What is advertising? In its simplest form, advertising is a message from a seller to a potential purchaser – which the seller hopes will produce extra sales and, ultimately, an enhancement of revenues. And some other descriptors?
- Advertising is an investment by the advertiser, wherein he puts capital into a venture he hopes will not only be self-liquidating – but will also produce a handsome return on his investment.
- Advertising is a golden opportunity to outwit, outspend, and out-maneuver the competition.
- Advertising is the very best method of promoting, building, rebuilding, or maintaining a Brand.
- Advertising, in many companies, is the fastest, most direct route to the Executive Suite.
- But, above all else, advertising is SELLING. The sooner we all get that very basic principle clearly in mind, the better off we’ll be.
Veteran salesmen will tell you it’s essential, at some early stage in the selling process, to get your prospect nodding, saying “yes” in response to your selling arguments. This, of course, is preparation for the essential “yes” that answers the bid for action, your “closer.”
Advertising, being an indirect form of selling, needs to get “yesses,” too.
For the next few minutes, put yourself on your prospective customer’s couch and consider the daunting challenges your advertising must take on. Within seconds, your ad must secure a “yes” answer to six vital questions. You must get six “yesses” in a row in order to win this game. Here they are – in sequence:
ADVERTISING YES #1
Yes – I’ll watch this commercial or read this ad. If you don’t get this one answered right – and right away – pack it in. You’ve lost the game at the get-go. Your commercial or ad must nail the viewer immediately. This is known as “attracting attention.”
Consider, for a moment, the enormous competition your ad encounters. You’re fighting the reader’s or viewer’s current mental condition, the accumulated events of the day, the iPad in one hand and the iPhone in the other, whether the dog is scratching itself, what the kids are doing, etc., etc. Your commercial opening or ad visual had better be good.
ADVERTISING YES #2
Yes – I’m interested enough to stick around for a few seconds. This stage in the sale, not surprisingly, is known as “arousing interest.” And you’d best be sure that the interest sought is the prospect’s interest, which you have cleverly ascertained from research. Beware of using an execution technique as an interest arouser – all prospects want low-calorie food that tastes good, you know.
ADVERTISING YES #3
Yes – I want what you’re promising. This is where the principal benefit comes in. Clearly, you market your product or service to provide a certain desirable end benefit for the prospect. Ergo, waste no time getting to the benefit quickly and unerringly (remember that your “temporary” reader or viewer can still bag out on you at any second).
Many sagacious advertisers make sure the principal benefit gets appropriate attention by making it the subject of the ad’s main illustration or using it as an early and dramatic visualization in television. The best advertisers do both.
ADVERTISING YES #4
Yes – I believe what you’re saying or promising. I understand how your Brand is different from your competitors, how you can offer something they don’t or can’t…and I want what you’re offering me. If you don’t get this right, your persuasion score suffers.
Brand differentiation thrives on reason-why – which is, of course, what we’re talking about here.
ADVERTISING YES #5
Yes – I want what you’re selling. Your proposition meets me squarely in the area of my interest and provides the benefits I seek in Brands like yours. You’ve also convinced me why I need to buy your Brand over any other.
I like what you’re telling and showing me, and I’m ready to buy.
ADVERTISING YES #6
Yes – I WILL buy what you’re selling. I’ll matriculate from becoming a consumer of your advertising to becoming a consumer of your product. You’ve showed me the package, you’ve rammed home the Brand name, and you’ve urged me off of my couch and made me make a note reminding myself to pick up look for your Brand while shopping next.
Okay, now that you’ve studied the answers your advertising must elicit from viewers, we have some questions for you. Look at your most recent advertising, particularly your Creative Strategy. How hard are you selling? Have you traded in a potentially effective campaign for “a little top of mind awareness”? How long has it been since you spent a day in the field with your agency, talking to retailers? How long has it been since you ran a truly innovative usage and attitude study? What are the analyses of your last copy research tests showing you?
MRA has more than 50 major advertisers as clients, and our consultants deal with questions of this kind every day. Want to learn some more? Give us a ring!