People and businesses are very similar in that – what often holds them back is that they neglect presenting the basic, most important information relative to their product and/or service – commonly referred to as FACT #1. In other words, they skip over the important stuff – simply because they think you already know it. What’s scary is that the more expertise claimed by those marketing the product or service, the more deficient they are in terms of presenting the most crucial information.
The eco trade show that I recently attended featured vendors from all walks of life. There were folks selling food, clothing, mattresses, wind turbines, etc. One of the vendors at this show was a company that makes journals similar to the Moleskin brand that you’ll find at Border’s and Barnes & Noble.
The journals at this particular vendor’s booth were made with paper from Nepal. That was their USP (unique selling proposition): The paper was from Nepal. SO WHAT?
So I went up to the woman at the booth and asked…
DR. MARC: “So what’s the deal with paper made from Nepal?”
WOMAN: “Are you serious?”
DR. MARC: “I-‘-l-l…t-a-l-k…a…l-i-t-t-l-e…s-l-o-w-e-r…f-o-r…y-o-u.”
WOMAN: “I can’t believe that you don’t know anything about our journals!”
DR. MARC: “Ma’am – you are either an idiot or you’re pretending to be an idiot. It’s one or the other, so which is it?”
WOMAN: “I – I – I’m sorry. I thought most people here knew what was so unique about our journals. Really, I DO apologize.”
DR. MARC: “Look – I understand that some of the vendors here ASSume that people coming to your booths all smell bad, wear crap clothing, and have have mud in the hair – but that’s not the case. I’ve been ‘green’ even before you learned about the color on Sesame Street. You are charging an arm and a leg for something that is 100 pages of blank paper. I can buy 3 composition books at a warehouse club – that are made in the USA – from 100% recycled paper – for just $1.00. So I’ll ask you again, what’s the f__king deal?”
WOMAN: “No trees are used to make our journals. The paper is highly durable, and made from a shrub that grows at around 7,000 feet – only in the Himalayas.”
DR. MARC: “So rather than saying THAT in your marketing, you just ASSume that the people paying to attend this show, all have three-day old poop in their pants and if they’re female, enough hair under their arms to knit a quilt. Am I right? Do you work for this company full time?”
WOMAN: “I own the company.”
DR. MARC: “WOW! Look lady – I’m not here to ruin your show. But if you treat other people like you just treated me, you aren’t going to be selling many journals – especially at those prices. I don’t know how you’re doing, but since I’ve been watching your booth – including the time while chowing down my lunch from over yonder, I haven’t seen that much business. NOWHERE in your signage or in your marketing materials do you explain what the big deal is about paper from Nepal. My first thought was that the money goes to support the sherpas or the monks. Your marketing isn’t working.”
There was a company at the same trade show selling an incredible cleanser that was completely safe for the environment. Even the packaging was 100% recycled, blah, blah, blah. The deal was that you buy your first six bottles of cleanser for $5.00 each, and then – if you live within 40 miles of Chicago proper, they would drive to your house and refill your bottles for $2.50 each.
So I asked, “Has it occurred to you that you are wasting a lot of fuel driving around – refilling the cleanser – even if you’re in a Prius?” As I’m saying this to the dude, another dude who is standing behind me and off to my left, comes up and pretty much says the same thing. The person at the booth (again – one of the founders/owners) responds with, “Gee – I didn’t really think about that.” Their big selling point was that you pay half-price for your refills…that you receive when they burn fossil fuels to get to your place of work or residence. Defeats the point, right? RIGHT.
Look at chiropractors – they’re equally guilty of the same mistakes. How many prospective patients out there have actually examined a model spine? Okay – so maybe they’ve seen a chiropractor near the end-cap of a grocery store – doing screenings with their model spine, but how many people actually know what end is up? The ASSumption is that people know…err…because it’s their body.
Consider the following:
DR. BIFF: “Hey…I’m Dr. Biff. This is your spine and these are your vertebrae. Okay…so what happens when a vertebra gets subluxated? Anyone? Anyone?”
SUSIE: “Dr. Biff, I have a question. I wanted to…”
DR. BIFF: “Excuse me miss. Dr. Biff is talking. When Dr. Biff has completed his presentation, Dr. Biff will take questions. It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets…”
SUSIE: “But Dr. Biff, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. We went over that spine stuff in elementary school, but that was just one day when we talked about the bones.”
DR. BIFF: “Are you kidding me? Are you serious? How the heck can you NOT know about your body? The powaah that made the body…heals the body! Shazam! Shazam! Shazam!”
SUSIE: “Biff, I…”
DR. BIFF: “I AM DR. BIFF!!!! I am a R-E-A-L doctor – even if you don’t think so, and even if your e-vil MD hates my guts! I am a real doctor. I am a REAL doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor…waaaaa…waaaaaa…”
SUSIE: “Dr. Biff, are you on drugs?”
DR. BIFF: “DRUGS???? OMG! How dare you insult me!!!”
I’m not trying to pick on anyone. I am simply recommending that – instead of ASSuming that people “get” the basics, take a step back, go for a walk, and then come back to your marketing.
REGARDLESS of your business, the only ASSumption you should make is that people don’t know a thing about your product or service. If you are unsure as to the degree of their knowledge, simply ask.
I was having my oil changed, and while they were checking me in, I overheard one of the service reps talking to this woman – who apparently, was also there to get an oil change. He asked her what kind of oil she wanted in the car. She looked at him like he had just asked her to take her clothes off (LOL). She asked what he meant. He responded by going down a list of the various viscosities and varieties (i.e. synthetic, synthetic blend, etc.). The woman looked frazzled.
THE POINT: People step over FACT #1 and move on to Fact #10, #11, #12 and so on. To assume that someone attending a trade show is…well…GREEN, is stupid. People often attend trade shows to learn, or maybe because it’s something to do for the day. To assume that someone who attends a chiropractor’s talk, KNOWS a thing or two about the spine, is equally foolish. And to ASSume that everyone is versed in the variety of motor oil for their automobile, is – well, nonsensical.
That’s it for today!
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Have A GREAT Day!
…Dr. Marc – The DARK LORD