Use analogies to explain marketing offerings
(Photo by Dan Dvorscak)

If you are introducing a service or product that’s innovative, you’re likely to run into a problem. How do you describe it to someone who’s never seen your novel solution – since it doesn’t fit into their mental framework?

Use Itslikea (“it’s like a…”) to explain it simply. Hollywood movie pitches are great examples of this – a new movie is explained as a mash-up of a couple of other (known and successful) movie story lines. The trick is to make the itslikea connect to something that your audience is familiar with (it doesn’t have to be related to your market niche) and then help them to make the mental leap between that image and your innovation.

Finding great analogies isn’t something that everyone’s naturally good at, since you often need to think “horizontally” (looking at other industries) rather than “vertically” (just at your market segment). To help jump start your thinking, pick three words that describe three attributes of your revolutionary offering. For example, if you’ve created a better small car, you might describe it using: lightweight, shrunken, and eye-catching. Then, use a tool such as Google Images to get some visual ideas for what other things share these attributes. Scroll through the list to find an image that somehow relates to your offering. If you’re stuck, pick 3 other words, and repeat. Once you’ve latched onto an image, then create your analogy leapfrogging from the image (for example, “Imagine putting a small engine into a child’s plastic peddle car…”). The analogy will help to create the right mental image to quickly convey your offering.

A great analogy plants a seed into your audience’s mind. Then it’s up to you to harvest your customers.

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