I’m always harping on the need for marketers to discover their POD – Point of Difference benefit. Not for the sake of mere difference. But, a POD with distinction. Namely, the difference is relevant to their chosen target-customers and meaningful (as in degree of difference) to be of value to them. In other words, this relevant, meaningful difference needs to be of sufficient significance to drive target-customer preference for your brand versus competitors.
Monday evening, I had the privilege of serving as a guest lecturer at Dave Bryla’s (IMC Lecturer and President, Hefty Business Unit, Reynolds Consumer Products) advertising class at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. Dave taught his intelligent and highly motivated students the need to go beyond COE (Cost of Entry), and POD, to POP attributes and benefits. What is POP? Point of Preference!
In a separate conversation, I told Dave that I find the notion of POP compelling as it makes clear to all that the POD must not just be “different” but “relevant and meaningful” to target-customers. He told me that Point of Preference was a term he learned from a former boss, who had been my boss at Coca-Cola USA, Sergio Zyman. How cool!
POP applies to choosing what target-customer needs to satisfy. There are those COE needs that are already being fulfilled by category competitors. Then there are those POD needs that we might fulfill. However, beyond that are POP needs that we can satisfy that will stimulate the target-customer behavior changes we need to generate incremental sales. Keep in mind, target-customer needs and benefits are two sides of the same coin. A POP benefit must fulfill a POP need.
So, when you think you have POD attributes, needs or benefits, identify which are POP to make your marketing matter more. Remember, too, to check with target-customers that it is genuinely Point of Preference.