Marketing is about telling stories, engaging people with them, which builds awareness, affinity, preference, and with luck, persistence, and good management, can lead to a transaction, or two.
Metaphors, when well used can make a complicated point in a memorable and understandable way.
Couple of weeks ago in a talk to a small group of SME owners about the rugged terrain of modern marketing, I used an old metaphor, a throwaway, in the midst of the conversation. I was surprised firstly that nobody had heard it before, and secondly at the sudden clarity it delivered to a complex message.
“When you go to the hardware to buy a 10mm drill” I said, “you do not really want a 10mm drill, what you want is a 10mm hole”.
An oldie but a goodie.
This morning on the copyblogger site I saw another one I really like. It goes something like: “To make a restaurant successful, you don’t really need the best location, best service, lowest prices, fascinating menus, and all the rest, you just need a starving crowd”.
Obviously, all the good features you will see touted around as people flog bum-spots in restaurants in a crowded market all helps. They are part of the means to the end, the way you deliver the service, but to be outrageously successful, what you really need is a starving crowd.
A good metaphor, like a good picture, clarifies, simplifies, amplifies, and makes memorable, the outcome of a complex conversation.