Seven minute abs

Do you remember that scene in There’s Something About Mary where Ben Stiller’s character picks up a hitchhiker who starts talking to him about his great idea to start a business where he sells a workout video called “Seven minute abs”? Well, if you need a refresher check it out here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. It seems silly to think that a workout video’s only selling point would be that it is one minute shorter than the competition’s workout video. After all, is being just 60 seconds shorter really all that different? No, no its not, but people and businesses do it all the time. In some cases they don’t even differentiate themselves by as much as a single minute.

When a business’s marketing message is that they are just one degree different than their competition, they often find they can only compete on one thing: price. That’s not a spot you want to be in.

So, how can you prevent selling your version of Seven minute abs?

Get clear on what differentiates you or your product, and make sure you communicate it in such a way that your audience will hear and understand. I will concede that this is easier said than done, but if you don’t take the time to market your business properly, you’ll constantly be battling the other ‘Seven minute ab’ videos in your industry.

Don’t think there are a lot of ‘Seven minute ab’ videos in your industry? Think again. For example check out how many ab videos are out there. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

1 minute abs 2 minute abs 3 minute abs 4 minute abs 5 minute abs

6 minute abs 7 minute abs 8 minute abs 9 minute abs 10 minute abs

11 minute abs 12 minute abs 13 minute abs 14 minute abs 15 minute abs

I work with a client that does a great job of this. The President was recently telling me that on a per unit basis he was selling his product for a 12% premium over the industry. “Why?” I asked him. “Why would someone pay you 12% more for the exact same thing from some guy down the road?” He replied “See, that’s the thing Geoff, it’s not the same thing. Our product has a higher quality, we serve the customer and take care of them from beginning to end of the deal, and we have the volume to fill the larger orders.”

Perfect. He knows, understands and communicates his company’s value proposition to the market.

Do you know your business’s value proposition? Do you know what makes you different than the ‘other guys’? Take some time and consider how your marketing message makes you stand apart (or not) from others in your industry.

About the Author

+Geoff Chinnock is a principal with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services,recruitment, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Geoff directly at gchinnock@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 204.

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