I believe there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that market, and those that don’t get it. Think of them as “tone-deaf” when it comes to marketing.
A buddy of mine once told me what was wrong with his company (a very large computer hardware manufacturer) was that if they sold sushi, they would market it as “cold dead fish.”
When I talk to a marketing clients, the first thing I try to do is to get them to divorce themselves from what their product or service actually IS, and get them thinking about how it makes customers feel about their company. Surprisingly (to me, anyway) that requires a BIG leap of faith.
I once had a client who used her positioning statement on her business card as a slogan. The positioning statement ran on for about 20 words or so, and spelled out exactly what her service did. Her company had an educational program for immigrant children, that would help them learn English and assimilate into our culture. Unfortunately, her positioning statement/slogan said exactly that. The first thing we did was to convince her that there is a huge difference between a positioning statement and a slogan. We talked a lot about how her program helped kids, and exactly how it worked. We talked about user testimonials, and how it made the parents and kids feel. When we were done, we were able to craft a slogan that encompassed everything about her program, and clearly communicated its benefits – not just its features. Our slogan? “Reading. Learning. Sharing.”
Marketing is not rocket science. (If it were, I’d be writing this blog from the moon.) It does, however, require that you think like a marketer…in other words, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to figure out what is going to get them excited about your product.