Once upon a time (in 1960) there were two brothers who desperately wanted to go to college. Their parents were broke, so the boys figured that the only way they were going to be able to swing it – was by working a couple of jobs. The boys wound up working for a struggling pizza company, which despite its prized location close to a college campus, still couldn’t turn a profit. The boys offered to buy out the stressed out owner – the deal secured by a $75 down payment and the remaining $500 they scrimped and scrounged as a loan from family and friends. Eight months later the more studious of the two brothers decided he wanted to spend more time hitting the books and less time flipping pizza dough.
Meantime the other brother loved the pizza business and wanted little to do with his studies – so they traded: full ownership of the pizza business to brother Tom in return for his cherry red Volkswagen beetle. Like most business owners, Tom was working crazy hours – struggling as the previous business owner was, to run the business profitably. There was a lot of competition on campus for food, and more pizza stores than you could shake a stick at. Times were tough.
Wracking his brain to come up with a marketing message that would draw people in was no easy task.
He certainly didn’t have the best tasting pizza. It was good, but not exactly what you’d classify as a taste bud symphony.
He couldn’t claim that his sauce recipe was Mama’s own secret – direct from their tiny village in Sicily and fiercely guarded by his family for 5 generations.
After many sleepless nights he finally had it. Excited beyond words he rushed to work the next day to test it out.
The results were astounding. Response rates to his ads quadrupled almost immediately. Media requests started pouring in. Their phone system blew up and more help had to be hired immediately in all positions.
Here is his marketing message that changed everything and resulted in the world’s largest pizza chain – 10,000 franchised stores in more than 70 countries. The company of course is Dominos Pizza:
Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.
That’s it. How could a marketing message so simple be such a game changer in an overcrowded market?
For that exact reason. It’s overcrowded. As very few businesses have a really great, extremely clear marketing message – the ones that do really stand out.
Why is having the right marketing message so important for your business?
Well, because everything, and I mean everything – hinges off of it:
- Whether someone decides to stay or leave your website in that first 3 seconds - The way the media perceives your business - The way you perceive your business and the value you bring to your customers - The process your prospects go through in their mind to decide whether they want to pull out their checkbooks or not.
Whenever I accept a new private client, one of the first projects I work on is nailing down their marketing message – identifying a gap in their market and then crafting the right wording that will help drive a truck right through it. Once this exercise is complete it’s not unusual for campaign response rates to double or even triple, for site traffic to spike, or to attract media attention (instead of having to chase it).
Little hinges open big doors.
The uncomfortable truth is that unless you have the right marketing message – any marketing you’re doing is going to yield a small fraction of the results that it would otherwise do.
Take a look at this photo I took at the bottom of my yard. Does your marketing message make your business the red poppy in your industry, or are you really just another green leaf?