Know what you’re selling

It was Friday night and I was having a drinks with colleagues who were discussing the relative taste profiles of various beers. I went on challenge the crowd that they wouldn’t know which beers was which in a blind taste test. None of them believed me.

Turns out it’s true. I once worked in a marketing role at Fosters, and 90% of beer drinkers cannot pick any brand within the same type (eg lager, pillsner, bitter ale). Beer is not bought on taste, it’s bought by brand. Sure, there are other factors which come into the decision like availability and price. But both trail and subsequent loyalty is never about taste.

So we have to know what we are selling. Not in the primary sense (the physical product) but in the secondary sense, the real motivation which makes us choose brand A over brand B. And in most categories it’s not what it seems

Beer = fashion

Electricity = company interactions

Coffee = socialisation

Cameras = memory library

For entrepreneurs the message is simple, we must know what we are selling. It’s most often how we market the secondary benefit which will drive our brand over the competitor.


3 Comments Know what you’re selling

  1. Brett Duncan

    Beer is such a good example of what’s really going on with marketing. I think it’s only trumped by wine, where price and story start to play an even bigger role. People migrate toward certain beers because of the identity they’re trying to stay true to. “Would a person like me want a beer like this?” And whether you’re actually that person or not, it doesn’t matter. You base your identity on what you aspire to be, not what you necessarily are now.


  2. Mark Bernberg

    Great post Steve.

    “Perception is reality” and by effect people’s perception of a brand dictates their reality of it, and in turn their decisions are governed by their realities.

    Thus I would completely agree with your ending…sell the perception, and not the product!

    Great Blog Steve – I follow with interest


  3. Danny B

    Just spent last 40mins reading through your blog and have to say its the best I have read on business for ages….really to the point and thought provoking. awesome job man I will be forwarding on the link!

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