By Jay Conrad Levinson
1. Find the inherent drama within your offering.
After all, you plan to make money by
selling a product or a service or both. The reasons people will want to
buy from you should give you a clue as to the inherent drama in
your product or service. Something about your offering must be
inherently interesting or you wouldn't be putting it up for sale. In
Mother Nature breakfast cereal, it is the high concentration of vitamins
2. Translate that inherent drama into a
Always remember that people buy benefits,
not features. People do not buy shampoo; people buy great-looking or
clean or manageable hair. People do not buy cars; people buy speed,
status, style, economy, performance, and power. Mothers of young kids do
not buy cereal; they buy nutrition, though many buy anything at all they
can get their kids to eat -- anything. So find the major benefit of your
offering and write it down. It should come directly from the inherently
dramatic feature. And even though you have four or five benefits, stick
with one or two—three at most.
3. State your benefits as believably as
There is a world of difference between
honesty and believability. You can be 100 percent honest (as you should
be) and people still may not believe you. You must go beyond honesty,
beyond the barrier that advertising has erected by its tendency toward
exaggeration, and state your benefit in such a way that it will be
accepted beyond doubt. The company producing Mother Nature breakfast
cereal might say, "A bowl of Mother Nature breakfast cereal
provides your child with almost as many vitamins as a multi-vitamin
pill." This statement begins with the inherent drama, turns it into
a benefit, and is worded believably. The word almost lends
4. Get people's attention.
People do not pay attention to
advertising. They pay attention only to things that interest them. And
sometimes they find those things in advertising. So you've just got to
interest them. And while you're at it, be sure you interest them in your
product or service, not just your advertising. I'm sure you're familiar
with advertising that you remember for a product you do not remember.
Many advertisers are guilty of creating advertising that's more
interesting than whatever it is they are advertising. But you can
prevent yourself from falling into that trap by memorizing this line:
Forget the ad, is the product or service interesting? The Mother Nature
company might put their point across by showing a picture of two hands
breaking open a multivitamin capsule from which pour flakes that fall
into an appetizing-looking bowl of cereal.
5. Motivate your audience to do
Tell them to visit the store, as the
Mother Nature company might do. Tell them to make a phone call, fill in
a coupon, write for more information, ask for your product by name, take
a test drive, or come in for a free demonstration. Don't stop short. To
make guerrilla marketing work, you must tell people exactly what you
want them to do.
6. Be sure you are communicating clearly.
You may know what you're talking about,
but do your readers or listeners? Recognize that people aren't really
thinking about your business and that they'll only give about half their
attention to your ad— even when they are paying attention. Knock
yourself out to make sure you are putting your message across. The
Mother Nature company might show its ad to ten people and ask them what
the main point is. If one person misunderstands, that means 10 percent
of the audience will misunderstand. And if the ad goes out to 500,000
people, 50,000 will miss the main point. That's unacceptable. One
hundred percent of the audience should get the main point. The company
might accomplish this by stating in a headline or subhead, "Giving
your kids Mother Nature breakfast cereal is like giving your kids
vitamins—only tastier." Zero ambiguity is your goal.
7. Measure your finished advertisement,
commercial, letter, or brochure against your creative strategy.
The strategy is your blueprint. If your
ad fails to fulfill the strategy, it's a lousy ad, no matter how much
you love it. Scrap it and start again. All along, you should be using
your creative strategy to guide you, to give you hints as to the content
of your ad. If you don't, you may end up being creative in a vacuum. And
that's not being creative at all. If your ad is in line with your
strategy, you may then judge its other elements.
Guerilla Insights Into Direct Response
Direct response marketing is a lot different from indirect response marketing.
The first is geared to obtain orders right here and right now. The
second is geared to obtain orders eventually.
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