Advertising & Promotion

Why buy? Why buy from you? Why buy now? Why buy?

It is amazing to me how much money is spent on ineffective advertising and promotion. This is not a simple topic, nor one that can be summarized in one short note. But there is a simple basic idea that when applied to any ad, promotion or sales pitch, is a good test of whether it will be effective.

Look at the ad and ask yourself the following three questions from your target customer’s point of view: Why buy? Why buy from you? Why buy now? Why buy?

What is the buyers motivation? An ad showing a fit man and woman in workout clothes appeal to one’s need (or desire) to get in shape. A photo of someone enjoying a delicious looking burger appeals to our basic need for food. What need does your ad appeal to? By the way, primal needs work best. Food, shelter, sex, etc.

Why buy from you?

So now that the potential customer is hungry for a burger, how are you going to get him or her to choose your restaurant? Price is one way, but usually not the best way. No business benefits from a price war. This is why fast food chains scramble to offer unique toys and prizes tied to popular movies. This is why better restaurants work to build a reputation based on good reviews in newspapers and magazines. What do you offer that motivates someone to choose you? How do you communicate that?

Why buy now?

What is going to motivate someone to act. Limited time offers are obvious examples. A sale, a special event. Christmas or Valentine’s day. Get in shape before summer. How do you generate a sense of urgency for what you are offering?

My favorite example

A memorable example of a promotion that passes this test are the Vege-matic ads that were on TV in the 60’s and 70’s. Why buy? …”look how easy it is, how much time you will save.” Why buy from you? “This product is not available in any stores.” Why buy now? If you order today, you will receive a free set of Ginzu Knives…” The success of this promotion spawned a whole industry of infomercials.

You may not want this type of image for your business. Fine. You are free to use your creativity to accomplish your goals with more style and subtlety. The point is that any effective ad, promotion or sales pitch succeeds on the basis of the strength of the answers to these questions.