Mark Bridge writes:
Don't sell the steak – sell the sizzle! That's the mantra of many salespeople. It's all about emphasising the benefits of a product rather than its features. You don't tell people about the 13 megapixel camera when they ask about the new LG smartphone, you tell them it'll capture the first steps of their precious young nephew in pin-sharp accuracy. Or something like that.
Which is why a hand-written whiteboard in the doorway of a national mobile phone retailer stopped me in my tracks. "Dual core smartphones only £7.70pm" it said.
Who's the target customer? Certainly not someone who wants a particularly high-spec handset. The first dual-core smartphone was launched in early 2011. In fact Mobile World Congress 2011 was awash with the darned things.
A cynic might suggest the retailer is trying to blind their customers with science. 'Dual core' certainly sounds high-tech. It could as easily refer to a futuristic nuclear reactor in a James Bond film as a mobile phone. This once-unattainable technology can now be bought for just £7.70 per month. Never mind that it's already over two years old and will have celebrated its fourth birthday by the end of your 24-month contract. “If you're smart enough to know that dual-core is good but not smart enough to know that quad-core is even better, we've got a great package for you”.
Of course, it's not that simple. The new Moto X is dual-core... and that's certainly an innovative piece of kit.
Which, I think, is why the advertisement annoyed me so much. Ultimately it's meaningless. You might as well advertise "4-cylinder cars from £99 per month" or "Two dozen meat pies for £10". There are a lot more questions that customers need to ask before they'll know if they're getting a good deal. And if those customers think you're trying to mislead them by focusing on a feature that's too vague to mean anything, they won't trust you at all. Which would be a shame... because a dual-core smartphone for £7.70 per month could be a bit of a bargain.