Catalog and Direct Selling: Punch Up Your Product’s Resume
Ace the Interview
Once your product is in the door with an appropriate resume, acing the interview is the key to closing the deal. In product interviews, first impressions count. A purchase decision often is made within seconds of introduction. To maximize this narrow window of opportunity, a product must present its primary benefits at a glance. It must show, not tell, why customers should hire it.
Photography. Photography is the products’ interview suit: If it doesn’t speak well of the applicant, the best resume in the world will make little difference.
• Primary benefits should be obvious at a glance.
• In-use insets with captions to help illustrate benefits not readily apparent from the product’s appearance.
• Props must be minimal to keep from upstaging the product itself. For example, if a cookie sheet features elaborately decorated cookies, the cookies become the focus of the photograph.
• Props and environment should be product, brand and target relevant. Communicate the size of a small mixing bowl, for example, by cracking an egg into it.
Attention Getters. Icons and copy violators are effective at-a-glance communicators. A “customer favorite” icon helps the product show its benefits, rather than relying on copy that may or may not be read. A highly technical product can sell difficult-to-illustrate benefits at a glance by using callouts with corresponding pointers identifying attributes of technical interest.
References. Customer testimonials, “customer favorite” icons, “best seller” icons and editorial copy are effective strategies to help a product demonstrate past accomplishments.
Accept the Offer
Selling a product to a customer is not so unlike selling yourself to a prospective employer. Using proven marketing techniques, relevant creative presentation and the basic rules of cataloging, any good idea can close the deal and become a best seller.
Gina Valentino is vice president and general manager of J.Schmid & Assoc. She can be reached at (913) 236-8988, or email@example.com. Beki Weight is senior creative strategist of J.Schmid & Assoc. She can be reached at (913) 236-8988.