In marketing, it really doesn’t matter what you are selling; what matters is how your audience is buying.
The late Billy Mays and his business partner Anthony Sullivan knew this well.
At first glance you’d think their products were all about selling things people really didn’t need. If you ever watched Pitchmen, you’d see it wasn’t as much about what they were selling, but what the audience was buying.
People bought OxiClean for a better way to whiten their clothes or Shuffles for an easier way to clean their floors.
Mays and Sullivan didn’t take the product inventor’s word for it either – they went out and conducted their own research to learn the consumer benefits of each product. Only after understanding why the consumer was buying would they put their name behind it.
When I was working with a national pest control company, we were selling their effectiveness in killing bugs. After some ethnographic research, however, we discovered that consumers were really buying the pride that came with a clean home. Bugs weren’t seen as a nuisance or being gross; they were a reflection of that person’s ability to provide a clean environment for their family.
Changing our marketing approach to speak to what people were buying increased sales and customer retention.
Are you selling or are your consumers buying? Answer these five questions to find out:
- Do you speak in terms of product benefits?
- What is the true benefit your company provides your audience?
- Do you know all the ways your audience uses your product or service?
- What is the one question customers ask most often about your product or service?
- Have you addressed that question in your communications other than in the FAQs?
If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, take a step back and look at your entire organization: from how you answer the phone, handle a sales call, promote your company to communicate on your website.
Chances are you’re telling your customers what you want them to hear instead of answering what they need to hear. Remember – the audience is always buying if you deliver what they really and truly want.