Be Successful by Being Obvious

t_newhard_kWhen I was young, a novel product called Magic Eye came out — everyone wanted one. No magic was actually involved, Magic Eye was just a book that contained hidden images the appeared when you stared at the image on a page long enough.  At first glance the pages of the book seemed to contain nothing but jumbled-up crap, but then when you stared long enough a whale or jet plane might appear — like MAGIC.

Staring at the pages of a Magic Eye was fun for a little while, but I eventually tired of it. Nowadays I would rather not stare at something for more than 5 seconds in order to figure it out. This includes any type of positioning, branding or, advertising.

An analysis of 901 brands by the Eureka! Ranch(1) showed that brands that touted an obvious benefit were 75% more likely to succeed than those that hide their message.

The ears and eyes of your prospects are being pushed and pulled in a lot of directions by all the other advertising out there. Being upfront and concise as to how your product is a benefit will help you push through the clutter more than being super avant garde or idiotic.

The key to understanding what your product’s benefits are starts with the features of your product. For example, a 2010 Toyota Prius gets a combined fuel economy of 50 MPG. That is a feature. What is the benefit? The benefit that is that over time you can save X amount of money of gas or that your reduced carbon monoxide emissions will help save the earth and make you sleep better at night. Those are benefits that will make me buy a Prius… not really; I’m not the Prius type, but at least I am rejecting the product because I do not need its proposed benefits, not because I could not figure out what they are.

But wait, shouldn’t I be able to make the connection between feature and benefit on my own? Yeah, I should, but why leave it up to chance with everyone else — you are not insulting anyone’s intelligence by telling them how your product will be a benefit.

Here is another example: paint that is infused with primer. Infused primer is the feature, what is my benefit? According to the paint manufacturer that makes this paint, that means I have to use less paint, which equates to marginal cost savings and significant time savings. That is the benefit.

Ask yourself what the key features of your product are and how your target audience willtranslate those into benefits. Then help them make the translation through your marketing. Make your marketing simple, not a Magic Eye.

1. Darwin 900 Study (Eureka! Ranch, 2001)