I’ve been saving this topic for a while now. Because this is a milestone episode, I will share it with you now..
This story is a couple of years old. But I did not rush into sharing it with you, because it is going to be as relevant in 10 years from now, as it was the day it all happened.
Ok, you ready for it? Here it goes..
My business partner bought a smoker. A charcoal BBQ smoker for slow cooking meats. I think it’s an American style of cooking meat, I mean,I know it’s an American style today, I think it originated in America also. (actually no, it was probably brought in from neighbouring country).
It’s more famous in the South around Texas. If you’ve ever had Texas BBQ you probably know what I’m talking about.
The types of meats they normally slow cook on the smoker are big beef briskets, pork, and ribs. It’s beyond delicious. I love it. The meat are cooked from anywhere from 8 to 12 to 16 or so hours. The meat comes out still dripping moist (if the cook knows what he or she is doing of course)
The meat is rubbed with herbs and seasoning before going in so the taste is strong and fantastic. But my favorite part is of course the smokey flavour. The meat is cooked over charcoal and they put these flavoured pre-soaked wood chips in there too that produce smoke, all day as they are heated.
These smokers are enclosed, almost airtight with a just a few valves to adjust the airflow, so the smoke just swirls around in there and through the meat for hours, It’s amazing.
If you haven’t had smoked meat before, can you imagine it? Can you smell the smoke, the charcoal? Can you almost taste it?
When my business partner slices through a full hunk of beef brisket, the outside very thin layer (less than 1mm) is black from the smoke and coals. Then there is this bright red almost pink layer of about 1cm or so. If there is any fat in the meat, it turns into this amazingly delicious almost jelly like texture.
Like I said before, if it’s cooked right all you need to do is push down softly on meat and you can see the juice squeeze out like it was a sponge full of water.
If you’ve never had this, try and find a Texas Smokehouse Restaurant near you. Or jump on a plane and go to Austin, Texas like my wife and I did. We googled the best smokehouses in the areas we were in and booked an Uber to go to them. Absolutely amazing BBQ’s going on over there, trust me.
Our favorite was a place called.. I totally forget. It was on the side of a highway.
Ok, so now I’ve given you the back story. And that was a very important lesson on..
How You Should Market and Position Your Products and Services.
Everything I’ve spoken to you about in this episode has all been setting the scene for the rest of this episode, and that is really the key lesson from this episode.
When you hear or read the rest of this episode, you will hear the story of how that WE FAILED to position what we were giving away. And that’s what this story is all about.
There is a second very important lesson in this episode..
I spoke about Smoked Meat, because that was what my story was about; Smoked Meat. And I’ll get back to all that after this extremely important little side note.
Now, the rest of this lesson is really going to be taken in by people who enjoy meat. More than what it will by Vegetarians for example.
I am not targeting Meat Eaters, nor am I recording this Podcast episode for Vegetarians, but the act of ‘talking to an audience’ is unavoidable.
No matter what you’re talking about., what you’re saying is either hitting the bullseye with someone, or maybe they are somewhat interested or maybe they are not interested at all, and they tune out, delete your email or close your website.
That’s the second UNINTENTIONAL, and hidden lesson in this episode. If you love red meat, you’re likely to read or listen to the rest of this episode. If you’re a vegetarian, there is more of a chance that you have tuned out by now, and probably aren’t even reading this because you’ve already moved on! (and I’m speaking generally of course, nothing is absolute).
Ok, back to my main point.
It’s very important how you position your product or service when you’re advertising, when you’re trying to sell or when you’re even just delivering what you do to your customer.
Ok, Part 2 of the story goes like this..
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my business partner and I have a favorite local Thai Restaurant, that also serves as our mutual meeting place when we’re out of the office.
We are here once a week on average, and went through about a year of never missing a Tuesday lunch here. It’s a family owned and ran restaurant, so as you’d expect we got to know the chef and owners. They are a very nice family, and they are fantastic cooks.
The thai food is authentic, it’s the flavours you find in the markets in the backstreets of cities. This is REAL thai food.
Because we are there a lot, we’re lucky enough to sometimes get small bites and samples of what they are cooking for themselves, this has been some of the best food we’ve tasted and several have now become regular requested dishes. But we need to request in advance because the ingredients aren’t always on hand, and of course we always pay a little extra for the extra the service.
Anyway, I’m getting to the point right now.
We sometimes bring in things that we’ve bought while travelling and also, things we’ve cooked at home or bought from the markets. Things that we know they are less likely to of come across or tried before. So maybe you can see where this is going.
My business partner bought in a plate of smoked Chicken Wings. WOW. They are good, I’d had them the week before and he did another batch, so I said you should bring in some for “Akki”, who is the chef. Great idea! So it was done.
The next day when he arrived at the restaurant he handed over to the chef on a dinner plate, wrapped tightly with cling wrap, some of these beautiful chicken wings, and this is where the lesson comes in.
In this situation, the chef had no backstory.
All the info and methods on how smoked meat is prepared and cooked like I shared with you at the start of this episode were not shared with the chef.
So when we arrived from Akkis point of view, it was “here, have some cooked chicken wings”.
The expression on his face was priceless. And the marketing lesson hit me immediately. And I knew I’d be telling that story one day. The look on his face was one of confusion and it said “oh thanks.. Chicken wings..”.
It was as if he was saying: “Why are you giving me these? I have some out back in the walk in fridge?”
My business partner quickly started to defend the seemingly “odd” gift by explaining they were first marinated, and cooked over some coals with wood smoke chips. He then peeled back some of the cling wrap and said have a smell, the chef leaned in, took a smell and knew instantly that these were no ordinary chicken wings.
The chef knows that he doesn’t have a meat smoker, and knows that he wouldn’t be able to cook these himself unless he was to buy one and learn how to do it.
Although he is a great chef, it’s just not his thing. Just like my business partner isn’t a pastry chef, so if someone was to give him a slice of freshly baked… whatever, he’d understand and appreciate the work that went into it. Pastry is simply in his “too much effort” basket so he doesn’t buy the utensils, equipment or bother with trying to do it himself.
When it came to giving this gift to our friend the Thai Chef, there was no prior product positioning. There was no back story like you got at the start of this episode.
Had we thought it through, or of course it was just a normal advertising campaign that we were running, maybe we would have first planted the seed in the customer’s mind. The customer in this example being Akki, the Thai chef. Maybe my business partner could’ve shown him a picture of his new smoker, and maybe some of the meat he had slow cooked.
And then maybe he could have told Akki about the process to slow cook, and explain it’s ‘smoked’ for 12 hours. How he has to wake up at 4am in the morning to put the meat on whenever he wants to smoke some meat.
Doesn’t this new information simply just paint a better picture?
To help me to explain this point some more, let me pose another question to you.. What’s the difference between the Mona Lisa and another similar portrait, painted of a girl who looks similar to the model in the Mona Lisa, and painted in the same year in, in the same town?
It’s the story that’s behind the painting, and of course the story behind the artist who painted it, who was Leonardo da Vinci.
The Mona Lisa is widely considered to be priceless, but it’s insured for close to 1 billion US dollars. Just to give you an idea of how much it’s worth.
Here’s another question for you.. What if you’d never heard of the Mona Lisa before, nor seen the picture ever. You walked into your friends grandmothers place and the Mona Lisa was hanging slightly crooked, and covered in dust on a dull wall, surrounded by other dusty nick-nacks that your friends grandmother had been given and collected over the last 40 years..would you even look twice at the painting?
The painting is only about 30-40cm corner to corner, it’s not a big painting. It doesn’t physically stand out, so to speak.
If the Mona Lisa was positioned in this way, in your friends grandmothers dusty, old dark house would you know it to be the worth 1 Billion dollars?
Or would it be the like the chicken wings?
Without positioning, and without supporting marketing to help describe and outline why your product IS what it is, and WHY it’s worth the amount you’re charging for it, will your customers magically know and understand by default why they are getting such a good deal, or a professional service?
Just by seeing a picture of it on Facebook? Or just by getting an email about it?
If you take a look around your office, around your house or just down at the gadgets you’ve purchased, you can likely see how positioning and marketing has played a role in what YOU have purchased. Do you have the new iPhone? Or are you happy with the old one that still works fine?
What type of car do you drive? Or more importantly, what type of car do you wish you were driving?
The important question is: WHY DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT BRAND OF CAR, THE WAY THAT YOU DO? Even if it is in fact the best car of all time, how has that information and knowledge been sold or imprinted on your brain?
This is product or service positioning. The word Mercedes rests in a different part of your brain, than what Hyundai does. How did that happen?
If you’ve driven a Mercedes or rode in one, you’ve had a close encounter with their positioning. If you haven’t ridden in a Mercedes before you probably still know Mercedes is a better car than a Hyundai, so why and how is this the case?
Mercedes have positioned themselves better in the world, and for whatever reason you very likely understand and agree with this positioning.
Now let’s think about your business, or the business you want to start. What part of your website, your marketing or just what part of your plan helps your customers to understand that they should choose your product or service over someone else’s?
Of course YOU know why they should. Because you understand the years of experience and knowledge that went into creating it. Just like my business partner understands what it took to prepare, marinate and cook them chicken wings. He’s also had some trial and error along the way, some batches of wings that didn’t turn out like he wanted. So when he barbecues a perfect batch, he completely understands why they are so good compared to something you might buy frozen from the grocery store.
However, to 98 out of 100 people, they are probably just chicken wings.
If you’re aiming to charge High prices and enjoy high profit margins, you’ll simply require the right positioning, and a good product too of course.
There are several things that come into positioning. Surely too much for 1 episode of 1 podcast. But here are some strategies to consider:
- The name of your product: Calling something “Bobs Cheap Lawn Mowing Service”, really does say something about the service. Bob might mow your lawn, but the name tells you that he probably isn’t going to spend an extra 10 minutes to pull out some weeds that have started to grow in your lawn.
And he also might not do a perfect job with cleaning up the clippings after he is done. And that’s fine, you never expected it anyway. If Bob cornered you for 15 minutes after mowing your lawn and gave you 101 helpful tips on caring for your lawn you’d probably call him “too intense” and not hire him again.
However, if you’d hired “Bobs Premium Lawns”.. You’d probably fell short changed if he mowed the lawn and quickly packed up and left, without giving you some extra tips and after care instructions.
That’s the naming of your product or business and how it can position you.
Another example will is..
- The Packaging: If you buy a book with a soft, thin cardboard cover, that puts the book in a certain category. But if you buy the same book with a Hard Cover… that book is now 1 notch up on your most prized books list. All because of the packaging of the book, and of course the difference that you paid for it. Even though that price difference didn’t equal the printers cost in printing a soft cover vs a hard over.
- Your Target Market. Think about it, if a product is sold in Target with a $20 price tag, it’s worth $20. If the same product WAS NOT sold in Target, but you saw it in a high end retailer for $90… it’s NOW a better product that’s worth $90, right?
If your product or service is only shown and offered to a target market with a high net worth, just by choosing who you sell to can determine your positioning of the product, and the price you can charge for the product.
And like I just hinted at before, the price tag. You will be very surprised how just increasing your price can give you NO REDUCTION IN SALES, and increased revenue.
And the final item I’ll discuss here for the positioning of your product is:
- How well you can Describe the Benefits of your product or service. What is the most important thing it can do for the person who’ll buy it. And the most important is in their eyes, not your eyes. How close to the bullseye can you get for your customers? How close can you get to that problem they talk about when they say “oh, I’d pay anything for THAT to go away!”
These are the basics of positioning your product, but do you know what’s funny? 90% of your competitors won’t go through this list and figure out even a little way in which they can implement one.
With a simple package design change, that’ll change the packaging from something that looks like it was bought from the $2 shop, to something that looks like you’d see on the shelf in a nice hotel. If you’re going to send something to the printer, why not send a graphic that better positions your product?
So I encourage you to go over these 4 points again and write them down and then figure out a way you can try something or 2 things, for each of these points.
This is the kind of stuff that I go over with clients of mine, along with other things of course.
If you think that you could get more out of working closely with me and other people just like you, who are going through the same process of refining and growing their business you should consider joining my private group where I spend time every day to help the members of the group with their business and marketing questions and troubles, and their Facebook Ads.
If you did miss out, feel free to email me or message me and ask what is available now to work more closely with me. Because it’s likely I’ll have something else going – because I enjoy doing and talking about this kind of stuff too much to stop!
And that’s it, another post is in the bag. I hope you got something out of it.
Goodbye for now.