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The problem with most marketing is that it’s based on lazy communication. The opposite of lazy communication is precise communication. Specific communication. Deliberate communication. Specificity is one of the most valuable tools of the master communicator. You must use specificity if you want to develop marketing that really hits home with your prospects, and compels them to take notice of what you have to say.
The objective of all your marketing efforts should be to build a case for your products or services and to challenge yourself to be specific when presenting your “case”. Think about how an attorney does this. An attorney will ask a client she’s defending question after question to get all of the intricate details about the client’s version of what happened. These questions allow an attorney to piece together a defense based on these details, which are in turn used to prepare a case to win the favor of a jury. Specificity is critical to an attorney winning a case.
As a marketer, you have the same challenge as an attorney does - you need to convince your prospect (the jury) that you have the best product or service by providing a compelling case. And you need to do this by being specific.
Here's something else you need to know: Prospects believe that marketers lie with generalities and tell the truth with specifics.
This is an example: A men’s formal wear store carries an enormous selection of tuxedos. One of the things people hate when trying to rent a tuxedo is the lack of style choices. So how should this store position itself in its marketing?
One possible approach could be: "Biggest Selection Of Tuxedos In The City." What's the problem with this approach? Is it believable? "Biggest Selection Of Tuxedos In The City" sounds like hollow puffery at it's worst - even though it may be true!
Now consider this positioning strategy that uses precise and specific communication. What if your marketing started with: "We always carry over 4,550 different tuxedos in 62 different styles, 28 different sizes, and 21 varying colors - in price ranges from $19.95 to $895." Now that's precise. It's not lazy communication. It's powerful, specific communication. Is it more believable than the first positioning statement? Does it differentiate this men’s wear shop from its competitors?
Think about the way these two different statements are perceived by the prospect. The first one, "Biggest Selection Of Tuxedos In The City" is immediately mentally written off because it sounds like everybody else’s claim – consequently, it’s given little, if any, credibility. The second, on the other hand, is immediately accepted as absolute fact and wholly truthful. Could you really make the claim that "We always carry over 4,550 different tuxedos in 62 different styles and 28 different sizes and 21 varying colors - in price ranges from $19.95 to $895" if it weren't true? Of course you couldn't. Here's the important thing to remember: these two statements apply to the same company! One statement is based on a platitude, the other on building a case.
You can see how marketing dollars can be better leveraged if you simply take the time to build a case and use specificity in your marketing communications. This law of specificity needs to permeate all of your marketing – advertising, brochures, one on one communications, presentations, web site, etc. All of your claims need to be specific and quantifiable.
When you develop marketing communications, you need to evaluate it against whether you’ve answered these questions:
- Why specifically?
- What specifically?
- How much/how many specifically?
- How much/how many typically?
- Compared to what?
These questions will help you put the right amount of specificity into your marketing efforts. Remember prospects believe marketers lie in generalities and tell the truth in specifics.