October 9, 2019

Same pills, different label

Sent by Jonathan Stark on October 10th, 2019

Alice has a pounding headache. She enters a drugstore. She sees two bottles of pills from the brand she trusts. Both bottles are the same price.

One bottle says in big print on the front:

“Fast Headache Relief”

And the other bottle says:

“For Nagging Back Pain”

Which one do you think she’s going to buy?

I dunno about you, but I’d bet on the first bottle :-)

But dig this…

Let’s say both bottles contained the exact same pills. If Alice read the back, she’d see that both contained identical ingredients.

Is the manufacturer doing something unethical? Are they tricking Alice? Why would they go to the trouble of packaging the exact same pills in two different bottles?

Here’s why…

Because they know that Alice wants to find something that addresses her exact pain and if she doesn’t find it, it’s going to delay the sale and (not incidentally) prolong Alice’s suffering.

If the label just said something vague but technically correct like “Pain Relief” or “For Pain, Fever, and Inflammation” or “Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory” Alice would be left wondering, “But… will this work for my headache?! ”

Here’s the thing…

Unclear, abstract, or generic marketing forces the buyer to attempt to connect the dots between the seller’s solution and the buyer’s problem. This is harmful to everyone involved because it delays both the sale and the relief.

Do what you can to connect the dots for your buyers in your marketing, even if that means using different “labels” for what you consider to be the same “ingredients”.