Positioning Yourself in a Way People Can Grasp

You can only buy two things: goods (cars or computers) or services (legal and financial advice). People tend to give priority to goods and only buy services in the face of a pressing need, such as having a legal document drawn up when selling a house. When you purchase gas, for instance, do you buy mileage, or do you buy gallons?

The more you position your software in words that conjure up a physical picture in your customers' minds, the more likely they are to open their purses. Perhaps they are more accustomed to buying goods from visits to a supermarket every week while telephone and electricity bills only come in once a month. Intangibles are almost impossible to quantify and nearly impossible to describe except by simile, which buyers instinctively distrust. Because of the uncertainty, people tend to spend a lot more time justifying services because they buy them less often. So if you are developing a program to accelerate the booting up of other programs, you would probably be wiser to describe it as a "Fast key" than a "Speed starter."

When you talk about goods you conjure up a picture that's three-dimensional. When you talk about services, the impression you suggest is abstract. There's an irony here. The benefit that people buy with chocolate is taste and pleasure. Yet does Nestlé sell taste and pleasure? No: They sell it by the bar.

There's also another way to position your product to advantage. Do you remember how Arm & Hammer's baking powder suddenly reappeared as a toothpaste? The creative team represented a dull white powder that hadn't seen great days since Becky Crocker as an efficient new health product. But the public knew and trusted Armour and supported the change.

Some of the most successful and least expensive marketing comes about when a product is given a fresh marketing twist.

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