An allure that feels like a promise
In sales and marketing related to technology, what has worked for me over the past couple decades is solutions based on features, products, frameworks, plugins, approaches, concepts, APIs, and platforms that all have two things in common:
- they have an an instantly easy to grasp idea – that often can be easily riffed on
- their names themselves have a nice ring to them – that often sounds good shortened
Sometimes more of one than the other – and there’s a non-scientific tradeoff there – but that’s the basic, ridiculous-but-true formula.
There’s an allure that feels like a promise.
Case in point – when I designed and sold custom solutions based on Drupal and Salesforce, I remember introducing a module to a client called “Organic Groups” to counter the problem of Facebook Groups luring away customer from their own platform. The name Organic Groups (a) suggested the strategy of fostering a pleasantly natural evolution of affinity groups and (b) was nice to say, such as during strategy conversations; it was easy to shorten to ‘Groups’ too.
In reality, Organic Groups was fatally flawed and a complete waste of time and money 9 times out of 10 – but its superficial promise kept it alive.
Same with sales and marketing concepts like USP – unique selling proposition.
It’s a crisp idea based on a premise you can easily bullshit on in a sales call – that buyers remember just one thing. And if you shorten it down to a clean 3-consonant acronym, USP rolls off the tongue quite nicely – like IBM, NBA, MVP, etc.
The fact is though, that the person who coined USP, Bill Bernback, never produced any evidence that buyers remember just one thing. He just made it up.
The real challenge is coining a term with the properties discussed – but for something that actually delivers on its promise.
(This was originally published on Art of Message – subscribe here)