Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum Cleaner

Assume John sells vacuums. He feels he needs to advertise.

Does he…

1) Explain to people why clean floors are important?

2) Explain how vacuums remove dust, allergens, and pollens to keep your family healthier?

3) Announce that his store has vacuums with HEPA filters in stock?

4) Announce a big sale on vacuums this weekend?

At one time or another John will be advised to do each of these things. Is any of them a valid strategy? Truthfully, each can be, but not to the same potential markets, and not at the same time.

As you might imagine, those people looking for a vacuum today would probably respond better to appeal #3 – vacuums with HEPA filters in stock; or perhaps appeal #4 – big sale this weekend announcement.

On the other hand, people who wonder about the effect of pollen on their family’s health are probably not yet ready to commit to any purchase.

And no matter which appeal he selects, it will work better against some segments of the potential vacuum cleaner market than against other segments. It logically follows that some appeals will lead to greater profits.

In a series of posts we’re going to discuss how to determine which segment of the potential market is most profitable, how to attract their attention, and how to craft a message which appeals to them. Finally, we’ll discuss how to choose a medium to deliver your message.

Before we start, let’s look at John and Marsha.

Consider John. John has just spent $200 taking Marsha to a very nice restaurant for dinner. Its their first date. John tries to impress Marsha. His shirt is unbuttoned down to the fourth button, so as to better show off the collection of gold chains he wears. Through dinner John tells Marsha all about himself: that he owns his own company, which he expects to take public in a couple of years; that his other car, the Porche, is in the garage again, at his vacation home, in Boca Raton. That a local political party has approached him about running for his state’s House of Representatives.

Show of hands, who believes Marsha will accept a second date with John?

Now, let’s consider John’s company. They just spent $2,000 on an ad which runs in American Idol on the local Fox affiliate. John’s Vaccuum ad states, “We’re an end-to-end solution for the wholesale purchase, shipping, warehousing, display, retail advertising, and financing of residential vacuum cleaners.

Show your hands again. Who believes that Marsha will drop buy John’s Vacuums to shop for a vacuum cleaner?

What’s the problem with the ad for John’s Vacuums?

There are two, actually.

The first problem is that the ad talks about the company. Frankly, customers don’t care about your company. They care about what you can do for them. If its so obvious that bragging about yourself is a terrible strategy to build an interpersonal relationship, why do business people insist on doing it to try for a professional relationship with a customer?

Why would you want a relationship with a customer?

Primarily because you don’t want to sell one item to one customer one time, and then start all over. You’ll make a lot more money with referrals and repeat sales.

The second problem with the John’s Vacuum ad is it describes what the company does, from the company’s viewpoint. “An end-to-end solution for the wholesale purchase, shipping, warehousing, display, retail advertising, and financing of residential vacuum cleaners,” may be how those people who work for John’s Vacuums view their duties, but it’s not the way customers describe what they want.

Next time we’ll discuss what people want, and why, for successful fishing for customers, your advertising should address those wants.

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKayYour Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

Questions about focusing on the issues your customers care about may be directed to Or call Chuck at 304-208-7654.

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Marketing P.A.I.N. Series

Part 1, Relationships
Part 2, What Do People Want?
Part 3, Advertising the First Stage of Pain
Part 4, When People Realize They’re Hurting
Part 5, Testimonials and Comparisons
Part 6, Make It Stop!
Part 7, Tie It All Together
Part 8, Message Frequency, Media Choices, and Tracking