Become a smarter marketer

When I sat down to write this inaugural post for the Benghiat blog, I debated about its topic. It is the first post, should it be about that? About our blog and the work we put into creating it? Or, should I get right into it and make this a post about marketing (and more specifically, SmartMarketing™)?

It only took me a second to realize that it should be the latter.

Why? Because I believe the Benghiat blog should make you a smarter marketer.

Now more than ever, people –including you and your prospects – are consuming huge amounts of information. But, the shape of that consumption has changed. The curve is broad and shallow, not narrow and deep.

That means your customers are juggling small bits of information about many things. So what small bits of information are your customers and prospects retaining about you? (Hint: they’re retaining information that is going to: make them money, save them money, save them time, make their lives easier, etc.)

It shouldn’t be too hard to define the 1 or 2 things that set you apart, should it?

You would be surprised.

When we conduct a Brand Building Workshop for a customer, our primary mission is to distill a Unique Selling Proposition about and for their business. Even though we are simply looking for the 1 or 2 things that truly differentiate the company (or a product), it takes hours of structured discourse to arrive at that Unique Selling Proposition.

Why is that?

It’s because all of us invest so much of ourselves into our work. We know every intimate detail of every product, project and campaign. They are like our children, and like proud parents, every one of them and their accomplishments seems special and unique. It’s hard for us to boil something so special down to a sound bite.

I was guilty of this last weekend.

I’m a home theater hobbyist. My mom and dad came over to babysit and my dad picked up the remote control and asked, “How does this work?”

So, I told him.

“Well, Dad, I programmed the remote with my computer so it knows all the commands for each piece of equipment, then I programmed activities, so if I press a certain button, it turns on the needed equipment and switches it to the proper settings. The signal is sent through a receiver in the wall to infrared transmitters. These buttons here control…”

That’s when he interrupted me and asked, “No, I mean, what do I press to watch TV?”

I hadn’t bothered to really hear his question. Like my explanation to my dad, so much marketing doesn’t really answer the right question, which is, “What does it do for me?”

To be effective marketers, we need to step back and view our work as if it was not our own child but someone else’s. It’s human nature to view the world from the inside out. Effective marketers view the world from the outside in.

How many times have you read a brochure/ad/catalog/etc. filled with features and specifications – “made from 18-gauge steel” “roller bearing mechanism” “hand-picked?” If the marketing piece doesn’t first – and quickly – answer the question, “What does it do for me?” the rest of it is worthless.

That’s how your customers and prospects process information about your company and your products. Don’t try to fight it. Exploit it. Make it easy for them. Put it in simple terms. Not everyone is your prospect, but if you communicate well, those who are will embrace you.

So, what does putting it in simple terms sound like? Here’s an example:

The Benghiat Blog will make you a smarter marketer.