We have been talking a lot recently about the importance of vision in running a business, and today I wanted to take this thinking a step further, to look at the importance of this vision when considering the marketing message for you products and services.
The “So What” Test
The “So What” test is a tried and tested tool for making sure you focus on the benefits rather than features when developing a marketing message for your products or services.
Write a line describing your offering:
“We want to get to know your business before developing our marketing proposal”…
The line does not really describe the benefit to the client, meaning they could legitimately ask “So What!”
This leads to an iterative process that should lead to the real benefit. In this case, it may be something like:
“Our proposals are tailored so they deliver real value to your business, helping you effectively meet your marketing goals and successfully develop your business”
A statement that is much more difficult to ask “So What..”
The Power of Why
The “So what” test is a great tool, but if you really want to engage with your potential customers and help them to buy into your vision, making it a reason for them to buy from your business, you need to link these benefits to your vision.
This is an idea put forward by our friend of the moment Simon Sinek in his breakthrough TED talk, “Start with why…”.
His suggestion is that communicating this way – Stating what you do and how this adds benefit, is not very engaging. To develop a truly inspiring marketing message you need to flip this on its head and “Start with Why..”.
- Why do you do what you do – Your Vision
- How does this vision drive how you run your business
- What you do for your customers through your products and/or services
In fact, this means that your marketing message actually ends with the feature, the “What you do”. But because you have led with the more inspiring why and how, by the time you get to the feature (What you do) people are already getting interested.
In another post, we apply this to BSA Marketing, but here, to illustrate my point, I will use the same example used by Mr Sinek in his talk and that is Apple.
Apple make great computers, so traditionally their message would be:
We make great computers…. “So What?” – Feature!
“They are simple to use and beautifully designed” – “So what?” – Feature!
“They are a pleasure to own and take the frustration out of Computing” – The real benefit that Apple might present
But that is not why Apple are so successful, and is not in-fact how they communicate.
In reality, they flip the message on its head and start with why they do what they do.
- “In everything we do we believe in doing things differently and challenging the Status quo”
- “The way we do this in a world of clunky boring computers by making beautifully designed, easy to use computers”
- “By the way, we make great computers …“.
Where are the Benefits?
But we must ask why this works? By traditional marketing thinking the communication ends with What we do – We make great computers – The features. So where are the benefits?
The philosophy is that by the time the message gets to the feature “We make great computers”, people are already bought into the benefit of buying an Apple computer, phone, etc. The benefit is already clear in the buyer’s mind to the point that they do not need to explicitly state it. They are already asking where do I sign?
Your vision must add value
There is no doubt this works in the case of Apple, and there are many other examples where starting with Why is a great marketing strategy. But I think it is making one big assumption. That is that the vision delivers value in the eyes of the buyer. In many markets, especially the more cynical B2B arena where people may be less emotionally connected to their purchases, it is important that you communicate how your vision delivers value to the market, and in reality, this message should be central to your marketing communications.
Succeed in doing this and Staring with Why can be a powerful marketing tool.