The “unwritten” rule of Benefit Driven Message is not one of the five “written” laws simply because the largest retailer in the world built that business by breaking it. That is the reason I’m calling this a “rule” rather than a “law.”
The “unwritten” rule of Benefit Driven Message: Never mention price in your BDM.
There are many reasons you shouldn’t use the word “free” or “discount” or any other price based terms in your benefits driven message. The first and possibly most important reason is that price NEVER “qualifies” as a true benefit.
If you need proof that constructing a BDM on price is a bad practice, look at the world’s largest retailer – Wal-Mart.
In 2007, Wal-Mart dropped their long standing BDM “Always Low Prices” and replaced it with “Save Money. Live Better.” Voted one of the top 100 most successful rebranding campaigns ever, the purpose of the rebranding campaign was to remove the mention of price in the Walmart slogan.
For nearly a decade before the official “rebranding,” Wal-Mart had been deliberately moving away from the practice of offering merchandise at “rock bottom prices.” If one of the most successful retail operations in the world is investing a fortune to distance itself from a BDM based on pricing – doesn’t it make sense for you to avoid mentioning price in your BDM as well?
If the best thing you can say about your product or service is the price, go back and start over.
A properly construct Benefits Driven Message avoids the subject of price because ideally, price should not enter into the equation until after the consumer has decided whether or not this product or service is something they need – or even better – something that they want.
It’s one thing to tear apart a Benefits Driven Message of an established business – it’s quite another to create on from scratch.
A close relative to price is using the term “free” in your BDM. In case you haven’t heard, the internet has officially RUINED the word “free.”
Once upon a time, free was a good thing. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of ill-informed amateur marketer types have poisoned the once clear sparkling water of the “free” well.
Using that word in a subject line of an email will get your email shunned and sent directly to the spam box. Using that word in a BDM will also ruin your credibility and appeal.
The company CreditKarma.com has created several campaigns that take powerful jabs at their competitor, FreeCreditScore.com because their service is not free despite their name.
Most offers for “free” products on the internet fall into one of two categories:
1. The product or service is worthless.
2. The cost is hidden.
Of course, the most obvious “hidden” fees are the ones FreeCreditScore employs. However, the depth and breadth of the “hidden cost” factor behind many “free” products and services provided via the internet is now becoming apparent. For example, Facebook was once everyone’s favorite site because it was free. However, an insidious side of Facebook is emerging as consumers discover that there is indeed a cost to using the service, the loss of privacy and the opening up of personal data for mining by business and government agencies.
Even if your product or service is truly free, that word still has no place in your Benefits Driven Message.
Free is not a benefit. Benefits have value.
How do we describe messages with no value that are delivered free of charge? When the messages arrive in your physical mailbox, we call it JUNK mail. When the messages arrive in your inbox, we call it SPAM.
If the best thing you can say about your product or service is the fact that it is free, go back and start over.