Getting Customers to Say 'Wow!' Every TimeBy Kathleen A. Martin | Print
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Infomercial pitchmen have proved that it doesn't take superior products to make a sale. Oftentimes, the success of a business is dependent upon its marketing and message. And the trick is making that message memorable.
Ever wish you had one of those million-dollar ideas? Some commercials and marketing campaigns may drive you crazy (think "ShamWow! You’ll be saying WOW! every time"), but that’s the point. Millions of dollars are made every day by companies that have mediocre products but tremendous marketing.
While I’d never suggest that you try to become the next Billy Mays (the pitchman who told us about OxyClean) or Ron Popeil (remember the Pocket Fisherman?), these pitchmen are examples of framing a good, easily understood and compelling message that sticks in customers’ heads. Solution providers often have great products and technologies, but poor messaging and marketing.
Many successful businesses may not have a clearly differentiated product, but they have great marketing, and the message—not the product—is what drives in their customers. It goes without saying that you must have a good product first, but when all features are equal, it comes down to how you package the product that drives customers to you versus your competition. Combine your message with current events, and the result can be very successful.
Here are some examples of combining marketing with hot topics that may have nothing to do with the products themselves.
Pink Slip Programs
Virgin Mobile announced a Pink Slip Protection plan that waives as many as three months of wireless phone charges if a customer is laid off. While wireless plans are all comparable, Virgin stands apart by offering peace of mind to those who fear losing their phones while looking for their next job. You also need a car to get to those job interviews, so Ford, General Motors and Hyundai earlier this year launched payment protection plans, either allowing out-of-work customers to return their cars or have their payments covered. Ford, for instance, will cover car payments up to $700 a month for a full year for drivers who lose their jobs.
Celebrity Aliens Among Us
Who cannot repeat a Hulu ad they have seen in the last three months? Sure, television is bad for you. Hulu celebrity spokespeople (er, actually aliens from outer space) agree with you. But they encourage you to watch more (it will soften your brain) and to watch wherever you are. There is no direct mention of you leaving your television or DVR, but you understand that you are no longer tied to one location. And what may seem "out of this world" actually is the tag line "because we are aliens." Hulu never shares they are a joint venture of Fox and NBC, they also do not highlight their products. They just market the spokesperson and the alien food. (Besides, we’ve all thought that Alex Baldwin is from another planet; this is just confirmation.)
Girls Go Dot.com
Everyone can think of five or more companies that offer domain and hosting services. But say GoDaddy and everyone thinks of a milder version of Girls Gone Wild. Sure, the girls and commercials have nothing to do with hosting or domain services. In fact, you never learn who offers the lowest domain services or if the hosting is comparable or even superior. You just know GoDaddy girls are those girls, and the name sticks with you.
While these are examples of marketing initiatives by major corporations, your business can employ similar techniques. If you are offering services to assist companies offer more for less, consider your marketing messages as they tie to saving money in a down economy. In the age of YouTube and Twitter, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from donning a microphone, stepping in front of the camera and detailing your plans for world domination by using your new-fangled switch or notebook. The trick is to get people to think about your brand and come to you first for the answers. Try it and, just like Vince from ShamWow!, you’ll be saying "Wow" every time.
Channel Insider is interested in how you are differentiating your company. Please share your success stories with me at email@example.com.