Your markets sophistication depends on how many similar products, and how many competing ads.
There are 5 stages of market sophistication:
First stage is being first to market: Prospects have no sophistication about the product at all. So be simple, be direct, and don’t be fancy. Just tell it like it is. Name either the need or the claim in your headline – nothing more. Dramatize the claim in your copy, then bring in your product, and prove it works.
Second stage exists in early competition – copy the successful claim of the first to market, but enlarge on it. Eventually claims become unbelievable or lose meaning, like washing powder that cleans ‘whiter than whites’. At this stage you are into the
Third stage of market sophistication: Now you must distinguish a new mechanism to prove the difference in effectiveness of your products vs the competition. Here you will bring identification of the mechanism into the headline. Avoid the competitions claims. Shift from what the product does, to how it does it. Then the claim can be stated. So here in the 3rd stage, the promise itself is subordinated to the mechanism (the process) by which it is achieved.
In the 3rd stage, new people enter the market, the desire for fulfilment never fades, and dissatisfaction builds up, so the 3rd stage can be near perpetual, fluctuating into the 4ts stage.
Fourth stage of market sophistication: [private_free]Elaborating now on the mechanism itself. Embellishing the mechanism with greater clarity, proof, or augmented aspects of the process.[/private_free]
Fifth stage of market sophistication:[private_free] Here your market no longer believes the ads. No longer wishes to be aware of your product as it doesn’t satisfy. The fifth stage problem is a problem of identification. You must create a sense of identification between the product and the prospect himself. Often through visual appeals.[/private_free]
Adapted from Gene Schwartz, Breakthrough Advertising, 1966.
Notes from the book The Elements of Writing Copy by Bob Bly
Being overly clever for the sake of being clever is a major cause of confusing copy. So are lengthy sentences, cliches, big words, not getting to the point, a lack of specifics, technical jargon, overuse of superlatives, and poor organization.
Every marketing communication should have 3 focuses:
To provide value to the reader
To help bond them to the source (i.e. your client or company)
And thirdly, to sell.
Yes, selling comes third… and here’s why:
Think about it, if your focus is to sell, then you may be too aggressive.
But by focussing on providing value and building a trusted relationship, you actually achieve the sale as and when the prospect is ready.
If every marketing communication is a sales pitch, but your prospect doesn’t yet hold your spokesperson with enough credibility and authority… or if the prospect is simply not ready to place their order just yet for whatever reason… then constant sales pitches will bore, pester, and turn them off.
By providing value and establishing a good relationship, your prospect will keep reading your marketing communications until they are at the right point in their purchase cycle to want and need your direct sales pitch. At which point, of course… let ‘em have it.
This tip of 3 focus points for marketing communication comes from the legendary Jay Abraham.
My Financial Services client had a customer list of 30,000 names for a back-end (selling to existing customers) promotion.
This particular promotion was loans for homeowners.
The average size loan was £10,000.
Up to that point they had been sending a similar email with no personalisation or compelling appeal that a good direct response copywriter revels in.
So I saw an opportunity for a big increase in ROI on this campaign.
Here’s how it turned out…
average order 10k
expected response 0.05% = 15
expected conversion of that 3% = 0 new customers
Marketing costs = £2,000
They got a customer once every several months from that particular promotion. Remember, these are people that had taken a substantial loan in the past few years already.
For our test with my long copy against the agencies creative we split the list.
15k names at 0.05% is 8 projected leads from their creative.
How much better could I do?
15k names on my long copy produced a response of 61 leads, which was a 0.4% response off the list. The existing creative had a response of 10 leads (near enough their projected 8.
This meant a 510% increase in response (My 61 against there 10). That was huge for the client, who then wanted me to train their copywriters in some direct response copywriting principles (opens new window).
Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
And because of the personal nature, and genuine human appeal of my copy the client had 2 buyers, at approximately 10k each (a £20,000 return).
Marketing costs = £1,000 (half of the full cost of Â£2,000 given that we did a split test)
Return = £20,000
A huge ROMI of 1900%.
But this was still only the beginning as I saw it…
I began work with the client on their loan information pack to increase actual conversion rates after the new lead generation.
I also began to plan a follow-up series to the list of 15k that had received my email
Plus another campaign to the 59 leads who responded to the first email but hadn’t yet converted.
And the email would also (ofcourse!) be sent to the other half of the list that hadn’t yet received it.
Through integrated marketing, opportunities to increase ROI are endless.
You can read the copy I wrote for that initial split test on the Email Marketing page (link opens new window).