Look at the product you are selling or building… What makes it unique. These are your FEATURES. Now look at each FEATURE and ask the “how and why”. These are your BENEFITS. If you can figure out a benefit for a feature, don’t expect your customer the reason why they should use that feature. Features are important but telling people why that feature will benefit them creates loyalty and customer acceptance. Benefit statements usually are something very tangible.. For example, the benefit of canned food goods is a greatly lengthened time to “spoilage” for food. In fact the concept of food spoiling is almost eliminated with “canned foods”… It is often the in steps of telling people about features and benefits that truth gets lost. If you want a successful marketing campaign for your product, get the features and benefits right.
You’ve gathered in your facts and from those product or service facts you’ve developed benefits.. You can see that your product results in something good for the potential customer, whether it’s saving time, saving money, improves performance, improves quality, etc., it’s now time to tell people that it’s available for sale. That is where the promotional mix comes into play…
Advertising is the process of “telling people” something about your product or service. When you develop advertising you need to review your features and benefits and ask yourself… “Which of these features and benefits can people MOST relate too?” Advertising a very obscure feature and telling people about it’s benefits may result in wasted opportunity and money. If you are selling canned food goods and the feature you pick out is “steel cans” and tell people the benefit of “steel cans” is durability and that you can build big stacks from them.. Most people will go.. SO WHAT? Pick out the feature and benefit the people can most relate too. People can relate to the fact that canned food is good because I can store it until it’s needed without worrying if it will be spoiled or not.. Ok so this is a simple example, but it illustrates the point… Advertising is communicating to people about a problem (food spoiling) and solving it (canned food).. Keep in mind that people will only take away what you can communicate in approximately 6 seconds. Be quick with your advertising message and focus in on a KEY benefit.
Developing a public relations strategy can be incredibly helpful.. Think of Public Relations efforts as what your relationship is with the media, the public out there. When you look at a public relations strategy, you need to account for things like product annoucements. Developing a good press release when you develop a new product is important because a press article about your product ads “legitimacy” to your product offering. In a press article you get several “column inches” that a writer uses to help communicate your product offering, product positioning, product benefits… as they see it from a 3 rd party point of view.. Where public relations is also very helpful is in handling a public crisis. Back to our “food” example. In the US we had a “mad cow” disease scare. Even though the cow was identified and the meat from that cow traced and food markets alerted. A food market in a region that did NOT have the issue voluntarily removed ground beef from the shelves and destroyed to show it’s customers that it was NOT going to be a part of the problem… That’s public relations… When a public crisis occurs, developing your “message” and contacting the media immediately helps diffuse the crisis..
Other promotional tactics.. Promotional mix is all about getting the word out.. Some people think that big expensive newspaper, television or glossy magazine advertising is the most effective way to get the word out to others about your product or service Well for someone who is established company that may be true.. For small businesses and start up businesses there are a variety of other ways to get the word out about your products or services. Email. Surfing the internet will yield list providers who for a relatively small fee will broadcast an email message that you create to a huge number of people.. On a cost per thousand messages sent basis, this may be very inexpensive.. But keep in mind that it is also becoming so prevalent that the effectiveness is dropping rapidly. Direct Mail. This is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Think of it as writing a letter, briefly telling about your product or service, and asking the person to contact you. The cost, is the cost of a stamp.. Lists typically are readily available.. So that’s not an issue.. It’s something that more and more people are paying attention too… Flyers.. Probably the CHEAPEST way to get the word out. This is literally printing up your message on a piece of paper and standing on a street corner and handing it to people as they walk buy. Yes, many end up in the garbage, but many will be taken home and taken seriously…
To summarize.. Marketing is about telling others ENTHUSIASTICALLY about your product or service. Facts and Truth go hand in hand here.. Don’t compromise on the Truth or you will have problems.. Finally don’t be discouraged about poor results the first time you promote. The American Marketing Association has researched this fairly extensively and found that a person must hear a message 3 times before they will act on it.. So however you choose to tell people… keep telling them, and telling them and telling them….
To sum up.. Marketing is about communication. You need to learn your product or service and be able to clearly articulate to someone why they should consider purchasing it. Then you need to figure out how to reach your most likely customers. Marketing is necessary. Without marketing, it’s impossible to create sales. Marketing is the fuel that you pour onto sales to get it going. Marketing generates interest, interest generates trial, trial results in sales. Marketing is costly… Consider creative ways to pay for the costs of getting your product promoted.