Don’t Argue. There Are Only Two Reasons to Advertise!

Agencies trying to justify spending a client’s money or a do-it-“himselfer” who doesn’t understand advertising, may argue this point, but the only reasons to spend money on advertising is to either induce trial usage by non-users/customers or to re-enforce brand loyalty of users/customers. That’s it.

The reason for running an ad or ads, will dictate the theme and the message. The headline theme is THE most important. If you can’t get the readers/viewers into the body copy, you can be giving the product away and it won’t matter. Spend the time on that headline. It “gets them in the door.”

The essence, the sine quo on, of any effective headline is a benefit. Any ad reader/viewer is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” No benefit? No hot-button of self-interest pushed? Guess what? No readership. If you can’t pull them into the body, NOTHING else matters. Craft a benefit-loaded headline that pushes that hot-button.

WRITE your message before doing graphics. Words create perceptions of value and benefits that convince people. Tell your story, then decide the graphics to enhance it. Remember: the headline, then the story, finally the graphics, but always the benefits.

In subsequent postings we’ll talk about how to massage the “benefit” story in order to bring the reader to the “When” moment, that moment when they decide to do to what you want them to do.

Lewis R. Elin
Lewis R. Elin Consulting
Lewis R. Elin spent most of his working career selling work uniforms and flame resistant safety clothing via direct mail and catalogs. He is a recipient of the DMMA “Direct Mail Spokesman” award and participated in panels and lectured for the DMMA and the DMA. He co-taught a course on Direct Mail Basics at the Indiana University extensions in South Bend and Indianapolis. He has also lectured at the Merit Direct Business Mailer’s Summer Co-Op. Mr. Elin is best known for his “Hi-5 Eternal Truths of All Successful Direct Mail Advertising.”

About Nate Marks

We live and work in a world of visual images.
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One Response to Don’t Argue. There Are Only Two Reasons to Advertise!

  1. Mike Willett says:

    As a former advertising photographer for 35+ years, it always amazes me when someone with experience cuts right to the chase. Why? Simple, one of the first questions I always asked my clients when they hired me was, what is the message? What are we trying to convey about the benefits of your product?

    You’re sitting there thinking, why would the photographer have to know the answers to such questions, just shoot the damn thing and let’s move on. I’m a consumer just like all of you, and if I didn’t get it, neither would their market, yet they constantly showed up with no idea what they were trying to get across to their market. No ideas, no headlines, no message, no sales!

    Many thought that if the graphics (read photography in this case) would sell the product. Well, I have news for you, if it doesn’t get your attention with message oozing out of it, no viewers, no readers, no message sent, no sales.

    What are you in business for? Just to spend and waste money? I don’t think so, so if you are letting things that should be the first thought in your head be the last, then go get a job, stop wasting money, enjoy yourself. I can recommend some great beaches…if you can afford them.

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