“The offer was flattering, not humiliating. It showed sympathy and understanding. The evident desire was to serve.” – Claude Hopkins, My Life in Advertising
Don’t you find it easy to tell when a company’s advertising is self serving? Even though advertising is self serving by nature, we are put off by it. We want our needs met. We aren’t always concerned with meeting the needs of the people we buy from.
Advertisers who proclaim their own achievements and merit will fail. We don’t care about what awards they’ve won, what is their product going to do for us?
Advertisers who focus on the benefit to the customer win. Especially in our digital world, where we Google our problems, looking for answers,
What’s the evident desire of your advertising? To get the sale, or to serve your customers? Are you seeking to solve their problem and relieve their pain? Or is the undertone of your marketing message that all you’re really interested in is their money?
The best advertising positions your product as a solution to your customer’s problem. It focuses on how the customer’s life will be better without their problem. That doesn’t mean thick descriptions of your customer’s life with your product. There is a difference.
Obviously you want to demonstrate your product’s merit, function, and ability to solve your customer’s problem, but the focus still doesn’t need to be on your product. It merely plays a supporting role in the more important story, what life is going to be like after the pain or problem is gone.
This is why word of mouth referrals will always be the strongest form or advertising. For example, your customer’s neighbours told her about how relieved they are that their dog no longer has fleas thanks to your medicated pet shampoo. Now she wants to try it out with her dogs. It wasn’t the shampoo that was amazing (even if people call it amazing). It was the fact that her neighbours didn’t have to deal with fleas any more!
How can you position your advertising?
- What are the most sought after benefits that your product provides?
- What pains will your customers get to live without?
- What does life look like without that pain?
Even your business model can demonstrate a willingness to serve:
- Is it easy for customers to make payments in advance?
- Can customers breakdown the cost into smaller payments?
- Do you offer a money back guarantee?
- How simple is your return policy?
- Do you offer flexible customer service?