Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Marketing the promise: How do you sell a product that has no guarantee?

July 2, 2024
Written by:

Marketing the promise:  How do you sell a product that has no guarantee?

In a world where consumer expectations are higher than ever, marketing products or services without a guarantee of success can be tricky. Whether it’s vitamins, language learning apps, or fitness programs, there is so much outside influence that can impact effectiveness it can be hard to make a sufficiently compelling commitment to a customer that they will definitely get the results they’re after. And so that final stage of conversion - making the purchase - and growth overall, can feel like hard work. 

So, how do you effectively market a product or service when outcomes can be widely different among users?

1. Build your own proof points with customer data 

Getting a before and after snapshot from your customers can help you tell the story of effectiveness. For example, Heights does this well. 

Over a 12-week period, involving 32 participants, they monitored various health metrics, using this data to showcase the benefits of their Vital’s product. Sharing this kind of detailed data helps demonstrate impact to bat away any concerns consumers might have over its efficacy.

2. Establish credibility with expert support 

Using experts can significantly boost product credibility. Feeling confident in a product often starts with knowing it’s backed by experts. 

A fitness program that is approved by well-known fitness experts, for example, can reassure customers that there is more legitimacy to the product.

Heights does a great job of this too. Their tagline: “Feel better with science-backed supplements for your brain, body, and gut” and “Made by doctors and dietitians” isn’t just catchy - it’s a promise that it’s backed up by real expertise and professionals.

3. Show them how it works

I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘educating consumers’… but I do think we can do a better job of giving people more information so they better understand the decisions they’re making, and the context that surrounds products they’re buying. So providing customers with more information on how and why your product or service works will help to give them more confidence in its ability to help them reach their goals.

Heights’ newsletter is well documented as a good example of this. They initially engaged potential customers by sharing interesting and useful soundbites of scientific content through their email newsletter, even before their product was launched. This approach helped them lay down a foundation of knowledge and trust, which makes it easier for customers to believe in the product. 

4. Get your customers to do the talking for you 

Reviews, reviews, reviews. Nothing speaks louder than real success stories. 

In addition to the data points we mentioned earlier, having really rich and emotive testimonials can add depth to your proposition. 

Second Nature, an app and weight-loss programme really heroes their customer stories demonstrating how their product has transformed their lives. They show a wide variety of ages and lifestyles to help potential customers feel like it’s for them too. Knowing that someone else has achieved their health goals with a product makes it easier for others to believe they can do the same.

5. Create urgency

The other challenge here is that often where there is no guarantee of effectiveness, it often means there is a lead time to seeing the positive effects too. E.g. Going back to the Second Nature example - losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. 

This in itself can compound the natural inertia your customers might be feeling. So you need to try and harness some of the ‘painkiller’ urgency by really pinpointing what’s bothering your customers. Ask yourself: “What problems do we address that would make someone buy this today?” If you don’t feel like you can answer that question, it’s time to do some customer interviews (and if you’re not sure how to go about that - hit reply and let’s chat!)

6. Offering risk-free trials or money back 

Offering trial periods or money-back guarantees can reduce buyer hesitancy by minimising the risk. Emma, for instance, offers a 200-night trial for their mattresses. It’s a straightforward, no-risk offer: ‘love your mattress or get your money back’. Promises like this can ease the anxiety of trying something new and encourage more people to give it a go. It also shows to the customer that you’re so confident in your offering that you’re willing to take on the risk yourself. Admittedly this comes with some operational complexities, but because of that it’s not likely to be offered by everyone (aka your competitors) making it a really powerful tool. 

7. Keep your customers engaged and focus on the end goal 

For some services or products, where results are seen over the longer term, continuous engagement is key. Keeping users informed, engaged and supported throughout their journey ensures they recognise the ongoing value and don’t give up when they don’t see results after week one. This is key for minimising churn in the early life stage of your customers. 

Headspace does an excellent job by not only providing meditation and mindfulness resources but also creating a platform for users to discuss their experiences and support each other, adding significant value to their subscription service.

Wrap up

Navigating the challenge of marketing products without guaranteed outcomes requires a strategic approach. By employing any number of the tactics we’ve covered here, from leveraging customer data and expert endorsements to creating urgency and offering risk-free trials you can effectively demonstrate value and instil confidence in your product.

Focus on turning uncertainty into opportunity and making your product the compelling choice in the market!