Is Your Marketing Strategy Foolproof or Foolhardy?

Do you have a Foolproof Marketing Strategy or a Foolhardy one?  To get a foolproof marketing strategy, you might want to examine your expectations.

 

A bit of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha.

I could say I’ve been preaching this foolproof marketing philosophy for over 30 years (true).  Unfortunately, that won’t wash considering Mr Buffett is:

  • Quite a bit older than me
  • More than quite a bit richer than me
  • And a billion times more well-known than me

My only saving grace here is that W.B. is a financier and money genius, whilst I am a published copywriting and Foolproof Marketing Expert (…I know…big deal).

Foolproof Marketing

But here’s what really IS a big deal.

There are millions of copywriters, small business entrepreneurs, and Non-Profit Organization (NPO) leaders who fervently believe the opposite of Mr Buffett.  They believe:

  • To market a small business or NPO you need to create that one-in-a-million campaign, like the GEICO Gecko®.
  • In changing messages just because it’s no longer “fresh” (as if a great message could ever go stale).
  • They need the Home Run, because singles, bunts, and hustle won’t score loads of runs in time.

I am so sorry I must disappoint them.

 

A Story About A Madman

Rosser Reeves was the head of a Top 5 International Ad Agency headquartered on Madison Avenue.

Mr Reeves was the copywriting genius behind the famous taglines of M&Ms, Wonder Bread, Rolaids, and more.  Reeves also created the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the industry’s differentiation standard.  He was a man of steely conviction – and at one time, my boss’s, boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss.

Rosser Reeves was one of the Madmen who were the inspiration of the hit TV show and the giants of copywriting in whose honor Write Like A Madman University is named.

A Strategy Disagreement Among Titans

A discussion between Mr Reeves and another agency head revolved around the importance of “great”, “fresh”, “creative” campaigns.

The unnamed agency head believed strongly in cutting-edge creativity.  Reeves, in a simple, universal message that could stand the test of time.  During the discussion, Reeves proposed a $1 million bet (this was in the 1960’s when a million was actually a lot of money).  The bet was this:

  • They would pick competing products.
  • His friend (the other agency head) could have the most brilliant campaigns he could devise.
  • Reeves would settle for a less creative, less splashy, mediocre campaign.
  • His friend had to change his brilliant campaign every 6 months.
  • Reeves would not change his message at all.
  • At the end of 20 years, the winner would be determined and anointed a Foolproof Marketing Strategy

Mr. Reeves’ friend did not accept this bet.

Create Your Marketing Message For The Ages

The truth of the matter is, all you – as a small businessperson – needs to have foolproof marketing is a simple, correctly crafted, marketing message.

I define a marketing message (or value proposition) as A fairly Short, Simple, Unique statement of the Benefits the Buyer Gets from your product or service, that Only You can deliver.  Now let’s break that down.

  • Short – I’ve seen good marketing messages (propositions) consisting of 15 – 20 words. However, most fall into the six to twelve word category.
  • Simple – Clear and concise using easy words that everyone understands, but is significant to your reader.
  • Unique – The proposition must be one that the competition can not or does not offer.
  • Benefits For Buyers– Things that will make your customers’ lives better.
    • Be more attractive
    • Be healthier
    • Be wealthier
    • Be wiser
    • Make life easier
    • Get enjoyment
    • Make more money
    • Experience new places or things
    • Be envied
    • Be looked up to
    • Protect your family
    • Be loved
    • Help people
    • Get better at something you like
    • Learn something new
  • Only You – goes along with unique.

Take a deep and serious look at your business and if you are unable to find something unique to talk about – then innovate until you can.

OK, I Created My Unique Marketing Message…Now What?

Now, given the self-awareness you generated in taking a good, hard look at your marketing, you create two attractive offers.

One offer is intended for people who are currently in the market for what you have.  I call these Now Buyers. The second offer is focused on those people who are in the process of gathering information so they can make an informed decision when the time comes.  Let me relate a personal story.

  • I drive a 1998 Mercedes Benz. Ever since it was new, I took it to a Mercedes specialist about 10 miles from my home.  I was very satisfied.  But twenty years later, I moved over 65 miles away.  I needed a mechanic in my new neighborhood who could take care of routine maintenance on my car (oil changes, brakes, struts, etc) as I was only going to go back to my specialist for something major. 
  • I looked around and visited a few shops, asked some questions and got the typical, “Here’s a coupon for $20 off your next oil change”. Wasn’t floating my boat.  Then one mechanic said, “When you need us, we’ll be here.  In the meantime, take this report on the best service strategy for older cars.” 
  • Two months later, I went back to that shop to get my oil changed. Why?  Because they gave me INFORMATION that I needed so I can keep my car as long as possible.  They had an offer all ready for Future Buyers like me.

Add your Now Offer and your Future Offer to your newly minted powerful, unique marketing message/value proposition, and you have the foundation for Foolproof Marketing. 

Here’s What Makes It Foolproof

Test you new marking package (your message and your offers).  If it works – STOP!  Don’t muck with it.

If it ever stops working, repeat the steps above.

Short and Simple.

The Moral Of The Story

Like the Hare in the race with the plodding Tortoise, some marketing campaigns take off meteorically and refresh frequently (foolhardy, IMO); these are generally no match for campaigns with solid, short, memorable, universally understood messages, repeated, and repeated, over time.

If you should be fortunate enough to have a message like this, and the urge should come over you to “freshen” your message in case it should go stale, my advice to you is to lie down until that urge passes.  Don’t do it.  Think…

  • “Finger Lickin’ Good” was written in 1952 (Ogilvy)
  • “Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands” in 1954 (Reeves)
  • “How Do You Spell Relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S” – 1974 (Reeves)
  • “A Diamond Is Forever” – 1948 (Ayer)
  • “Wheaties – Breakfast Of Champions” – 1935 (Blackett-Sample)

ALL are still in use today.

The Other Side Of The Coin

One of the best (worst?) examples of a foolproof marketing message that was changed before its time is Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” – 1973 (BBDO International).  To discover the “Rest of the Story”, grab a read of my recent article “Burger Wars”.

If, like me, you are into fascinating reads about the copywriting/ marketing/ advertising side of business, I highly recommend a book by the man behind “Have It Your Way”, Chris Schoenleb.  His book, “Battling Marketing Myths” can add to your understanding of behind the scenes decision making and occasional intrigue in and out of the board rooms.

Dig Deeper

If you’re interested in learning about more about foolproof marketing strategies and loads of other great stuff, I invite you to visit How To Write Copy at Write Like A Madman University   To gain more insight, go here and sit in on the first Video Session of "Write Like A Madman & Make Money Like Crazy". As the saying goes, “Nothing to lose; everything to gain.

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