The Two Questions You Must Ask First
Probably the most vital breakthrough Gene Schwartz developed as he wrote the book was based on just two elements and their maturity. Both of these may seem obvious to someone who has a long history in copywriting.
The maturity of the prospect (awareness)
The maturity of the market (sophistication)
Maturity of the Prospect (Awareness)
Prospects mature as they are exposed to and become more aware of various products and their marketing. These parallel the market maturity, but have important differences.
1. Most aware
Knows of the product and what it does and that they want it.
This is the simplest and probably rarest situation you can find. All you need to do is to state the name of the product, a bargain price, and where to find it. This doesn’t even really need a copywriter.
2. Knows about the product but doesn’t want it
Your prospect isn’t completely aware or convinced of all your product does, how well it does it, or how much better it does it now.
The vast bulk of all advertising occurs in this area.
Actions you can take are to bring the prospect up to speed:
– reinforce your prospects desire
– sharpen his image of the way your product satisfies
– extend his image of where and when your product satisfies
– introduce new proof, details, documentation
– announce a new mechanism in that product to enable it to satisfy that desire even better, that eliminates former limitations, and/or change the image or the mechanism of that product to set it apart from competition.
3. New Product
The prospect already knows, or recognizes they want what the product does. But doesn’t know your specific product will do it for him.
In this case you simply pinpoint the desire in your ad, and crystallize it as well as its solution. The results is that every prospect will recognize it the moment it hits their radar.
4. Products That Solve Needs
Here, the prospect has a need and not a want. Practically, this is a similar approach as above.
You should name the need/solution in your headline. Follow that by dramatizing the need vividly. So they realize just how badly they need your solution. Your product in now the inevitable solution to their need.
5. A Completely Unaware Market
The prospect is not aware of his desire/need – or won’t admit it.
Their need might be so general and undefined that it resists being summed up in a single headline. And it could be a secret that escapes being verbalized.
Your solution is to write an identification headline.
Emphasize the character role your prospect wants most – whether something they want to be or have/achieve/attain. Your product then becomes a symbol or representation to them of the character role they seek to play out in their life.
– – – –
Maturity of the Market (Sophistication)
1a. First in Your Market
The dream of any marketer is to arrive in an un-tapped market.
This still happens, often due to technological breakthroughs or a radical improvement, or perhaps a manufacturing improvement that allows prices to be drastically lowered.
Sometimes, this is where a new application is found for a product – as where Ovaltine was originally developed for insomnia, then became a food for body-builders, then a children’s after-school snack.
Here you only have to provide the need or claim in your headline.
1b Direct claim is still working
Other products supply the demand with that same claim.
Here you enlarge on how well your product fulfills the claim – how much better than any competition.
2a Prospects have heard all the claims
And they’ve also heard all the extremes of how they are filled.
Now you need to show a new mechanism – show how the product fulfills that claim in a new way.
2b More elaboration and enlargement
A new mechanism has been introduced by a competitor.
If this is producing sales, then you now simply elaborate or enlarge upon that successful new mechanism.
3 Reviving a “Dead” Product
Your product, as well as its claims, and mechanisms, are perhaps “too” well known. All versions of these have played out with your prospects and are no longer believed.
Now your headline and copy shifts from what the product does and how – over to identifying with the prospect themselves. Your product now becomes a representation of what the prospect wants to become or achieve. It becomes an identity symbol.
Solving the Commodity Markets
Certain markets have been developed that deal in only commodities.
Breaking out of these markets into splinter markets are necessary. This is “branding”. Your product has to be researched for what claims it has, what desires it fills, what mechanisms it uses to fill those desires. Even what identifications it fulfills.
Again, your market has to be researched for a subset where there are enough buyers to make advertising profitable. A smaller company can lower advertising costs with a smaller market, and so compete against large national brands. You’ll need to rework your entire ad from headline down, even through choice of distribution to achieve a more profitable operation.
The point here is that it can be done. Organic farming became a splinter market from commodity farming. Demand for more wholesome, less generic produce has brought “heritage” vegetables and fruit back from extinction. Certain breeds of livestock are marketed by their specific look, which profitably fights the commodity auction market prices for “all-black” generic beef animals.
Your earlier success examples are where carbonated soft drinks continue to separate themselves from generic “cola” and “lemon-lime” also-rans.
– – – –
With all this said, do you still have questions of where to find your own breakthroughs in advertising? Where to begin may be simpler than you think…