14 January 2007

That was the 1980s - things are different now

Back in the days when I was a strategic planner in an industrial holding group, I saw a campaign for a foodmixer which boasted the power of the direct drive motor in their top of the range model. They didn't say that the same engine powered a cement mixer, which I knew because I knew the company supplying the laminations for the core.

The point was that no-one buying that foodmixer was particularly interested in the size of the motor. They might have wanted to know that it would last forever without maintenance, cut large quantities of food every day without breaking down, make life in the kitchen easier but somehow those benefits didn't come through in the campaign.

I can hear the sussuration in the background - it wouldn't happen today - I'm sorry to say that you're wrong, it happens every day. It was a major mistake in the 1980s and the rules of what works in a sales process had been thought through many years earlier by some excellent copywriters and salespeople.

I was on a website recently and the entire website was a paean to product features which no doubt would have been admired by the developers of the foodmixer advertisement. If your buyers and visitors can transform those features into benefits, then you are extremely lucky - the rest of us have to work with humans.

Try and view your copy and your offering through your buyers' eyes - what made them buy the offering, what did they value, how do they talk about it to their friends?

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