Sunday, December 02, 2007

Your advertising message and why people buy from you

Working and dealing with B2B clients and receiving and reading a host of trade publications means I come across many marketing/selling messages throughout each working day.

Again, I must profess disappointment at the quality of advertising in the trade press. I’m not saying that these ads are all produced sloppily in-house, a majority are professionally-prepared by ad agencies or other professional communication practitioners. And, I put myself as guilty of these same transgressions in marketing communication.

I personally make no excuses as I usually just follow client instructions, especially when clients supply the copy. And, my only input is by way of layout. I refer to the ad message and what is set out in the ad brief. (However, when I am asked to develop a concept, it's another story.)

Many ads feature the client logo on top, with ad copy being either a company mission statement or an enumeration of products and services offered—the classic tombstone ad, or ”name, rank and serial number ad” as this is also known.

At best, these types of ads are of value only as subliminal reminders of an organisation’s presence in the marketplace. Unfortunately, at worse, these are not only ignored, but could be a way of proving to the market that the staff of the company concerned is just too busy to take time to prepare the right message or really is not interested in getting more customers.

Am I being too harsh?

Well, maybe. But consider this: when putting out a marketing communication, the point of view is not “I” or “we”, but should really be “you”. Yes, you the customer or prospective customer.

And, to really make an impact on the reader, the aspect certainly should be what’s in it for the reader.

Again, I refer to a promise to the reader. This is usually of one or more benefits the reader would get from buying or using the advertiser’s product or service.

When Dove sold its soap to the public, the company did not just offer a means of achieving personal hygiene, but one of “younger and smoother skin”. The emphasis was on the moisturiser in the soap.

The slant of the Volvo ads was on safety. The focus was not on the car itself, but on the safety shell, built into each vehicle. Volvo now has another slant, but the “Staying Alive” message is still at the back of my mind because it was memorable. And more importantly, the promise was safety, not just the driver, but the driver’s family who are in the vehicle with him (her).

(Funny though, that the safety cell was not invented by Volvo, though the company would certainly be remembered for relating this with its cars. It was developed by Mercedes Benz, who did not patent the technology as the management of the company wanted to share this with the rest of the world.)

I digress, but you get my drift. The principal consideration is not that you as a marketer are there put a message across because you love your organisation or your job, it’s because you as a marketer exist because of your customers. No customers, no you.

And, your customer doesn’t care about your company, your mission statement, your product (or service) offering, but on what your company can do for him or her. Yes, what’s in it for me (the customer).

So, the point of view and the message is a promise of something that must just be too good to pass up.

And, put simply the more enticing the message the greater the interest the reader will have to go beyond the headline, read through the body copy and then contact you for more details.

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