By Jerome Pudwill, Marketing Consultant and Freelance Advertising Copywriter
It amazes me.
But after 35 years as a copywriter and creative consultant for national and international business-to-business and consumer clients, there’s one simple recurring problem that I see which consistently turns advertising projects into train wrecks before they’ve even pulled out of the station.
Whether you’re a multi-national corporation or a start-up mom-and-pop shop, here’s a trade secret that can save you vast amounts of time, money and frustration – plus improve the quality of your advertising and dramatically increase your odds for success.
Simply put: Start at the beginning with a written marketing objective.
1. Write a clear and concise Marketing Objective:
Before putting the cart before the horse by trying to decide on what kind of ad or email blast you want to send out, ask yourself and your team this key question:
What do we want our target market to do and why should they do it?
That’s it. Make answering this one question your first step and you’ve dramatically increased your chances of success – it immediately ensures that everyone is focused on solving the right problem, instead of chasing a bunch of different wrong ones.
Write the answer down. Keep it short. Absolutely no more than two short sentences.
Next, answer this question:
2. Identify the “Why”: Why should our target market do this with us instead of our competitors?
Now, in order of importance:
3. List your Supporting Facts as benefits: List the top facts or reasons why your target market should do what you want them to do.
Look for meaningful, unique, persuasive reasons which give your product or service an edge over the competition. Just a quick bullet list of four to five bullet points will do.
Focus on the key benefits (what the product or service will do for the customer/client) – not on the features (what the product or service has).
Here’s a typical marketing objective:
Middle-aged businessmen should buy and use the Confidence Comb because it’s the only comb-in hair-coloring product on the market that lets men easily and immediately hide their grey hair anytime, anywhere.
The key supporting facts are:
- The Confidence Comb instantly makes men with grey hair look younger and more handsome – which can make them feel more confident in the workplace
- It’s the only pocket-portable, easy-to-use product available
- It’s effective – works with all color hairs
- It’s immediate – just comb it in and it instantly changes grey hair back to its original color
Play with the phrasing of the marketing objective – even subtle word changes can have a major impact on your direction and results. Note how close, yet how pointedly different this phrasing is:
Middle-aged businessmen should buy and use the Confidence Comb because it’s the only comb-in product on the market that instantly restores color to men’s grey hair, so they will appear younger, more handsome and more promotable.
4. Get internal buy-in: Share your objective and support points with all key decision-makers. Make certain this is exactly what everyone wants to accomplish. And make absolutely sure it’s written down, so nothing’s left to chance and everyone’s sharing the exact same goal.
5. Prioritize marketing vehicles and media
With a marketing objective and support points in place, you’re now better able to determine which marketing vehicles and media will work best. Plus your creative team can immediately start working on the most persuasive way to communicate your key message.
6. Write a comprehensive creative brief
For even better results, good marketers should expound more fully on all of this critical information in a one- or two-page creative brief. A typical brief can be found at http://goo.gl/7URdQk.
But in lieu of a complete brief, by far, no single factor can contribute more to your advertising’s failure and success than following these initial steps. Make sure you and everyone on your team always gets it right the first time with a solid marketing objective right up front.
Best of luck!
Jerome Pudwill is a marketing consultant and freelance advertising copywriter in Orange County, CA. For more information regarding his services, please see his profile and portfolio at www.linkedin.com/pub/jerome-pudwill/2/1/2a3 , or contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – 949.497.6248.
©2014 Jerome Pudwill. All rights reserved.