Marcom professionals, especially when under the influence of their Product Management and Sales buddies, can succumb to the pressure of trying to promote products as being all things to all people. We've all read literature created under this pressure. Products are touted as being new AND improved. And, in the case of Saturday Night Live's VEGOMATIC, it slices, it dices, it even cuts your President. This is often the perfectly wrong move since most consumers are wary of products touted as being "all that".
Here is a great example of how running with ONE STRENGTH can lead to success. Meet Elwood. When he was born, Elwood's breeder is reported to have considered having him euthanized. Why? Because he was obviously never going to be the perfect package: cute, cuddly, and all things that people want in a dog. Luckily, someone saw the one predominant feature that just might make Elwood meaningful to a specific target audience: his abject ugliness.
Kudos to Karen Quigley, Elwood's owner, for zeroing in on the one thing that would be appealing to an important group of individuals. Karen fell in love with Elwood's ugliness, and, ultimately, presented him as a candidate in The World's Ugliest Dog competition. Guess what? He won!
Now, instead of being a failure at being all thngs to all people (and worse), he is a revered superstar (albeit in his category). But isn't that EXACTLY what we are all about in B2B Marcom? Aren't we charged with portraying our goods/services (ethically) in a very favorable light? Typically this can't be done when we aim at being known for beingAWESOME in all categories.
Now, I am not saying that products should be designed to be good at only one thing. I am all about KILLER products that blow away the competition on many fronts. In the case where a product/service DOES have multiple strengths, consider promoting each separately (targeting). And, frequently, customers are looking for a solution to ONEnagging issue. Use the other strengths to seal the deal, but use the ONE point to garner attention and interest.
Take a lesson from Elwood. Be known for one thing. That's the way to get noticed – and the way to win.