Any similarity between the characters in this article and actual electrical household implements is strictly coincidental. Furthermore, none of the aforementioned were harmed in any way during the preparation of this story …
Let’s suppose you’ve come up with a revolutionary new product. Let’s call it a Whoozit Dust and Dirt Destroyer, just for fun. It’s a vacuum cleaner on steroids. Bear with me here Yogi, this is no joke.
The Whoozit uses centrifugal force to suck dirt instead of relying on a vacuum created inside of a paper bag.
Naturally, there are pros to centrifugal action (cleans deeper, eliminates back draft, maintenance-free) and there are cons as well (high sticker price, heavy, bulky).
Now suppose you’re trying to persuade people to buy your new Whoozit Dust and Dirt Destroyer …
Are you better off presenting only the advantages that centrifugal force affords the Whoozit? Or will you sell more Whoozits if you present both the pros and the cons of the new system and try to demonstrate how the pros far outweigh the cons?
If you take the first approach you butt up against skepticism. People read your copy and it looks one sided. Biased.
If you take the second approach you appear to be an objective, fair minded source of information, and people are much more likely to trust you.
On the other hand, the mere mention of anything that could be perceived as negative may raise an objection that might never have occurred to many people reading your copy. And even if you counter the objection or turn it into a positive, you complicate the decision.
What’s the best practice?
What kind of approach works better?
Answer: like any other marketing dilemma – it depends.
Making a decision like this in the vacuum I’ve asked you to make it in is a classic marketing blunder.
The answer has nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the predisposition of your market.
Without asking questions, taking surveys, observing behaviors and all of the other discipline of research, there is no right answer.
All right smartass, let’s suppose I’ve done my homework, what then?
Of course, I was getting to that …
If your audience is already predisposed to the superiority of centrifugal action, then a one sided argument is likely to convert much better than a two sided one. They’ve already half made up their minds about it based on previous exposure to the concept.
That existing predilection needs to be reinforced, justified, and turned into a decision to act now.
If your audience is neutral, or has already dismissed the overwhelming superiority of centrifugal force, the two sided argument is best. It allows you to begin with points of agreement and build from there.
Yes, the Whoozit is a heavy, bulky beast. It’s much heavier than a regular vacuum cleaner. It’s wider too.
That’s necessary for stabilizing the 800 foot pounds of force required to pull 453% more dirt and dust out of your rug.
It’s also why we’ve installed these heavy-duty spring loaded runners that actually make the Whoozit a joy to maneuver around your home.
Unfortunately quality like this doesn’t come cheap …
At four and half times the cost of a regular vacuum cleaner, you might find the Whoozit pricey, perhaps more than a person such as yourself could afford. (Who the hell does this guy think he is telling me I can’t afford it, where do I sign?)
That’s exactly the way many of our customers felt, until they found out how much they would save…
Imagine never having to replace another expensive bag for the many years you’ll enjoy the unit.
Not only will you save hundreds over the lifetime of the Whoozit, your house will smell cleaner and fresher. There’ll be no airborne dust while you’re cleaning. Dust born allergies will never be an issue for your family. And those nasty mites hiding deep in your carpets and mattresses will be gone, gone, gone!
Does this approach look familiar to you?
If you’ve ever become involved in politics you’ve probably seen it before …
Politicians are totally plugged in to the power of intelligence gathering. Their pollsters have turned market research into an exacting science. And they use that intelligence to preach to the choir very differently than they do to the unwashed.
When addressing the party faithful, the candidate delivers a hell raising speech that shamelessly hammers home his platform and candidacy. If he mentions the opposition at all, it’s in a derisive, mocking tone.
Then when he goes on national television, he puts on his statesman hat and gives the opposing viewpoint a fair hearing before demolishing it.
The key lesson: Take pains to discover the prevailing prejudices and predilections of your target audience. Then tailor your pitch to dovetail with what they’re already thinking.
What about you?
Which approach makes sense for your market, and why?
Are there certain situations/segments you’re involved with where one approach makes more sense than the other?
Sound off in the comments box below.
Until next time, Good Selling!