Try This: Don’t Sell Health Benefits

This Honda ad eloquently illustrates the REAL reason people buy cars. So they can do stuff that matters, and reflect on it later. (And I’ve got a bonus tip at the end.)

Car Ad - Market Wellness Benefits

Click for larger image

Like the time we were late and you said “just change on the way”. I’ll never forget the look on that trucker’s face.

Or the time we drove over Independence Pass. Remember that incredible sunset?

Or that time we drove straight back from Florida, all 18 hours. Never again. EVER.

Or all the fun times at the dog park when Sparky was still with us. He really was part of the family, you know?

Notice what’s not in this ad.

Not a single word about the i-VTEC engine with 250-hp and 253 lb-ft of torque

Nothing about variable cylinder management
And nothing about the MacPherson front strut/multi-link rear design

Now, they do mention mileage, and plenty of passenger room, and a power liftgate – because people do care about that stuff. But notice that it’s in much smaller print.

The core principle

Instead of touting your thirty group fitness classes…or your eight-week weight loss program…or your Cybex multi-stations with adjustable hi/lo cables and your plyo boxes…or your raw food and vegan nutrition coaching:

Connect what you do to the experiences that really matter to your clients, customers and members.

Shocking, but true:

Health, fitness, nutrition and wellness are just enablers.
They’re a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

The usual benefits that health and wellness professionals emphasize – more energy, strong bones and muscles, better sleep, etc. – are actually secondary to most of your potential clients.

Time to practice

Translate health benefits into “life benefits” – the payoff for your customers – the experience that they actually care about.

Here’s an example:
“More energy”…to do what?

  • Play with your kids
  • Take care of your mom, and your mother-in-law, and your sick sister
  • Go bowling every Wednesday
  • Fill your days with fun instead of collapsing from exhaustion right after supper
  • Accept an international promotion with total confidence that you can keep up
  • Work on your novel
  • Paint your bathroom
  • Complete your first duathlon
  • Handle a stressful situation with your teen without losing it

Here’s a fantastic example from Doron Straus, Director, Fitness and Healthy Lifestyles at Rediscovery Fitness. He translates the benefits of “strong bones and muscles” into the payoffs that really matter to his target market, which includes mature adults and seniors:

“Seniors want to garden, pick up their grandkids, take a stroll without pooping out after 5 minutes, be secure when getting into and out of a car, a bathtub.”

Now you try

  • What are the top 3 – 5 health and wellness benefits you normally emphasize in your marketing?
  • What’s the actual payoff of those benefits for your typical clients?

Post your “translations” in the Comments and I’ll offer additional pointers and feedback.

BONUS TIP: In the ad, notice how fading the list at the top actually makes you look at the ad content even more closely. THIS is why graphic design is about more than pretty pictures.

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Leslie Nolen, Radial's president, is the nationally-known expert on the art and science of selling health and wellness.

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