About your Marketing Offer
The Most Important Things to Know About Direct Marketing Offers
Regular or "Commodity" Product
Now, let's explain.
Your company or organization is either well known and a leader in their field, or it is not. Not being known has nothing to do with quality - only with awareness. And a bit of image and positioning. The more you have of these factors the easier it is to move a prospect to a customer and make the sale.
Your product is either one of a kind, unusual, different ... or you have a ton of competition. Each presenting what you do, or similar. Meaning the road may be rough, even for the known.
Now, how much do these two factors matter to your Offer;
... your company awareness level, and
... your product, new and different, or older and established?
Well, they make a BIG difference. If you're a Fortune 1000 company, you're most likely large and well known. When you launch a truly new product you have a "sweetheart" deal. Your offer may be weak, because of who you are. And your different product. You've earned a reputation, it gives you position in the marketplace.
If you're a little guy, and unknown to your marketplace, even with a truly unique product, your audience is going to ask: "Who are these guys?" So, your offer must consider the elements of . . .
Why? Because those you're appealing to don't know you.
When your product has intense competition, and "everybody" sells what you sell, these same 4 elements are important. Even for known companies. And if you are unknown and selling a very regular and fairly common product line, you're in deep water. Because, not only are you unknown, I can get a name brand of the same thing and be more comfortable.
Consider The Offer Chart when you plan your Offer. Know where you fit.
The answer is "yes".
Sometimes you make an emotional appeal. Sometimes rational. And sometimes both!
Here is a chart with examples of each
Gold Credit Card
New Eye Glasses
First time Credit Card
The study was done by Foote Cone Belding - and has been updated over the years. A similar chart is available for the business marketplace, too.
Here's what it says; Every product is either "high" or "low" on the involvement scale. And every product has more emotion or more rational factors to the decision. All products involve a little of both - yet, some are almost all emotion and a few are all rational. You see from the chart where this collection sits.
What is important is you recognize where your product and service fall. And then carefully consider your Offer. Should it be more rational, or more emotional?
The Family Car (High/Feel, close to Think line) was a surprise. Until I separated buying the car from paying for the car. Buying is emotional ... paying is rational.
Many of your decisions will be common sense. Some of it you'll learn by talking with your customers. No matter, you do need to know.
Another quick answer ... "yes"!
Why? Because they get attention. Never (well, almost never) will your offer get you the sale. The purpose of an Offer is to gain consideration. So you can take another step in the sales process. Advertising specialties and premiums do that ... they gain attention so your sales force can AFTO ... Ask For The Order.
Here are a few ways premiums and specialties are used in Marketing;
For these, and a score more reasons, specialties and premiums are important to consider when you plan your Offer.
The answer is sometimes you talk Offer benefits only. And sometimes you talk a little of both ... the Offer and the product.
The more clearly you state the benefit of the Offer, the higher the response and the better the response quality. Because the potential buyer "sees" what she will gain by accepting your Offer.
Example; when a face-to-face presentation is necessary, the Offer may be all you talk about. As the sales rep will do all else. So, you "sell" the Offer and let the sales person take care of the product.
Opposite, if you're selling via mail, over the telephone, through the web, maybe with an E-mail and/or fax marketing message tossed in, then you must talk product benefits. Because your prospect will not become your customer until they understand the product. In this instance product benefits are more important than Offer benefits.
Your guarantee IS part of your Offer!
It is part of the package - because today the customer expects total satisfaction. Which your guarantee will "guarantee". Your guarantee is not optional. And it must become a part of your Offer.
From Lee Iacocca;
"If you want to be the best, you have to separate
from all the talk about quality. And put it in writing."
This thought is more than about quality - it is about everything in your package. It is what the customer really buys.
i.e., a set of door and window locks for your home. What does the customer buy - hardware in boxes? I think not. The customer really buys security. Safety. Peace of mind. I can sleep at night. My family will be safe. The product is the means to the end.
Know this as you create a solid, strong, believable guarantee. And include it as part of your Offer.
Yes. No. Sometimes.
Without a doubt your Offer will vary with your audience. As you are well aware, all audiences are not alike. So your Offer must swing with the needs and interests of a particular group.
Young, old, male, female, highly educated or not, family or single, city or country, big income vs. small, SOHO business or 500 employees +, manufacturer or service organization ... each variable will affect response. Yet, everyone who falls into this big category could still be a prospect for what you sell.
Your Offer may, or may not, vary with geography. No doubt there are different types of people in different parts of any large country. And most smaller nations, too. Still, frequently a good Offer is a good Offer - and does not need to change.
As I'm writing this it is the season for the National Basketball Association playoffs. I'm watching the games from a small town in a large state. The local high school basketball coach is taking advantage of the timing to run a commercial about his upcoming summer camp. With a special early sign-up offer. It fits the geography. And is very local.
How you present your Offer can be as important as what it is.
So, "yes", the creative does matter. Especially the copy. The words. The text, which carry your message.
As you develop your creative approach, consider these questions;
a). Will the buyer feel important?
b). Will the buyer be happy?
c). Will the buyer be comfortable?
d). Will the buyer feel prosperous?
e). Will the buyer's work be easier?
f). Will the buyer feel secure?
g). Will the buyer enjoy some distinction?
h). Will the buyer "see" a good value, or even a bargain?
The way you state your offer can be as important as the offer itself.
For traffic-building programs (people traffic to retail locations, a trade show, a grand opening ... things like that) you sell the Offer. Sometimes ALL you sell is the Offer ... and wait on the product until the prospect and the sales rep are face-to-face.
For lead generation programs, business-to-business and B-to-C, both inside and outside sales forces, you also sell the Offer first. Not the product or the service. Because, again, you know you need a "meeting". Which may be in person or over the phone - either way you hang the Offer out front.
In mail-order you sell the product first - and then the Offer. Frequently the Offer is prominent, seen, to get attention - yet, the sales process begins with the product. Why is it different? Because frequently the buyer makes a decision solo, based exclusively on what they have read. The Offer in mail-order is a true "extra", tossed in to cement the sale.
Fund Raising is a mix. Closer to mail-order in how it gains a response, a donor. Yet, the incentive, premium, the attention getter needs to be up front. The Offer, the reason to "give", must be seen, understood and accepted before any action is going to happen.
That's it for this Baker's Dozen . . . 13 Thoughtful Questions About your Marketing Offer. Feel free to use these thoughts in the way they best fit your needs. And the best of Direct Marketing to you.