Leaving the post office not long ago, I picked-up a flyer from a local business — a party and event company that supplies everything for a celebration including balloons, tents, lighting, and catering services.
How do I know this? It says so on their one page flyer.
Their flyer lists service-by-service the things they do: balloons, gift baskets, tents, centerpieces, custom props, etc. This list of things includes four photos of party stuff and one paragraph of text. The text says they’re an event decorating company that decorates any type of event. They’ve been in business for over 7 years.
That’s it, with one exception — the closing words of this one paragraph read making your next event memorable!
Those five words are the things this company does for their customers — they make events memorable. That’s what they’re trying to sell. And that’s what they want their customers to buy. But those five words were the only thing on the flyer that spoke of the things they do for their customers. With exception to these five words, the entire flyer is about the company and the things they do.
What this company should do is change their flyer to highlight the things they do for their customers — making your next event memorable. They should define memorable events and talk about how their services make a party or event memorable. Their pictures should show memorable parties and events, not static displays of balloons and props. And they should include a testimonial from a customer praising their services, sharing how their event was memorable as a result of the things this company did for them.
There is a huge difference between the two messages
Think how different the two messages would be — the message they have is about their company and the things they do, the message they should have is how they make events memorable.
It’s a short lesson, but a great reminder: the things we do aren’t important. Our customers don’t want the things we have to offer, they want the things they can do or achieve with the things we offer. And that’s the message we should be telling.
Some may read the story above and think It’s balloons and party materials — what we do is different
The example above is what we do all the time. As copywriters we talk to prospects about the style of copy we write, the number of projects we’ve written, and the years we’ve practiced our profession. As an IT services company we tell our prospects about the technologies we support, the tools we use, and the types of applications we build. As consultants we tell our prospects about the type of projects we perform, the workshops we host, and the books we’ve written. As hi-tech companies we talk about our backplane speed, number of transactions per second, and throughput.
We have a habit of talking about the things we do. But they rarely matter.
Features and functionality are important — to the extent they support a benefit worth investing it. But absent that, they’re worthless. Same for advantages (something I’ll address later).
There’s no exercise out of this post except to think and reflect on your own business and the message you give prospective customers through the sales letters, white papers, case studies, brochures, and web copy you offer.
Read your marketing and sales message again and look for the thing your customer is being asked to consider purchasing. What are you telling your prospect you have for sale?
Are you selling balloons and party favors -or- are you selling memorable events? If you’re selling memorable events, are you talking about what makes them memorable?