Friday, April 29, 2011

It’s Not What You Sell Or How You Sell It. It’s Why.

I was in a client meeting this week. The client was one of the largest retailers in the world. In the room were the Chairman, CEO, marketing team.

We were talking about the three things that consumers are interested in knowing about the companies they do business with - what, how and why.

What pertains to what it is that the company sells. It could be cars. Toasters. Soap. The what question is fairly easy.

The second thing that consumers need to know is how the company sells what they sell. Is it through promotions? Better quality? Number of locations? Service? The how question is a good one, because it is often the point of differentiation for a marketer.

For this particular client, the how answer was promtions.

When it came down to the why question, the meeting got very interesting. I turned to the CEO and asked him, why do you sell what you do? And the answer, I said, can't be to make money. Making money is a result.

What followed was silence.

And, looks around the room.

No one wanted to step forward.

Again I asked, why do you sell what you do?

I suggest you ask that of your clients next time your in a meeting. And remember, to make money isn’t an answer.

The reason it’s an important question is because loyalists and advocates of the brand don’t buy what you do.

They buy why you do it.

If your client doesn’t know, the odds are pretty good that their customers won’t know.

Brands today need to exist for a reason greater than making money.

That is, if they want to continue making money.

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