Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Your Irresistible Offer - "Why Should I Bother?" - Part 1 of 19

Hey everyone,

It’s an innocent enough question:

“Why should I buy from you vs. the competition?”

This is the first installment of the "Your Irresistible Offer" series of emails. Approximately once a week you will receive my latest thoughts on how you can make your business more irresistible to your ideal clients.

Before we get into the mechanics of creating an offer - let's take a look at what an Irresistible Offer is and why it is the heart of any marketing you will ever do.

Let's get right to it:

Every purchase is essentially an investment - and the prospect wants to know - “what’s the Return On Investment (ROI)? What do I get for my money? Why should I buy from you vs. the competition?”

Can you tell them?

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To quote Seth Godin, “In the coming years, there will be more clutter, not less. There will be more interactions between customers, not less. There will be more upheaval, more inventions, more technologies, and more fashions, not less. And consumers have always wanted more than they say they want anyway ...”

In short - expect a lot more competition in your industry - not less.

“Why should I buy from you vs. the competition?”

When people ask this question, they want a real answer - not hype. Not slick marketing or fancy salesmanship. It’s a straightforward and totally legitimate question.

* * *

Sadly, all too often business owners create their products and services and then ask themselves, “now, how should I market this?” It’s much more powerful to start with the marketing first and ask yourself, “what is it that they want and need - and how can I give that to them?”

We need to start with the offer. The steak, not the sizzle.

I thought I would start off this series of emails with something really special.

It's hard medicine - but it's good for you.

* * *

An Edited Summary of the book:
Free Prize Inside!
by Seth Godin

Here's the quick definition of a Purple Cow: a product that's remarkable.

“Remarkable" simply means that a customer is willing to make a remark about it. If you can create memorable products, people will talk about them. If that happens, the word will spread and your sales will grow. That explains the success of most every fast growing company of the past ten years.

Lowering you prices without doing anything else is a game for desperate people lacking in imagination.

Most of the time, people are looking for marketing to serve as a magic elixer. They want to know how to use marketing techniques to make the business they've chosen work more profitably with the customers they're targeting. They want to change better-that commodity prices for their commodity products. They usually believe that it is the job of marketing to focus the spotlight on the things they've already decided to sell.

People want marketing to solve their product problems.

But today - it's all marketing because the product or service is the marketing. Marketing is no longer a separate division. It's the whole company. We’re living in an era where the real marketing happens inside the product, not in the ad pages of a magazine.

I say, if your product is not distinctly different, don't come up with better ads. Come up with a better product.

The simplest, fastest way to grow is to make your product remarkable. To make it worth talking about. If you make your product your service, your school, your church or your career worth talking about, the word will spread.

The only thing that leads to real growth is person to person conversation, word of mouth. And these only come about when you do something truly remarkable. Differentiation is not, by itself, remarkable. To be purple, you have to be more than different. You must be extreme. You must be on the edge.

Ask yourself: Are you invisible? Or are you remarkable?

In the world of the Purple Cow, where the product is the marketing, the winners are the people able to champion remarkable ideas and make them happen. And the astonishing revelation is this: Innovation isn't just fun, it's free!

If you can't make your product remarkable by changing the utility of the product or service, you must do it by one of three things . . .

1. creating a story: A story that transcends the utility of the product and instead goes straight to the world view of the user. See my book, “All Marketers Are Liars” for more information on how to do this.

2. by adding a free prize, a bonus, something extra, something worth paying for. What really works? No surprise, it's the soft stuff. The commonsense, creative stuff that requires initiative and curiosity, not an advanced degree to do. Most successes, though are actually the result of what I'll call soft innovation. Stuff like fast lube job shops, cell phone pricing plans and purple ketchup, or

3. by changing the way someone feels about what you do.

Here’s the good news: It turns out that there's a huge amount of inertia left in almost every category. Every product, service, feature, benefit is open for improvement. There's nothing that's finished, nothing so complete that it can't carry another free prize. No, not carry a prize, be transformed by a prize, transformed so completely that the product category finds new life.

Don’t Be Average:

Most companies focus on creating average products for average people.

The goal in Edgecraft is figuring out what people really want to buy, what they want to talk about and then giving it to them.

So, what you need to do is add a second benefit, a new edge, something your product or service does that is truly remarkable. You can only do that by going to the edges.

You must go all the way to the edge. Accepting second best doesn't make sense.

• Running a restaurant where your the free prize is your slightly attractive wait staff isn't going to work. They've got to be super-models or weightlifters or identical twins. You can only create a free prize when you can go all the way to the edge and make something remarkable. (note; the white hot essence, you need to fan it.) You don't create a better restaurant by serving better food. You can do it by serving remarkable food, or a remarkable location, or a remarkably famous chef. You don't build a better car but building a faster car, you do it by building the fastest car, or the least polluting car or the biggest car.
• Ergonomics that are slightly better are useless. Your product only becomes remarkable when you define the users experience.
• Ten percent more stock is invisible. When you have triple or ten times the stock of the competition (or 1 percent of their selection) people will notice. (note: be obvious)

Your innovations only matter when you can deliver an overwhelming distinction. Being somewhere near the edge is a very market-centric, self-aware thing that marketers do when they think people care enough to really dig deeply.

You can't achieve rapid growth by being just a bit better that the competition. It's not enough to get people to switch. You'll be ignored in favour of the incumbent.

The bottom line: If people aren't blown away, they won't talk about it. If they don't talk about it, it doesn't spread fast enough to help you grow.

Many people don't want this to be true. They don't want innovation to be the only path to growth. They believe that the market should reward earnest efforts at incremental improvement. Alas, it doesn't matter what you want... what we see is the market rewards innovation.

* * *

I know - it sounds intimidating and perhaps impossible.

But I assure you it's not. This series of emails will break down exactly what you need to do to get from wherever you are now to being 'absolutely irresistible'.

That's it for today.

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