The PB&J. It’s a classic. And, with very few exceptions, one PB&J is pretty much like the other. So, with that said, let’s do a little experiment.
I’m going to give you two descriptions of a PB&J as they might appear on a menu. Read both, and then choose the one that convinces you that you just HAVE to have that sandwich. (Share your answer in the comments!)
PB & J Sandwich: Smooth or crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly on two slices of white or whole wheat bread. Served with chips.
The OMG!!! PB&J: Forget the traditional PB&J on white bread. BORING! We put the creamiest (or crunchiest — your decision) peanut butter and the most delectable Concord grape jelly between two light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes in just the right amounts. And THEN we sprinkle the top with a fine dusting of powdered sugar. From the very first bite you take, you’ll experience layer after layer of pure deliciousness. And you’ll notice how the flavors come together in a way that can only be described as “OMG!!!” (Seriously. We hear our customers saying this ALL. THE. TIME.) We’ll give you extra napkins to wipe the jelly off as it runs down your chin and to dab the powdered sugar off your nose.
What Can This Teach Us About Marketing Our Products and Services?
If you have a product or a service that a lot of other people offer too, the classic PB&J is a great metaphor for you. So many businesses focus on the features of what they sell rather than how it will benefit the consumers or clients they serve. (See Option 1 above. Just the features, ma’am.) They also get a bit lazy when it comes to looking for ways to differentiate their service from competitors and how to communicate about it in a way that potential customers or clients will actually pay attention to.
What Option 2 represents is taking something that EVERYONE else offers and putting a spin on it that’s uniquely your own. What something you can do — even it’s a small thing — to differentiate the way you offer therapy services? Writing services? Legal services? Consulting services? SOMETHING so that you don’t sound and look like everyone else in your field.
Option 2 is also an example of how to communicate in a way that allows others to “see” how their lives can be improved by purchasing your product or service. It doesn’t have to be a HUGE improvement. It can be as simple as giving them an unexpected twist on a PB&J. When you talk about your offering in the same way your competitors do, then you’ll remain invisible. And that’s no fun for anyone.
In a marketplace that’s becoming noisier and noisier, you have to find a way to stand out. But you don’t have to be a marketing expert to do that. You just have to understand what your potential customers are looking for and how you can connect with them in a way that gets you noticed.