When was the last time you tasted $90 pound cake?
When I googled for “recipe for pound cake” I came up with over 2 million hits. There’s a lot of people making pound cake out there- and you could probably whip one yourself- the ingredient list isn’t exactly exotic- some eggs, flour, sugar, butter etc… nothing you can’t get together for under $10 and make more than one.
So- it just so happens that someone gave me one. Now, I don’t know what I did to deserve a $90 pound cake- so I thought I’d take it to a party to share.
And without telling anyone it was a $90 pound cake- it just sat there. I even took a slice out of it and told a few people-, which encouraged some sampling-, but when I left the party- it was still there- with only a quarter gone.
Now- I admit, when you get the $90 version normally- it’s packed in a beautiful hat box, with fresh flowers, a nice card and, most importantly the endorsement of one very big TV star who shall remain nameless. I took mine naked- minus the trappings of the packaging and the marketing hoo-haw- and hence, it was just another pound cake.
The same goes for soap. I can buy a dozen bars of that famous soap that floats for $7 at Sam’s- or I can walk into Bath & Body and pay that much for one bar. Both get me clean- just one cleans my wallet out a lot quicker. But, my friend, $7 is not yet enough for the super duper soap. Not satisfied with making a $7 bar, there are even more expensive soap places that charge more. How much more you ask? Well if the store is named after some turn of the century apothecary (a old fangled name for a pharmacy- now commonly known as a drug store) it’s $35 for that sliver of soap.
Now, not all pound cakes or soaps are equal, but there is an x-factor at work that lets someone sell something for 10x or more what a similar product goes for- and that’s called marketing, and more precisely branding.
In the days of global markets- with the ability to buy anything, anytime and compare prices- the way you differentiate your product or service has become at least 10x more important than it used to be. Building your brand, your reputation, your voice and your level of quality has to be foremost on your list.
People will buy from people they trust, who deliver products that they love (or are made to believe they love). I don’t recommend running out and buying a $90 pound cake or a $35 bar of soap, but, think about what you buy and why- and then start thinking about how your customers feel about your product and service – have you built the right persona around your business? If not, it’s time to start.