The Sherlock Holmes Secret To Unraveling This Marketing Mystery

by Adam Kreitman

Gotta say I was skeptical at first…but after 4 months, I’m really lovin’ my Kindle.

My new favorite hobby is taking a break from business books, downloading some of the Classics (that are available for free! ) and enjoying some quiet leisure reading time.

The latest Classic I’m reading is The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

And as is my blessing/curse from being so immersed in marketing, I can’t help but find marketing lessons even while reading the Classics.

Here’s one I found that was triggered by this quote from Dr. Watson describing Holmes’ case cracking skills…

“For in those cases in which Holmes has performed some tour de force of analytical reasoning, and has demonstrated the value of his peculiar methods of investigation, the facts themselves have often been so slight or so commonplace that I could not feel justified in laying them before the public.”

A big part of marketing is positioning your business uniquely in your market. Yet business owners struggle with that and, as a result, most marketing is “Me-too” marketing.

In “Me-too” marketing, your ads and messaging sound just like your competitors and, if you remove the logos and company names, you’d probably be unable to pick your ads out of a lineup.

So how do you stand out?

Well, I go back to Dr. Watson’s quote.

Often the facts or details of what can set you apart from the competition are “so slight or so commonplace” you miss them. They’re often things you take for granted because you’re too close to your business to see them.

Schlitz Beer is a famous example of what can happen when you highlight the “commonplace” in your marketing.

Schlitz was struggling…ranking 5th in the nation in sales. To try to get a boost they brought in legendary copywriter Claude Hopkins. During a tour of the factory Hopkins was struck by all the steps in the manufacturing process that went into making sure the beer was brewed as purely as possible.

Hopkins asked the people at Schlitz about the process and they explained they were just using the exact same process all the other brewers used.

But that didn’t matter to Hopkins. He knew that while the process was commonplace, none of the other manufacturers were telling the story of this process.

So Hopkins created an ad campaign detailing the story of Schlitz’s brewing process. This campaign resulted in Schlitz going from #5 in sales to tied with Anheuser Busch for #1 in the nation…in just 6 months!

You’re probably too close to your business to put your hand on the “slight or commonplace” stories, benefits or unique selling points that hold the key to unlocking a flow of steady prospects for your business.

Often all it takes is some key questions and observations from an outsider to figure out what this things are. And helping business owners find the slight or commonplace (yet oh so powerful) keys to unlocking your marketing challenges is exactly what our marketing consulting services are for.

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