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Case File 2010: Burger vs. Burger

By Jeff Scherer, Associate Partner, Callbutton LLC Unless you live in a cave you have probably been over-exposed to Burger King’s ads that actually feature McDonald's in them. Last quarter the focus was “BK’s Double Cheeseburger vs. Mac’s Double Cheeseburger.” This quarter they are running an ad that actually shows “the King” physically stealing Mac’s recipe for the Egg McMuffin. (Okay, note: Having two teenagers in our house means I have an unwarranted intimacy with these companies.) It would appear that by including Mac’s products in their ads, BK has resigned themselves to a “me-too” marketing message.

So what does this have to do with the boating industry, you may be asking?

Having spent a bit of my career in the marine OEM camps, I have learned firsthand that innovation is king (pardon the mis-reference). As a boat builder, you must have unique features on your products to separate them from the competition. No revelation there, but it is continually surprising to me how many “me-too's” you can spot when you walk the floor at a boat show or compare the myriad of e-mail marketing messages from different sources that all say the exact same thing. How many ads have you seen that say “Now is the time to buy!?” (Hopefully your business hasn’t sent those). Apparently some companies still believe that message is putting people in their showrooms.

Recent snapshot of these companies:

McDonalds business UP 11.2%

BK’s business DOWN 8.2%

Granted that burgers do not have a “pointy end” and a “noisy end,” but the point is that “me-too” marketing does not work. Hopefully your company did not spend millions of dollars, as BK did, to figure that out.

An exercise here would be to review your models and identify the me-too items and features (they all have some), as well as the unique features, and focus 100% of your presentation on the latter. Explain to the prospect why it’s important to have a lined rod storage compartment, or why you put baffles in the fuel tanks, etc, etc. He will care much more about that than what the pre-cooked weight … err sorry … than what the thickness of the combing is.

One comment

  1. Speaking of innovation: Cobalt Boats has lead the way in innovation this year by including my product ezCLEAT on their all new A series. Cobalt is planning on expanding the installation of ezCLEAT to most of their lineup next year, and continuing to offer it as a standard feature on the A25. We are looking for other market leaders to take a look at ezCLEAT, and see that retractable lines for boats of all types are here to stay.

    ezCLEAT, the fast, clean and easy way to tie-up your boat!

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