I stumbled across a story on NPR’s The Salt about the frozen food industry’s upcoming marketing campaign, which is designed to convince people that frozen food, especially frozen vegetables, are just as healthy as fresh foods. Or close to it.
Longevity and convenience are no longer strong enough selling points, so the industry is trying to change the way people think and feel about frozen food.
One industry representative points out that what we call “fresh” should be more accurately referred to as “raw” when you consider the amount of time that often passes from when the food is picked to when the food is actually eaten.
I won’t debate fresh foods vs. frozen foods, and I have no idea how the campaign will be executed. But based on that statement alone, the frozen foods people are off to one heck of a start with their messaging.
I’m sure they’ll be armed with research about nutritional value, preparation techniques and other information. I also like how they took a word with a very positive connotation (fresh) and attempted to replace it with a word that has a more negative connotation (raw) in this context.
But their basic argument is pretty simple: “Fresh” isn’t always as fresh as it’s cracked up to be.
After all, it’s not like food appears on the shelf right after it’s pulled off a tree or out of the ground, right?
The fresh foods people didn’t go searching outside the box to find something nobody has ever heard before. They found their message inside the box, firmly rooted in common sense.
And it’s pretty tough to argue against common sense.
Being outside the box sounds great in a sales presentation or board meeting with words like “leverage” and “synergy” (eye roll), but real life isn’t a sales presentation or board meeting. Lots of statistics and new information can be confusing.
People want solutions that make sense, feel right, and are easy to understand. These solutions are very often found inside the box.
A lot of business owners and marketers struggle to come up with a unique selling proposition, or USP. They think they need to be doing something that none of their competitors are doing. That would be the ideal scenario, but it’s rarely a realistic scenario.
This obviously doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be different, inventive or original. You just don’t always have to be. Not everyone can create a life-changing gadget or the next hot social media platform, and there’s no shame in that.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel – or trying to invent a new wheel – look inside the box for the things that matter most to your clients.
Think about what your business does really well. Even better, ask your clients what they think you do really well, why they do business with you, and what influences their decision-making process.
Ask enough of your clients and you’re bound to notice a common theme, even if it’s not what you expected. Maybe you’re doing a lot of the same things as your competition, but there’s one thing you do better.
Do you really think your clients care if you think outside the box? Of course not. They want you to solve a real problem, fill a real need, or make their lives better.
When you develop your marketing message or try to differentiate your business from your competition, start by digging inside the box. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you uncover.