Many years ago I was an ambitious twenty something who was up for a promotion. It was a lock as far as I was concerned. My clients loved me, my colleagues respected me and I kept abreast of everything. I walked with confidence into the Executive VP’s office for the final interview for the promotion. I was ready for anything he was going to throw at me – or so I thought.
“Sell me this pen,” he said as he held up a capped blue ink pen.
I squirmed nervously as I racked my brain for the right answer. I thought, “What has this got to do with anything I have been doing?” Answer: everything.
Through the ensuing discussion I learned a lesson I have never forgotten. One of the features of the pen was its cap. The benefit seemed to be the fact that it would not leak in your shirt pocket or purse. Actually, the true benefit is what no leaking means to the potential owner of this pen. This pen will not leave an unsightly stain when you are going into an important meeting. This pen will actually save you money because you won’t have to purchase new shirts as often.
We all know (or should know) the difference between features and benefits. Features describe the functionality of a product or service. The benefits explain why those features are important to the end user or buyer of that product or service. Benefits explain value. Engagement entices people to learn about your benefits and explore your features.
Be honest. Do you still have ads with bullet points listing what you do? Lose the lists and flip the script. Instead of giving prospects your menu of products and services in an ad, use engagement to entice them to explore you further. This is an opportunity for “smaller” businesses to take a cue from successful Fortune 100’s. You can operate your smaller budget with the same principles.
Successful companies use their marketing to get our attention in a meaningful way through engagement. They may use things like powerful imagery, education, comedy or contests. They attempt to reach what drives our inner selves and what engages us. They invite or entice us to learn more. We make the decision.
When your potential customers/clients/patrons/patients make the decision to explore what you have to offer, they are immediately invested. You cannot push features and get the same results. Engagement may take on many different forms. It depends on the type of people with whom you are trying to engage. One of the best examples of engagement in the past few years was the Old Spice shower gel campaign. Old Spice knew that women were the purchasers of the household but men were the target users. Women already embraced and used shower gel. Men were still using bar soap. They needed men and women discussing soap in order to get the ok to try the product. The campaign included comical examples of a “perfect man”. There were many facets of the campaign including social media. Potential buyers shared these images and videos. There was a huge response to digital offers and sales spikes followed. Overall the campaign was a success. It made people laugh, talk, share, redeem and buy.
Engagement is and will forever be a critical part of any marketing strategy. Remember marketing’s sole purpose is to positively impact your revenue or profitability. Realize your goals with a successful plan.
Vanessa Marttinen is currently the Founder and Senior Consultant of American Marketeur. American Marketeur is an independent full-service marketing firm, based in Wilmington, NC, focusing on building revenue-generating marketing plans. Vanessa Marttinen offers her clients completely unbiased advice by never taking mark ups on media buys. American Marketeur accommodates any type or size of business or practice through an enormous network of innovators, designers, programmers, experts and visual producers. Visit www.AmericanMarketeur.com or contact Vanessa Marttinen at [email protected] or 910-338-6479 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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