Don’t sell the steak (or sausage), sell the sizzle

If you work in marketing, you may have heard the saying: don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle (though some people, especially in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, say sausage instead of steak. As a BBQ obsessive who loves both steak and sausage, I’m perpetually torn between these two variants).

So what does this saying mean?

The idea behind selling the sizzle is you need to focus on the bigger picture. For example, when people buy a vacuum cleaner, they’re not buying it because they want the machinery – such as the hose and motor. Instead, they want a cleaner, healthier home for their family. The machinery is just a means to an end.

However, sometimes people misinterpret this by only focusing on the benefits rather than the features – and so they’ll simply market the vacuum by saying it’ll lead to a cleaner home. The problem is that every vacuum cleaner can promise that.

Instead, you need to show people the benefits of your particular vacuum by providing unique details – such as by saying your vacuum can help make a home healthier because it offers more suction than its competitors due to its unique 22 air watts motor, or that it’s ideal for allergy sufferers due to its twin HEPA air filters, or … well, you get the gist.

In other words, sell the sizzle AND the steak – especially if you’re selling aged Wagyu beef. Or a high-quality pork sausage stuffed with truffle and jalapeno peppers. Or … ok, I’ll stop now.


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