What A Homeless Man Taught Me About Marketing

Near where I live in the UK is the historic city of Canterbury.

And not long ago I was walking down the precinct, busy with people going about their normal Saturday shopping.

There were the usual sounds of people talking and chatting as they went about their business.

But then, over the noise, I heard the call of a Big Issue seller…

The Big Issue is a charity that publishes a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, sold by homeless and vulnerably housed people to earn a legitimate income. It gives them a chance of earning some money and helping them along.

They can be seen selling the magazines in many UK High Streets all year round.

Now what caught my attention about this particular seller, was what he was saying…

“Get your Big Issue here. Can be read from cover to cover in 20 minutes, a guaranteed cure for insomnia and you get two free staples with every issue.”


I thought it was a very clever piece of marketing.

This seller had captured and communicated the benefits of his product:

  • Can be read in 20 minutes
  • A guarantee – the cure for insomnia
  • A free gift – 2 staples

It proved that no matter what you’re selling, if you look hard enough, you can turn features into benefits.

Being homeless must be a nightmare and I hope this seller sold a TON of magazines that day to ease his plight.

So next time you’re scratching your head wondering what you can highlight about your product or service, just remember the Big Issue seller.

If he can do it, then so can you.

What other benefits could the seller have highlighted?

Leave your comments below…

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