In his book Pre-Suasion, Professor of Psychology and best-selling author Robert Cialdini, mentions a joke he’d often heard at marketing conferences. It tracks an exchange between a salesperson from a marketing company and a potential client who wants to bring out a new brand of frozen spinach.
Client: do you have experience marketing new food products?
Salesperson: we have quite a lot of experience there.
Client: does that include experience in selling frozen food?
Salesperson: Yes, it does.
Client: How about frozen vegetables?
Salesperson: We’ve actually brought several types to the market over the years.
Salesperson: Actually, yes, spinach too.
Client: (leaning forward now, voice straining in anticipation): Whole leaf…..or chopped?
The joke gets some derisive laughter from the marketing people in the audience although the joke was never funny when the joke was on them – when they’d lost a contract or sale because a client, caught up in some detail or difference, missed the big picture of what they had to offer.
It’s not that it’s wrong to look at what distinguishes one industry or sector’s marketing from another, but the focus on perceived uniqueness can often lead to a serious lapse in judgment. Many distinctions are of little consequence and perhaps more crucially, the focus needs to be on what has proved convincing across the widest set of marketing situations, not what’s different but what’s the same!
If we can understand and use the universal principles that support all effective marketing, they’ll win the day in all manner of circumstances and the minor differences become insignificant.
If you’re interested in finding out more about what the universal principles are and why this approach works so well, please let us know and we’d be delighted to chat.