Call Email

Does your marketing strategy fail the ‘So What’ test?

What does your marketing strategy say about you? Probably it tells your prospective customers everything about you. Congratulations, you just failed the ‘So What’ test.

marketing strategy so what business man

What is the ‘So What’ test?

I was introduced to the ‘So What’ test a number of years ago when I was a field sales rep for a local newspaper. All new recruits went on a sales training course at head office, and it was great for 2 reasons – 1. the buffet lunches were fantastic, and 2. we learned all about benefits, in the ‘So what’ test.

The exercise went like this: we all were given an everyday object and we had to tell the rest of the group all the benefits of that object. If anything we said wasn’t a benefit the course leader took great delight in saying “So What!”. We loved it and we all couldn’t wait to join in!

I was given a standard issue Bic Biro. It went something like this….

“This is a Bic Biro…”


“Oh, well, erm you can use this to write with you see…”


“I mean that you might have something important to remember so you can record it on paper with this and….”


“OK, OK, with this tool you can achieve anything. You can write a book that will change the world, you can write an avert that will make you a million pounds, you could make someone laugh or cry with a letter, in this humble pen your destiny is waiting to unfold. With this pen you have the power to achieve greatness, to touch people, to change lives when you write. And what’s more, this pen will help you not forget your shopping.”

“Yeah, it’s a start Jeff…”

Did you get the point of the game? It’s not what the object is, it’s what it can do. So now apply that to your business. In fact, I’ll apply it to my business, so you can all have a good laugh. Imagine we’re in a lift (elevator, for any American readers) and I try and pitch you my services.

The soul destroying business marketing strategy ‘so what’ test

“Hi I’m Jeff Guest and I’m a web designer”


“No, you don’t understand, I’m a really good web designer”


“…and I’ve done loads of work for people like you and they really liked it”


“erm, I’m really cheap. I mean affordable. Like, good ROI and all that.”


“No, but I make SEO and conversion optimised websites”


“And they are mobile responsive, and they load really fast”



So what should I have said?

Well, lets assume that I already know a bit about you, your business and what I can do for you, a bit like how you know your customers. I could have got some understanding of your needs, your problems, your pain points and told you that I understood them, that I’ve come across these things countless times, and that I know that these things make your life harder. But hey, I can make all your [insert problem here] go away, by helping you with [insert solution]. Do you see?

So my pitch could have gone more like this:

“Hi I’m Jeff Guest, I bet your business would run a lot smoother if you have more leads and customers wouldn’t it? I mean, I know you are a successful business and all that, but the competition is always snapping at your heels and you’ve got enough on running your business without the headache of becoming a marketing expert at the same time, right? What if I could help you develop a sales funnel that fed you a constant supply of good quality customers, you know, like the one’s you have right now that you absolutely love to deal with, who get what you do and love you for it and never hesitate to pay a bill? Wouldn’t that make your business so much easier, fun and profitable? Would you like to grab a coffee to talk about it?”

Hopefully, no one got a chance to ‘so what’ me. And you might even be interested in my solution to the problem. I saw things from your point of view, I walked in your shoes and outlined your problem. And I offered a solution. I didn’t say what I was going to do, I just said that together, we can fix this and make life better for you.

So What your own marketing strategy

Now, go on to your own website (you haven’t got one, hey I’m Jeff Guest and I’m a Web Designer*) and ‘So What’ everything on there. Then, after a drink of hot chocolate to make you feel a bit better, write everything you do as a benefit for your customer. Show you understand their problems and how you solve them. You may be faced with re-writing your entire web text and marketing material… but hey, what price success?

Buy infusing your business with the understanding of your clients and how you fit into their lives, and speaking to them in their language in their arena, you are taking the first steps towards building a relationship. Show your empathy to your clients’ problems before you start the chest beating about how great you are, or even better leave the posturing out all together and show the solutions and benefits that working with you brings. If your clients make decisions based purely on price, then that if the solution you present. Start with the end in mind – how do people feel after you have solved their pain and work back from there.

Nigel Botterill is the master at this, find out why here.
*”Yeah, yeah, yeah, SO WHAT!”