendous amount of storage space, and we have more crews available than anyone else.” I then asked him what his residential customers were buying. He replied: “The fact that we have more trucks, more crews, and more storage space than anyone else.” I suggested that it was more likely his residential customers were buying a picture of themselves, standing in the middle of their new living room, with all of their furniture in its properly designated place, unbroken, and on-time. He did not think this was such a great idea and did not hire us.
The fact is that your customers and prospects are purchasing what your product or service can do for them. They very often don’t care what color, size or finish it comes in as long as it provides them the benefit(s) they need. Marketing is never about the products or services we are selling. It is always about the benefit our clients and prospects will receive when they take delivery.