Critical Care for
During the Turnaround
leaders have failed because they focused so much time and energy on the
expense reduction side of fixing the system. When they were finally
able to lift their head above the cost-cutting project, they realized
their sales revenues were in a steep decline, many of their top sales
and marketing staff had resigned, and there were no viable
products/marketing strategies of which to build the new business
programs have a way of getting very expensed oriented. In other words
people seem to focus on cost cutting above all else. While this is very
important and I'm not denying that you should not engage in a very
aggressive cost-cutting initiative, as already stated in many of the
other previous turnaround steps, I am sure that you have also head the
adage "nothing happens until something is sold"! Peter Drucker has said
business has only two functions -- marketing and innovation.
It is safe to say
that sales and marketing is the engine that powers the entire business.
So then to ignore marketing during this crises time then is very
dangerous. In the same token, the first criticism that comes up when
talking about developing an aggressive marketing program is the high
cost that marketing programs carry.
What then is the
solution? If you believe you must market aggressively one the one hand
but on the other, your financial resources are very stretched. I'm
personally of the belief that one of the greatest return on investments
that a business can make is in marketing. However, that means
intelligent, well thought through, strategic marketing. And not the
typical process of throwing thousands of dollars out there in hopes that
something will work.
The following is a
marketing (and sales) program that I recommend you follow during this
turnaround stage. You will find it practical, based on best demonstrated
business practices, low cost, and very effective.
Doug hall, a
brilliant and creative marketing expert and author of "Jump Start Your
Business Brain" , developed a concept called marketing physics. In
marketing physics he determined, through extensive research, that if a
business will implement three laws, the probability of success will
exponentially increase. In my opinion, this is some of the best news
I've ever come across as a marketer because of the strong research
orientation going into the theory. For example, Hall has determined if
a product or service has a low overt benefit (Marketing Physics Law #1)
then there is only a 13% probability of success. If on the other hand
of business is able to develop a high overt benefit, the probability of
success increases to 38% or realize close to a 300% improvement in
First Law of Marketing Physics:
In marketing 101
you most likely learned the difference between a feature and a benefit.
Benefits are what's in it for the customer. A benefit is what your
customer receives, enjoys or experiences in exchange for his time
trouble trust or money. Features, on the other hand, are the facts,
figures, technology and details that make up the structure of your
product or service. Benefits answer the question which every customer
either asks directly or indirectly "what's in it for me"?
The big news that
the research has uncovered was not so much communicating benefits versus
features, that's old news, but how the term "overt" supercharges
benefits from a customer point of view.
Overt means open
and observable, not hidden, concealed, or secret. In other words, Hall
found that if you took a benefit and made it much more open and
observable, more easily understood, the effectiveness of your marketing
may clarify this principle. A shoe shine shop could say "we give fast
shoe shines" which is a benefit or they could say "we give 2 minute
shoeshine" which is an Overtness or specificity added to the benefit.
Rather than say a "durable shoeshine", the overt benefit would be "armor
shoeshine that lasts seven days".
have the time, energy or attention span to decipher implied benefit
communications. The average customers is overwhelmed with marketing
messages. Today, because of the hurricane of marketing messages
customers are exposed to, there is a need to be brash, bold and
in-your-face overt about your customer benefit and point of difference.
Here is Doug Hall's
process to develop Overt Benefits for your business, product, or
Step 1: Make a
list of all defining features
attributes, ingredients and dimensions that define why you are as you
Focus on both
what you offer and how you deliver it to customers
List the obvious
points of difference between you and your competition
List the less
obvious but still significant points of difference versus the
Step 2: Transform
each feature into a benefit
the why questions of each feature:
Why should I
care about this feature?
Why did you
create this feature?
Why is this
Why is this
Why doesn't the
competition have this feature?
Step 3: Review
current marketing materials for features & benefits.
Second Law of Marketing Physics:
Real Reason to Believe
The Overt Benefit is
what you're offering. The reason to believe is How you're going to make
good on your promise. To succeed, you need both the what and the how.
Need some good
examples in how to communicate Real Reason to Believe? Watch
They start from a
position of poor credibility with potential customers. For this reason,
successful infomercials utilize over half their time communicating Real
Reason to Believe. They do this by providing visual demonstration,
"skeptic conversation" testimonials and common sense explanations of how
the product works, as well as detailing the expert pedigree of the
inventor of the product.
Learn from the masters of Real Reason to Believe- Watch infomercials
with a conscious awareness of Overt Benefit and Real Reason to Believe.
With paper &
pencil, keep a scorecard of the Overt Benefit promises as well as the
Real Reasons to Believe used to provide supporting credibility that the
benefit will be delivered
Pictures have a
power that transcends words. Turn the sound down for a while and watch
the pictures. Can you see the Overt Benefit? Can you see the Real Reason
Score Your Real Reason to Believe vs. Competition
Step 1: Gather the
materials that detail your brand, business or concept. Also gather
similar materials on your competition.
Step 2: Make a
list of each element of overt communication that enhances credibility
for you and your competition.
Step 3: Add to
your list and that of your key competitor the unstated things that
should give customers confidence.
Step 4: Match and
compare. Cross out the first item on your list. Then find a credibility
item on the competitor's list that is of equal impact and cross it out
as well. If it takes two from one list to equal the credibility of one
on the other list, then cross out two for one. continue to cross items
off each list until only you or your competitor is left standing with
items still on the list.
What you have just
done is close to what goes through customers' minds when they are trying
to make a decision between you and your competition in a head-to-head
for Real Reason to Believe (from Doug Hall's research)
Kitchen logic (it just makes sense after hearing an explanation)-42%
Probability of success
Personal experience (providing your customers with an opportunity to
see, feel and experience your product benefit)-45%
Pedigree (providing confidence to potential customers as a result of
detailing the heritage (development process, expertise, etc.) behind
your product or service-41%
Testimonial (customer or expert)-41%
Guarantee (taking the risk out of the customer purchasing your
Third Law of Marketing Physics:
Sales and profits
explode when an Overt Benefit and Real Reason to Believe pair is offered
with a Dramatic Difference.
The data indicates
enhanced Dramatic Difference levels increase probability of success from
15 to 53%. This means that you have a 353% greater chance of success
when you have a high level of Dramatic Difference. These results confirm
an earlier study by J.H. Davidson reported in the Harvard Business
Review (April-May 1976). Davidson found a 370% greater chance of
marketplace success for ideas that are dramatically different.
When you are
unique, you stand out in the marketplace.
Difference-53% Probability of Success
Difference is a 2 step process:
evaluate whether you offer meaningful uniqueness versus existing
options. Second, they evaluate your price versus existing options.
Dramatic Difference is how customers decide if their purchase decisions
should be based on value or price. When there is no perceived meaningful
difference, then price becomes the primary if not exclusive decision
Practical Tactic: How to Know a Dramatic Difference When You See One
tendency is to exaggerate differences based on minor distinctions that
are irrelevant to customers. How relevant is your point of difference?
For a Dramatic Difference to be successful, it must be based on a
combination of Overt Benefit and Real Reason to Believe that is relevant
yet unexpected- relevant in that it has meaning, purpose and
applicability to customer needs; unexpected in that it is novel,
unusual, original, unique, new and different.
relevance, your Dramatic Difference must flow directly from your Overt
Benefit and Real Reason to Believe pair. The only difference that is
important to customers is one that impacts the experience they receive.
Thus, relevance is linked directly to the connection between Dramatic
Difference and Overt Benefit/Real Reason to Believe.
Do you have
clear news to tell your customers?
Is your idea new
to your company?
Is your idea new
to your region of the country?
Is your idea new
to your industry?
Is your idea new
to your country?
Is your idea new
to the world?
Once a business
has determined its Overt Benefit, Reason to Believe, and Dramatic
Difference you now have a unique selling proposition (USP) or strategy
necessary to implement effective marketing programs. Using these
inputs, we are now going to move into several high impact marketing
programs to maximize your business success.
Power Marketing Programs