Could you Triple your Marketing Success?

Photo by Laffy4k 

Note: this is the first in a series about supercharging your marketing message by leveraging some of the ideas in Jump Start Your Business Brain by Doug Hall.   This is an excellent book with some really practical strategies and ideas for enhancing your marketing message.

I’m also doing a workshop on this material in a couple of weeks, you can find more information here – I’d love to have you join me.

The Message is King!

3M did a study quite a while ago that stated that the average person is impacted with over 3000 advertisements every single day!  If anything, that number has only gone up.

Now think about your ad – it could be a Google ad, it could be a newspaper ad, maybe something on the radio or a sign on your storefront.  How is that ad going to stand out in a crowd of over 3000 other ads your prospect is going to see that day?

You’ve only got seconds to get their attention, so what can you do?

Doug Hall’s studies have shown that an overt benefit is 3X more likely to be successful than any other message you might send (i.e. a benefit that’s not overt or worse yet, a feature).

So what is a Benefit?

A benefit is the actual reason why the customer wants to buy the product or service.  The primary benefit of wireless phone service is the ability to be connected when ever you’re out and about.  Verizon gets that which is why they focus on their network as the most reliable.

Sprint on the other hand focuses on innovative technologies – which generally translates to features – features that customers don’t always understand or appreciate.

A high definition plasma TV that has a resolution of 1080P is all about the features, it’s really hard for the average person to get excited about that statement.

Garmin’s focus on easy to use tools that will “Get You There” talks about benefits.

So are you talking about features or benefits when you talk about your stuff?

The Financial Planner that talks about the thousands of mutual funds available is missing the mark.  The Financial Planner that talks about having tools that can create and manage wealth through all the ups and downs of the market is much more compelling.

Things to think about as you consider features versus benefits:

  • Why should the customer care?
  • Why did you create in the first place (hint:  because you could isn’t a good answer)?
  • Why is the feature important?  What does it do?
  • Why doesn’t your competition have this feature?

An interesting exercise is to take a quick browse through other people’s business cards and see if you can tell the primary benefit they offer. 

Here are some good examples of benefits:

Get Smarter Prep:  “The score you need for the school you want”

Accord Coaching:  Achieve Balance, Find Clarity

Young HR Services:  Easier People Management

In every instance you can easily see why a potential buyer would care about that company.  The sad thing is that I looked through at least 50 cards to come up with 3 good examples.  The vast majority only list what they do at best and many of them don’t even do that in a clear cut way.

So what is Overt?

Overt:  open to view or knowledge; not concealed or secret (from

For the purposes of this discussion, overt simply means straightforward and clear cut.  Keep in mind that you’re trying to stand out in a crowd.  If your prospect has to figure out what you’re talking about, you’re probably not going to connect.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a benefit is generally relative to a target market.  The fact that I can hear 3 Hannah Montana songs from one of my daughter’s toys is not a benefit to me (although it is to her).

In addition to being clear and targeted to your audience, your benefit also needs to be as specific as possible.  “We deliver fast” is okay, but “Delivery in 30 minutes or less” is much clearer, and much more overt.

A couple of questions that might help you identify your primary overt benefit:

  1. Why did you get into the business in the first place?  What drove you to create your brand?
  2. What are you most proud of regarding your product or service?
  3. What do your customers talk the most about?

You should try to narrow your focus down to the 1 thing that you really want to communicate and stand out.  You don’t want to try to be all things to all people, you want to find your best position and focus, focus, focus on that thing.  (easier said than done).

The road to finding your relatively unique overt benefit is a long one, but the good news is that you will see improved results along the way, it’s not a black and white issue.  So your best bet is to always keep thinking about your benefit and refining it as you go along.

What’s your overt benefit?  I would love to hear some great examples – share them here.

Shawn Kinkade

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