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Communicating Value in the Zombie Apocalypse

While reviewing a guide in the Playbook about how to craft effective, value-based sales and marketing messages, I laughed out loud reading one of the many sample messages provided by the author:

When preparing a facility for the zombie apocalypse, it’s important to consider the height of your security fence. Recent studies by the CDC show that a single intrusion could cost you more than a $1M in healthcare expenses and workforce attrition. While other solutions on the market are 10′ tall—just tall enough to deter an average zombie with limited agility—our Zombie Shield™ fencing solution has an additional two feet of razor wire, designed to repel even the most determined flesh-eater.

Hilarious! But it’s also pretty instructive when you really break it down…

  1. First, the message clearly establishes the problem for the prospect. If they haven’t thought about the height of their security fence before, they certainly will.
  2. Then, the magnitude or cost of the problem is not only quantified, it’s even given added credibility through the third-party reference to the CDC.
  3. And finally, the competitive alternatives are addressed and the differential value of the Zombie Shield™ solution is driven home.

Obviously, this is a farcical example (or is it?), designed to provide a little comic relief to a relatively dry topic. But how many sales and marketing messages fail to deliver on the last point? How many sales messages fail to speak to the alternatives? How many marketing messages fail to expose the differences that can actually help a prospect make a decision?

Because it’s the differences that really matter. Of course, prospects will like hearing about your solution’s value in an absolute sense. But they’ll base their buying decisions on your solution’s value relative to the other options available.

And according to the author of How to Craft Effective Strategic Value Messages, when you don’t speak to the alternatives, you’re leaving far too much to chance:

Prospects just don’t do a very good job of recognizing differential value or critically-evaluating the alternatives when left to their own devices. So, don’t risk it. Overcome the natural tendency to just talk about your own offerings, and always strive to teach prospects how your offerings meet their needs better than the alternatives.

Great advice…even if the zombie apocalypse never happens. Fingers crossed.

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