“Plop, plop; fizz, fizz…oh, what a relief it is!”
It was one of the most memorable commercial jingles of my growing-up years….annoyingly so.
But this commercial teaches us a wonderful lesson about business and marketing – people buy pain relief.
If you’re selling something, you’re making a huge (but very common) mistake by focusing on describing all the details of the solution itself.
People part with money to have their pain relieved. Not to have their mind informed with excess information.
I’m the customer. I have an upset stomach. I’m going spend money to acquire a solution. Sell me on that – not on a bunch of details that don’t directly address my felt problem.
Don’t offer ____________________________________________________________. Offer relief.
What if Alka Seltzer had gone on the air with a stentorian reading of the following product overview:
How would that have sold? Yet many of us in business go into long-winded explanations of supply-chain dynamics, ecosystem adjancies, and multi-threaded database architectures because we’re so in love with our solutions that we forget why people are buying.
Of course, there’s a time and place for all the details. But only after you’ve convinced me that you’re fixing my problem. Now let’s talk a little tech.
Many of my pharmaceutical companies have spent hundreds – even millions – of dollars on compliance training. You know what they’re really buying? Avoidance of even more millions of dollars of fines (plus attendant PR nightmares) for running afoul of federal agencies. For some, it’s pain relief, and for others, it’s pro-active pain avoidance – but pain is the driver.
If I can help you with that, I win.
So, here’s your marketing homework assignment. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the right side, scribble down all the sweet, juicy, technical details describing the wonders of what you offer (if you’re a programmer or engineer, this is particularly easy to do). Then, write underneath that: NOBODY CARES (unless I’m fixing something).
Then, on the left side, come up with a single sentence – no commas allowed – that describes the main problem you’re fixing. The pain you’re relieving.
Also on the blog:
(by the way, if you’re interested in the history of how Alka Seltzer developed its marketing approach, this is an informative read)