Got A New Measuring Stick?

For a twelve-hour flight I stocked up on reading matter and quickly found a terrific article in management consultant Booz’s in-house rag.  The starting point was with the marketing wheeze that was “horsepower”.

Industrial revolutionaries Matthew Boulton and James Watt enjoyed much success persuading mine owners to buy their new steam engines for a third of the savings over the elder alternative.

But faced with a new market, breweries, they realised that their competition was older technology in horses.  So they worked out what a horse could pull, and used this as their yardstick for when talking about what their machine could do.  Horsepower was born, and:

“[the] comparison of steam engine output to a team of horses working together proved to be a remarkably persuasive marketing metric for pro­spective purchasers”

There are a few other examples in the article, but this one’s the killer.  In these days when salespeople often have to be their own marketing department, it strikes me that this technique is especially applicable to new products in the B2B environment.

By definition, it is highly likely that your new item must make or save people money, so calibrating this against a measure that you can both easily calculate and also know that when prospects start talking in your terms your competition will flounder is an absolute winner.

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