Insights in Plain Sight: Selling the Sizzle—AND the Steak

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Food prep videos are viral sensations

It’s an under-two-minutes, quick-cut video of people making four types of sliders. There are no celebrities and no groundbreaking secrets revealed.

So why would it have over 200 million views?

These Tasty videos, created by Buzzfeed, are consistently popular. And they aren’t the only food prep videos winning with audiences. For example, Binging with Babish, a food video series on YouTube, has 1.8 million subscribers (and continues to grow).

What Might This Mean?

What’s going on here? Why are we fascinated with meal prep videos? Or even tutorials in general?

We can start with this hypothesis: It could be that both Tasty and Binging with Babish are tapping into the audience’s desire to quickly create mouthwatering homemade dishes.

But if that’s the case, an amateur chef who tries a Tasty recipe will soon find that it takes much longer than two minutes to create four different slider recipes. They’ll also become painfully aware of the prep work that is just out of frame.

If the audience wants quick cooking tips, these videos may ultimately disappoint them.

Applying the Insight:

The age-old adage of marketing is to sell the sizzle, not the steak. But, when consumers buy the sizzle, it’s the steak they bring home. A product or service should tap into a deep truth or unsatisfied desire of consumers, and it should deliver on that discovered need.

The promise of that experience must be paid off when the consumer actually experiences your product or service. Does your marketing make promises that your business can meet?

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