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percy the pig

Unique Selling Oink

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Now let me tell you a story about a pet shop owner, his unique selling point, content marketing and a little piglet named Percy.

Once upon a time there was a web consultancy named Sub@omic that was awfully good at finding the magic that lies dormant inside each and every business.

One day a pet shop owner called upon Sub@omic for help because the pet shop he owned was running out of business. The pet shop owner had decided that if he had a fancy, cognitive website that his business fortunes would improve.

The web consultants offered the pet shop owner a cup of coffee and a chocolate Hobnob and sat down to listen to the pet shop owner's story: Fewer children want pets these days, sighed the pet shop owner, they're only interested in what they can play with on their mobiles. There's way too much competition between pet shops, people buy pet supplies either online or from chain stores on out-of-town retail parks, my margins are small and I need to turn my stock around fast.

The pet shop owner paused, dunked his Hobnob in his coffee, took a bite and smiled as a picture of his little piglet, Percy, formed in his mind. Let me tell you about Percy, he began. Percy is a little pink piglet that I bought last week at a farmers' market; amongst all the other little piglets in the pen, Percy was the one not trotting frantically and squealing but sitting patiently and calmly. Percy sat, smiling happily for all the farmers who came to poke the porkers with a walking stick (because that's how farmers figure out how much bacon a pig might make).

Tears began to well-up in the pet shop owner's eyes. I couldn't see that little piglet be bought just to be fattened - he needed to be bought and be loved. So I bought him and brought Percy to my shop. But I need to turn my stock quickly and, if I don't sell him soon, the cute little piglet's going to grow-up into a pig - more pork chop than pet shop; more dead stock than livestock. The tears which had been welling-up rolled-over the pet shop owner's eyelids and down his cheeks.

Telling is the new selling

The web consultant said: You're not alone. The challenge for most business owners is that they're so close to their business they can't see what they've got and end up product marketing the wrong things on their website. Children don't want to buy animals they want to buy pets and it's up to pet shop owners to speak the language of the customer and tell them just how wonderful a pet can be! The wise old web consultants had been able to see just how much the pet shop owner cared about his animals and their individual stories and, very quickly, the pet shop owner was presented with his own USP: the shop keeper had a unique ability to make the animals even more adorable by giving them their own backstories.

Then came the magic

The web consultancy had been able to help the pet shop owner reframe his view of the pet shop business by explaining that the new business model for the pet shop wasn't about selling pets but telling stories. They explained that this magical turnaround is called content marketing. The beating heart of this story is the discovery of how the pet shop owner could add value to the things he sells. His livestock is the content he needs to market and by telling his wonderfully warm, happy, cute and adorable pet stories, he creates demand.

Sub@omic built a website that the pet shop owner could manage himself and use to publish a new story for each pet he bought to sell. From the wriggliest worm to the bounciest bunny and the waggiest puppy to the cuddliest kitten - each had their own story which the pet shop owner was only too happy to tell. Children were able to read each and every pets' story on the pet shop owner's website and now, should a child ever feel the tiniest bit lonely, if they're passing the shop on the way home from school with just enough money to buy a story, they can pop into the pet shop and buy a story that comes with a friend for life.

Today's shopkeeper

Since the shop keeper learned how to sell pets using Sub@omic's content marketing strategy, his entire way of doing business has changed. He goes into schools to give talks and tell his favourite pet stories. He does a regular podcast and he also writes blogs. He's never short of content and so he's always top of the search engine rankings for pet shop help and advice.

And what became of Percy?

Well, Percy never got sold because the little piglet had grown into a happy porker with a curlywurly tail. Through learning to use his website to articulate his business proposition, the pet shop owner had found his very own friend for life. Percy never left the pet shop owner's side, accompanying him into schools, squealing on podcasts, signing-off blog posts with a muddy trotter and smiling happily at all the children who came to look at him through the front window of the pet shop.

Great story Steve! And where can I see this amazing website? :-)
Anthea avatarAnthea30th November 1999Bringing you The Utility Warehouse, where it pays to be a member!
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Sub@omic is an independent web consultancy developing cognitive designer websites, based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK