“Who Else Can Say That?” Is An Excellent Question You Can Use to evaluate your writing – especially your headlines. Pay close attention to this one though, because the question is NOT, “Who else can do what you do?” The question is, “Who else can say what you say?” And the answer usually is…anybody and everybody.
For Example – There’s an auto repair facility that was by FAR the most awesome auto repair facility you could find. They had 11 ASE certified mechanics, twice as much hi-tech equipment as any dealership, 63 bays, and floors you could eat off of. Do you realize how many ELEVEN ASE Certified mechanics is? It’s a ton for one shop. Most have one, maybe two. Do you realize how many bays 63 is? It’s a lot. Most BIG shops have less than 20…and small ones only have 4 or 5 or LESS. This company had the ability to start and complete 95% of all jobs in less than 24 hours – the only exceptions were transmissions, engine replacements, and differentials – and every repair job was absolutely, 100% guaranteed. If you called in to check the progress of your car, they would send your call straight through to the TECHNICIAN who was working on your car within 10 seconds. Every mechanic carried a cordless phone at all times. This place kicked some serious butt. They put three or four competitors out of business every year, and as a result, they literally own the marketplace in the city where they’re located.
But even though their Inside Reality was great, and even though they were very successful, they still had a big marketing problem: Although nobody could even come close to performing at their level – i.e., nobody could match their Inside Reality – their yellow pages ad, where a good portion of the new business was generated from, looked virtually identical to all of their less-competent competitors. It used the same generalities and platitudes as everyone else: it said things like “ASE Certified Mechanics. Foreign and Domestic Cars Serviced.” And then the usual long laundry list of services performed…ranging from air conditioners to brakes, to transmissions and more. So ask this question: “Who else can say that?”
When the service manager was given this evaluation on his ad, he got really upset. He started ranting and raving; “There’s nobody else that can say what we say. They can’t even come close to touching us. Even the dealerships bring their cars to us when THEY can’t fix them. Our mechanics are far and away the best in the state. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can say what we say.”
For Companies That Aren’t Extremely Marketing Sharp, the Inside Reality and the Outside Perception often have very little to do with each other. So finally, to try to prove the point in a nice way, the owner was told to pull out the yellow pages and see what all of his competitors were saying in their ads. He pulled out the book, and sure enough, he looked at the ads and stood there in silence for about two minutes. Finally, he pointed at the page and said to the service manager; “Look. I know this guy. He’s terrible. His ad says the exact same thing that ours does. And look at this guy. He’s a rip-off artist, and his ad reads just like ours too. In fact, I think he copied our layout and verbiage word for word.” That’s what we call, SELF-EVIDENCE. See, if you’ve got a great Inside Reality, but don’t exploit it in your advertising by Saying It Well, then anyone can say what you say…whether or not they can perform at your level.
Another Example is a box company that could turn a custom box order in just four hours or less. They started using a slogan and a logo that read “Custom Boxes on Your Dock In Just Four Hours…Guaranteed.” What about that? Do you think any of their competitors would even dare put that slogan on any of THEIR promotional materials? Not on your life. Why? Because there’s no way any of them could perform at that level. Not even close. Their competitors Inside Reality could not support that kind of Outside Perception. Although the box company could turn four hour orders long before they started using the slogan, they weren’t using that slant in their advertising which meant they weren’t taking advantage of the opportunity, and that unique thing about their business. They used to just spew out the same junk as everyone else. “We have boxes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Not anymore.
Here are a couple other examples: A big Barbecue Catering Company stated in their advertising that: “The flavor and taste of our quality meats gives you the best BBQ you’ve ever eaten.” Yeah, that’s really believable…Who else could say that? Only every other barbeque company on the planet, and anyone who’s ever fired up the backyard barbeque.
Guess What Industry This Is:
“Experienced staff; Company in business 35 years. Research &
Development of New Technology. Customer service always available.”
Who else can say that? This could be any company…in any industry.
Here Are A Couple More “Who Else Can Say That?” Examples: Here’s a chiropractor with a headline that says, “Gentle Techniques To Relieve Your Back Pain.” That’s original. Who else can say that? What about this ad for computers: “We’ve got the lowest computer prices in town.” Lazy communication at it’s worst. Everyone else could certainly say that…and most of their competitors DO say that.
Are you seeing how this evaluation could potentially expose gaping holes in your current marketing efforts? Take a moment to review your marketing, if it fails the evaluation…change it.