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DIY Business Review – Copywriting, media releases and marketing collateral

When it comes to marketing your product and services, your message needs to ‘resonate’ with your target audience. What this means is that your target audience (customers and potential customers) recognize that your products and services are suitable for them.

By generating marketing messages that are meaningful to your target audience, you are creating ‘brand salience’. Brand salience is not WHAT people think of your products and services but HOW OFTEN they think of them in the buying decisions. You want to create excellent brand salience.

So here are some questions devised to help you with marketing material particularly copy for brochures and advertising and for media releases

1. Why is this product made the way it is? or Why is this service offered in the way that it is?

Is your product or service provided because “we’ve always done it this way” or are there other constraints? Is it possible that the way in which it is manufactured, produced or offered can be improved?

2. What consumer problems, desires, and needs is it designed for?

Consumers look for solutions to problems – faster, cleaner, bigger, smaller, cheaper, portable, closer to home or work, better quality, better customer service, longevity, convenience, innovation, ease of use, saves them time, saves them money, etc.
They also look for products and services that satisfy a desire or need – a lipstick that doesn’t bleed, cut flowers that last longer, ready-made meals that are tastier, mobile phones that fit in an evening bag, etc.

3. What’s special about it—why does it fulfil a consumer’s needs better than the competition?

It can be difficult to identify why your product or service fulfils a customer’s need better than a competitor. Be creative – remember, you will be creating marketing messages from these questions. Also, many people harp on about ‘differentiation’ which in this day and age with so many choices can be difficult. Try being authentic if you can’t be different. Trends indicate that authenticity is of greater value to consumers these days.

4. Who says so besides you?

Third-party endorsement will always be stronger and more valuable than other single form of communication. This is why gaining publicity through a media release will always be more valuable than paying for an advertisement. Do you have testimonials, case studies, statistics, research or similar facts to support your position? Do you have a highly credible spokesperson who uses your product or service and would be willing to provide a testimonial for you?

5. What are your strongest proof elements to make your case believable?

This is related to question 4. Proof elements may include visual (such as video), laboratory studies, blind trials and strong before and after testimony.

6. What are all the product’s / service’s best features and how does each translate into a consumer benefit?

Please don’t confuse a ‘feature’ with a ‘benefit’. A non-stick frypan would have the ‘feature’ of a non-stick surface, but the ‘benefit’ of nothing sticking to that surface. Some types of food may have the ‘feature’ of being low-fat but the ‘benefit’ of aiding weight loss. A mall or shopping centre may have the ‘feature’ of elevators or lifts, but the ‘benefit’ of being easy to access by people with a disability.

7. If you had unlimited funds, how would you improve this product / service?

This is always an interesting question. What WOULD you do to improve your product or service if you had unlimited funds? Go crazy with this – have fun with it. And then, what’s stopping you making such improvements besides money? Is this is valid improvement that could actually increase sales? Can you do it? Should you do it?

8. Who are its heavy users—the 20 percent who generate 80 percent of sales?

If you don’t know the answer to this, what can you implement to find out? In terms of sending marketing messages and the channels you use, it is important o know the answer to this question if possible. Because you may be misdirecting your marketing to a sector that doesn’t provide you with your greatest income, or profit margin.

9. What irresistible offers might trigger an explosion in sales?

Use this thought as the basis for brain-storming, have fun and get really creative. Or you may immediately know what offer may trigger sales. However, DON’T even THINK about discounting. This can be the worst tactic for many reasons including the general devaluing of your product or service. It’s very hard to increase prices after discounting because consumers have bought something at a price they perceive to be its value. Plus, it’s often a short term solution and puts you into a price-competitive environment rather than one of quality, convenience or innovation.

10. What premiums can be tossed into the mix to press your prospects’ hot buttons?

Everyone has different hot buttons when making a purchase. For some people, a hot button will be prestige and having something no-one else has. For others, hot buttons could be the effect a purchase has on their family, a congratulatory purchase for themselves, a lifestyle choice (health or fitness perhaps), comfort or function, a reminder of childhood or other memory, etc.

Can you gauge what hot buttons might be pushed when considering the purchase of your product or service?

Once you have answered these questions and developed some thoughts, how can these translate in to marketing messages? How can you be compelling in attracting consumers to YOUR business?

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About the Author: Penelope Herbert was born in New Zealand, lives in Australia and has worked in Japan, Malaysia and the USA. She trained as a Film Editor/Director in New Zealand before embarking upon various media, marketing and public relations roles overseas. Her time as Editorial Director for a national fashion and lifestyle magazine gave her a passion for print and the impetus to open a marketing & public relations agency, Hot Pepper, in 2002. For seven years she has been a Contributing Editor to ‘in-business’ magazine specializing in women in business and the issues & challenges of small business owners.

A sought after public speaker and seminar presenter, Penelope has authored two comprehensive workbooks based on her popular workshop series and her work with small business owners & corporate clients. She also recently finished an eight-week television segment based on her co-authored book, Underdog Marketing, to be released in March 2009. The book is a complement to the state-of-the-art, skills development, 12-step mentored marketing platform www.UnderdogMarketingChallenge.com which features video, podcasts, structured courses, interactive features and a members forum. Penelope lives in Adelaide with her partner, Terry Reeves (himself a marketing guru so good for bouncing off) and their gorgeous Hungarian Viszla dog, Shelby.

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