Some of you reading this might remember the NBC commercial with the tagline, “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.” Almost 20 years ago that commercial had one goal – entice viewers to watch summer reruns. Catching a tv show you missed by watching summer reruns might be a foreign concept for many people today because virtually all television shows and movies can be viewed on demand. But 20 years ago it was your only hope of catching the shows you missed.
The NBC commercial came to mind as I listened to Roger Dooley’s Brainfluence Podcast. During episode #138, The Customer Loyalty Loop, Roger was interviewing Noah Fleming and Noah referred to Schlitz beer back in 1919.
Noah shared the story of a marketing consultant, Claude Hopkins, who was walking the floor of a Schlitz plant and saw some really interesting things happening. When he asked why Schlitz wasn’t talking about those things in their advertising their response was basically because all beer makers did those things and they were nothing special. Claude’s response was, “Yeah, but nobody’s talking about them,” so Schlitz built a marketing campaign around those cool things.
Sometimes marketing is no more than sharing what you do in a compelling way. A more recent example would be Liberty Mutual’s commercials that highlight how some auto insurance doesn’t give you enough reimbursement to replace your car when it’s totaled. They’re correct and the commercials touch a nerve with the buying public.
Liberty tells you their insurance will replace your car. But here’s the catch – you have to pay extra for that coverage and almost every insurance company offers the same coverage for a price. Kudos to Liberty though because they’ve talked about something all of their competitors do but in a compelling way that makes Liberty stand out. No doubt many more people have contacted agents who represent Liberty Mutual for a quote because of those commercials.
So what’s the point? Whether it’s NBC summer reruns, Schlitz beer or Liberty Mutual’s new car replacement, what each company was touting may not be new but those offerings are new to you if you’ve not encountered them before.
When something is viewed as new, novel or unavailable elsewhere that’s an application of the principle of scarcity. This psychological concept tells us people value things more when they’re rare and it compels us to act in ways we wouldn’t normally. Once people realize they can get something like new car replacement from any insurance company the Liberty advantage will disappear because it will no longer be viewed the same way.
When you’re marketing your products or services look for ways to share the novelty of what you’re offering. That novelty might not be one thing, it might be a combination of things, but either way you stand a much better chance of gaining people’s attention and making the sale.