The Difference That Makes the Difference!

Jeffrey Fox has written many excellent books and his “How to Become a Marketing Superstar” is one of my all time favourites. This is a quick study that every CEO should read before every single marketing presentation from this day forward. And if you’re in marketing making those presentations, you should read it weekly and then once again before you present anything to your CEO, especially if she’s read it lately.

In a most irreverent style, the author absolutely shreds many of the most esoteric and mindless practices masquerading as marketing today. “How to Become a Marketing Superstar” was one of The CEO Refresher’s Best Books of 2003 and in my opinion is becoming more relevant every day. Beyond relevant – this is essential, aggressive common sense that every CEO needs to be able to cut through the fluff and get to what works to “make the cash registers ring.”

Here are excerpts from “How to Become a Marketing Superstar” by Jeffery J. Fox, published by Hyperion, New York, 2003, with permission from the author.

Here we go:

What, Pray Tell, Is the Difference?

“Our people make the difference,” pretentiously proclaims one company after another. Oh, really? And what is the difference the people make? If the “difference” is your selling point, then articulate that difference.

“The right broker makes all the difference.” Not just the difference; all the difference. Does the wrong broker not make a difference?

“In Winemaking as in nature, it’s the smallest details that make the difference.” My, my! The smallest details! Not the attention to the details, just the details themselves. (In this ad, not only do you never find out the “difference,” the brand name of the product is not mentioned. That is one small detail the advertiser might reconsider adding.)

“Volunteer to make a difference!” (One infers that the exclamation point is supposed to make this claim more important.)

And you will be counseled, “The right choice makes the difference,” because you certainly would not to make the wrong choice. And when it comes to choice, how about the marketer who prints, “Your car choice makes a difference,” on the lid of a yogurt package!

Difference is everywhere: “You can make a difference in people’s lives,” “feel the difference,” “experience the difference,” “you’ll see the difference night and day,” and a hundred other variations of the same theme in the slogans and ad headlines of lazy marketers.

Such marketers are too lazy to dig, and study, and think, and write and rewrite until they can crisply state whatever their product’s “difference” actually is. Look around. Read the ads, listen to the slogans, look at truck side panels. Everybody is “doing the difference.” Not only is this lazy marketing, it is myopic, Don’t those advertisers notice that with everyone claiming “difference,” they all are the same?

The super marketer knows how his or her product is different and states the difference. If the product difference is more peanuts in a candy bar, the advertising doesn’t say “chew the difference” or “crunch the difference.” The super marketer’s ads and sales literature and packaging and selling story all say, “Chunk-a-Choc candy bar has 14% more peanuts than any other candy bar.”

You must understand your product’s point of difference and factually state the difference(s). Use numbers. Provide the customer with facts and data. Let the customer decide if your factual statement is a compelling and relevant difference.

If your customer knows the competitor, she will recognize your factual claim as a point of difference. If the customer does not know the competition, and your factual claim resonates, she might investigate your product first. When she does investigate your product, you can make the sale.

Wow! So in the next presentation your new and most creative marketing team wants your buy-in to the absolutely categorically improved tagline for your core product that will take the market by storm.

It’s, “Taste the Difference Quality Makes!” (And with an exclamation point!)

Who are you going to call?

There’s more – everyone is making a difference!

Make a difference
Making the difference
You can make a difference
We can make a difference!
See the difference
Seeing the difference
Be the difference
Feel the difference!
Taste the difference!
What’s the difference!
The difference!
La difference
The ultimate difference!
A world of difference
People making a difference
Worlds of difference
Taste the local difference
We know the difference
Designed to make a difference
Wherever pictures make a difference
Quality makes the difference
The visible difference
The audible difference
The digital difference
The classic difference
The sustainable difference
The service difference
Journalism with a difference
The union difference
Engineering the difference
Subtle difference
Vital difference
The steel blue difference
A difference of design
The real difference
Daring difference
Data is the difference
Find the difference
The essential difference
The Dunkin’ difference
Celebrating the spirit of difference
The potato chip difference
You will experience the ninja burger difference!
The ultimate ears difference

And my all time favourite …

A “difference that makes a difference!”

It makes no difference!

Thanks Jeffrey