You dive off your jet ski at 60 miles an hour, barrel rolling as you hit the trigger on your watch. As the micro-grappling hook zips you to the Venetian rooftops, you watch your ride collide with an enemy speedboat and explode in a cascade of flames, adrenaline, and justice.
You are Agent 007, and you just conquered the competition.
And then you wake up. Because unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way— you aren’t the hero conquering the market. Your goal is to make your customer that hero.
Don’t worry; we’re not going to tell you to be a villain. But you will have to lose the hero complex—or at least share it—if you hope to market your business effectively.
Shift Your Marketing Thinking
We’ve all had the fantasies, probably during high school math class. We wish we were James Bond or some similarly amazing action hero.
Those fantasies don’t disappear when we enter the business world; they morph. What we once imagined for ourselves, we now transpose to our product and brand.
We want our company to be the hero, and so we make it clear in our messaging that our SaaS will solve the world’s problems, overthrow Vladimir Putin, and usher in a utopian era.
The problem with this thinking is that your potential customers have those same aspirations, too. They don’t want to see your brand save the world, because they want to do it themselves.
Your job is to give them the tools and the plan to become the hero they’ve been dreaming about since honors geometry.
If you want to have a profitable brand, you’re going to have to let your customers be James Bond.
Which isn’t a bad deal, since your company gets to be Q.
How to Turn Your Client’s Heroic Aspirations into Purchasing Power
Step 1: Appeal to their Ego
If it’s not clear already, you should look to appeal to your client’s view of themselves as a hero. As you know, in the B2B space, many of your clients—and probably some of your vendors—expect to set the world on fire.
Many of them have dream being the next unicorn, with the genuine belief that their new innovation will start a revolution.
This ego is your target. Let them believe in their aspirations—they really could turn out to be true. But make sure they also know that your service or product is the path to get there.
Your offer will help them implement their solutions more effectively than they’ve been able to attain.
Your guidance is the key to making your customer a hero.
Step 2: Define the Problem in Terms That Resonate
There is more than one way to view a problem. If you understand your clients as the central character in their own stories, you’ll need to define their problems in terms that bring out their heroic bent.
And you’ll have to show them that the main obstacle to completing the quest is the one your product or service can solve.
Top marketers recommend defining a problem on multiple levels. There’s always an external problem that your product solves, but you’ll need to translate it into terms that resonate internally for your prospect.
So, if you sell a SaaS that pinpoints network security threats, it’s natural to make your company the savior of a troubled network. But instead, you need to show your potential users that by securing their network, they are becoming protectors of their own customers’ data, nay privacy, nay their very independence and humanity! If only the heroic protectors that they are had the right tools, they could do for their customers what no vendor has ever done for their customers in the history of the trade.
See what you just did? You started by appealing to the ego of your customer, but you did so around the problem which you can solve, and you made the problem an internal one instead of an external one.
The problem is no longer about network security; it’s about privacy and independence. And especially if your clients are American, you’re appealing on a philosophical level to their love of liberty. This is powerful messaging that latches onto your clients’ hearts and doesn’t let go.
Step 3: Position Your Company as the Guide
Because you can’t be the hero, you won’t have the most exciting scene in the action movie. Neither will you get the attention-grabbing opening salvo.
But the third most enjoyable scene in most action movies—you get to be the central character of that scene.
When Q introduces Bond’s latest arsenal of deceptive spy toys, or when Alfred shows Batman the newest tool for his utility belt, every viewer in the movie theater is engaged.
We laugh as the gadget is misused in the lab by the hero. We raise our eyebrows in puzzlement when a mysterious widget is proposed. And we sit up straighter when we realize there’s probably a scenario coming that will require that nuclear neutralization whoozywhatsit.
It’s not bad being the guide. You get to show your fledgling hero how to use the tools that will thwart the terrorist at the end of the movie.
So, stop trying to usurp your customer’s heroism, and embrace this new role. You’ll need two things:
- A terrific product or service. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got that already.
- An actionable plan that your prospects can implement. This is what will drive them to make a purchase.
Since you’ve already made peace with being Q instead of 007, and since your spy gadgets are already top-notch, let’s home in on the plan.
Step 4: Give Them a Plan So Easy, Even Money Penny Can Follow It
At this point, you’ve got your prospect’s attention. They’re eager to make their company the hero they’ve always known it can be. Now you need to give them a plan to follow.
Make sure it’s easy enough to implement that you don’t scare your prospect off, but difficult enough that they feel they’re accomplishing the heroic deeds themselves.
There’s an interesting marketing story from the early days of Betty Crocker that illustrates this point well:
When the baking conglomerate first debuted its boxed cooking mixes, the marketing team was called in to help figure out why the delicious desserts wouldn’t sell. The instructions were so easy, they should have been flying off the shelves.
The problem was, they were too easy. Industrious homemakers eager to please their families looked at the mixes and felt that, delicious as the cakes and brownies were, they were so easy they’d be cheating if they were to use the mix.
So, the genius marketing department added one step to the baking instructions. They added an egg. It didn’t harm the mix, which worked just fine with only water added. Now, the homemakers felt like they were baking. They were doing the work, Betty Crocker just provided the tool.
That’s what you need to do for your customers. Give them a plan they can implement easily while feeling powerful. Just make sure it involves a purchase.
So, for our network security software, the plan will look something like this:
- Schedule a consultation. Our network analysts will pinpoint your security threats.
- Get an actionable plan. We’ll give you the tools to strengthen your network and repel would-be invaders.
- Deliver a full privacy assurance notification to your customers to show them how you’re looking out for their data security.
- Get back to doing what you do best.
That’s a winning plan that connects them with a salesperson (the network analyst) without ever saying “sale,” “buy,” or “purchase.”
(If you want another example, New North has a similarly simple plan.)
The Guide is Just as Successful as the Hero
So there you have it: the hero-centric way to frame your product or service around all the do-gooders you hope to serve.
If you can learn to be comfortable being the guy in the lab making gadgets for the hero, or the retired veteran spy mentoring the young, green field agents, your company can see a great increase in sales.
If you need help framing your messaging or seeing how your company can best position themselves as Q to Bond, let’s talk. At New North, our messaging experts will come alongside you and help you package your offering in the most effective and honest way that will get you more leads.