Monday, June 4, 2012

Let them taste the ham

What started as a somewhat silly conversation in the car led to some deeper insight about marketing and what sells.
While driving home from a dinner party with my sister-in-law and adult daughter, we started talking about food. I mentioned that I never knew the differences between what could be considered common foods, such as chocolate (now I know) and ham. I then relayed this story:
Recently I was at the deli and asked for ham. The counter woman replied, “Do you want Virginia ham or Bavarian ham?” I said, “I didn’t know there was a difference.” I then asked, “What kind do you like?” She replied, “Bavarian.” I would have chosen Virginia ham because that’s what I knew. So, then I asked to do a taste test to determine if I could be persuaded to try something new. After trying both, I found that the Bavarian was a bit smokier and tastier than the Virginia ham, and I made a choice that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Photo by Liz Cezat, Cezat Creative Resources, Inc.
After I finished telling this story, I was surprised when my sister-in-law – whose figure rivals that of a teenager because she monitors everything that she eats – said, “I want some ham when we get home.” This was after dinner, mind you, and it was about 11 p.m. when we got to my house, where she was staying as a guest. It amazed me that I had convinced someone to try something just by talking about an experience related to it.
The lesson? Appeal to one’s senses when you are persuading someone to try something new.
I don’t know how to do that with a brochure but here goes: Imagine holding in your hand a brochure with real paper. Is it thin or thick? Does it feel cheap or elegant? Does it have texture? Are there photos in it? Are the photos colorful and exciting? Do they relate well to the products or services detailed in the brochure? Do the subheads entice you to want to read more? Does the copy guide you through the offering from beginning to end without smacking of guile? Are you motivated to find out more about this company by visiting their website? Are you intrigued enough to consider how their product or service could help you or your business?
How important is it to break through the barriers of communication and get someone to try something new – particularly your product or service? The appeal to one’s senses is a powerful sales tool.