Marketing is all about moments

I’m an advertising copywriter. I also teach advertising copywriting. For 40 years I have been working diligently at both crafts. So what lessons have I learned after four decades of creating marketing messages for elusive consumers?

In the ideal world, our marketing message will reach the targeted consumer at the exact moment when they have a problem or a need to fulfill. That’s in the ideal world. Good luck finding it.

Smart marketers live in the real, not the ideal. Consumers have lives to live, things to do, people to see, work to perform. I haven’t met a consumer yet who sits around waiting for any ad, video, commercial, brochure, email or post I send out. Never happens.

A copywriter has to adopt a “made you look” approach to developing messages. Now we could make every message come across as a traffic accident where one has to slow down and take a peek. But do you want your brand to be associated with tragedy, bloodshed and dismemberment?

So what should we be striving to create? Think of the moment when the consumer realizes they have a problem and wish there was a solution to it. A paper towel company is doing an excellent job of this right now with their “Nooooooo” campaign.

If there’s no one specific “ah-hah” moment to build a message around, how about making the consumer aware that they have a problem in the first place. For example, how do you know your home is not just clean but clean enough? According to Apartment Therapy there are nine signs that your home is clean enough.

  1. Shoes are removed and not worn in the house.
  2. You clean as you go, especially when cooking.
  3. You make your bed.
  4. You put things away.
  5. You have a good duster and you use it.
  6. You have a cleaning schedule and you follow it.
  7. You use anti-bacterial cleaning spray.
  8. You have a paper shredder.
  9. You know where to put things when they arrive.

Let’s say you want to talk to people who are clean-conscious. You could sell a shoe tray they can place by the front door. You can offer a grease remover that makes it easy to clean when cooking. You can offer a booklet on making a bed properly that’s sponsored by a bedding company

A good copywriter can transform cleaning tedium into a “good job done” moment just by understanding who they are talking to, the problem being solved, and the benefit being offered.

All it takes is the right moment to dramatize.

Think about it for a moment.

About nhbrownlee

Advertising copywriter, Creative Director and state of New York college professor. I love true stories. Who doesn't?
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