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The Danger Of Mystery Marketing
Blog / For Sales Pros / Nov 8, 2018 / Posted by Robert Jolles / 2137 

The Danger Of Mystery Marketing


There’s nothing like sitting down and having a sip of your favorite beer. With the popularity and a huge number of IPA’s out there now, it’s harder and harder to order the specific beer you might prefer. That could be good for some, but I’ll show you how dangerous following a marketing model like that could be to your business when you read…Rob Jolles IPA

I went to dinner with my wife recently, and I felt like having a nice, cold beer. When our waitress came to the table, I asked if they had one of my favorite beers; a Sam Adams. I happen to really like the taste of that particular beer. Turns out the restaurant didn’t serve Sam Adams. I went down the list of beers that I know and like, and it turned out that they didn’t serve any of them.

What they did serve was a variety of IPA beers. For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, IPA stands for “India Pale Ale.” It is defined as “a hoppy style of beer within the pale ale category.” Some popular local Maryland IPA’s are known for their rather colorful names, such as Flying Dog Dead Rise, Stillwater Classique, Union Craft Duckpin, Jailbreak Big Punisher, and many more. Seems like a new IPA beer with a funny IPA beer name is born every five minutes. I’m quite sure some of these beers might even be tasty, but how would you actually know?

I suppose you could ask the waitress, as I did, but it’s almost impossible to get an answer that provides any help whatsoever. When I did ask, I got the following response: “Oh, it’s hoppy, with a nice barley taste, and a touch of fruitiness.”

Well, that certainly explains it. I tried pushing a little harder, by calmly telling the waitress that I had no idea what a “hoppy” and “nice barley” beer would taste like. I asked her if she could compare the taste to any beer I might actually know. When I got a shrug of the shoulders and a vacant stare from my waitress, I knew what I had been suspecting: she had no idea what the beer tasted like.

I think they would have been better off calling this product what it truly is: A mystery beer… and therein lies the problem. I know I’m going to step on some toes of true beer drinking aficionados, but I believe the IPA Emperor has no clothes. It’s time to speak up. Disagree? Well, imagine for a moment, if we marketed and sold other products this way:IPA Rob Jolles

  • Imagine if we ordered our meals this way. “Just bring me a box of food with a unique, funny name that means nothing to me and surprise me.”
  • Imagine if we purchased books this way. “Forget the authors I typically like, or the genre of books I tend to enjoy. Just bring me something with a blank cover, and charge me for it. I’m sure I’ll like it.”
  • Imagine if we tried to sell ourselves this way. “I’m quite sure I can help your company. I’m talented in my own unique, mysterious way. Trust me.”

I’m not against taking risks or trying new things now and then, but there’s a bigger message here. Successful companies do not make a mystery out of what they are selling. Successful companies are often extremely forthright in letting us know what problem they are addressing. We need to be cautious – very cautious – that we never market anything the way an IPA beer is currently being marketed… unless your goal is to brand your product as a mystery item. If that is your goal, drop me a line and tell me how that’s working for you.

About Author

A sought-after speaker and best-selling author, Rob Jolles teaches, entertains, and inspires audiences worldwide. Rob draws on more than thirty years of experience and his keynotes and workshops are in global demand, including companies in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Far East.

Author's Publications on Amazon

Persuade, Don't Push! Surely you know plenty of people who need to make a change, but despite your most well-intentioned efforts, they resist because people fundamentally fear change. As a salesman, father, friend, and consultant, Rob Jolles knows this scenario all too well. Drawing on…
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How to Run Seminars and Workshops is the classic guide for trainers and presenters in any industry. Packed with clear advice and real-world practicality, this book covers all aspects including planning, setup, delivery, coaching, and more—including valuable guidance on selling your services. This new Fourth…
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The Way of the Road Warrior offers weary business travelers inspiration, advice, and practical skills for conquering the competition while conducting business on the road. This business traveler handbook is written by Robert L. Jolles salesman, consultant, professional speaker, and veteran Road Warrior who has…
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Whether you are presenting a product, giving a press conference, interviewing for a job, addressing an audience - you are selling. Selling is about persuading, and you have to think fast on your feet to be adept at it. As one of the most popular…
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This revised edition of Robert Jolles's classic book on sales technique features brands new material throughout, including illustrations, teaching aids, coaching techniques, and true implementation strategies! When you have a process, you have a way of measuring what you are doing. When you can measure…
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For some, projecting confidence and credibility is second nature. For others, it seems like a foreign language they'll never learn – until now. Rob Jolles delivers down-to-earth solutions for anyone looking to enhance the most basic need of all; to be believed. He leverages his…
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