As the commercial sector expands, the competition also increases. With globalization taking on humongous proportions, it would be safe to say that no manufacturer today enjoys a monopoly. This competition has given rise to the concept of marketing and advertising.
Marketing is a crucial aspect of the sales figures of almost any commercial activity. How the product is presented to the prospect is considered as important as the product itself. But what most advertising businesses seem to overlook is the most important nine word sentence in advertising. In the words of Rosser Reeves, “A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen.”
The star of the advertisement is the product, not the ad itself.
The central idea behind this nine word sentence is reinstating the importance of the product, which is the ultimate weapon in winning over your client. Rosser Reeves was most remembered for his annoying Anacin advertisement, which was so excruciating for the viewer that the headache medicine’s name was embedded in his/her mind. In fact the sales of Anacin tripled after this advertisement went on the air.
Rather than focus on the quality of the advertising, Reeves believed that the product should be the star of the advertisement. Instead of focusing on creating a beautiful and fancy advertisement, the focus should the on imprinting the product’s name in the prospect’s mind.
Finding the USP of the product and propagating it is the name of the game
It is the unique selling proposition (USP) of the product that should be elaborated in the advertisement, so that it is imprinted in the viewer’s mind. Reeves adopted the use of slogans to ensure that prospects remembered the product along with its USP. The Dettol antiseptic company launched a soap which was propagated as an antiseptic soap. While it is known that all soaps are antiseptic in nature, Dettol managed to create a niche for itself by advertising its USP as being an antiseptic soap. So creating a unique selling proposition for the product and imprinting it in the prospect’s mind is the trick to effective advertising.
The ultimate idea behind any business-related activity is to make profits. Absolutely no energy should be wasted in undertaking any activity that fails to deliver in support of this ultimate goal of profit making. Profits are made when products are sold. Advertising is a marketing strategy that helps draw the attention of possible buyers towards the product. However, if the advertisement is unable to add to the sales and therefore the consequent profits of a venture, then regardless of the quality of the advertisement, it fails in its aim.
There are several noted ads that are remembered and honored for their great creativity; however, sadly, in many ads, the product seems to be forgotten completely. So while the ads were lovely, they were at the same time useless. Unless the advertisement can compel your prospects to remember the product and maybe even buy it, it is a bad advertisement, no matter how creative the concept behind it may be.
Repeat sales make the real profits
Marketing is a combination of four Ps, namely "product," "price," "placement" and "promotion." Most advertisers seem to forget this combination and interpret the meaning of marketing as only "promotion" of the product. It is imperative to understand the logic of business if one is to develop a coherent advertising strategy. Profits are made when clients return for the product repeatedly. If a soap manufacturer manages to sell one bar of soap to everyone in the vicinity, the business will start a downward trend as soon as the last customer has been attended to. It is only when users of a product buy it once, use it, are satisfied with it and come back repeatedly to purchase it, that a company can grow indefinitely.
Even in the virtual world, advertising strategies are developed in order to not only lure the prospect once, but have browsers return to the site often. eBay has earned a reputation for itself which makes shoppers return to the site for various products. Similarly, there are holiday package-providing sites like makemytrip.com that have plenty of clients returning to look for affordable and interesting holiday packages on the site. The success of these sites lies in clients returning to use their services over and over and over again.
No matter how efficient the product advertisement is, it can only raise the prospect’s interest in the product and do absolutely no more. A good ad that places the product in the right light and focuses on its USP will only manage to make the prospect pay attention to the product. An interested prospect may buy the product once.
But from that point on, it is the quality of the product, its value for money and other such intrinsic attributes, that will come into play. The "repeat sales" wealth-creating formula can only be executed and implemented by the product. The copywriter can in no way help in adopting or executing this plan. So unless the product is satisfying the customer’s needs, the buyer will not return to purchase it again, regardless of how good the advertising strategy of the product is. The best of advertisements cannot make a customer buy a product repeatedly unless the client has been satisfied by the product.
Continuing with the Anacin example, the advertisement made people remember the annoying jingle and therefore by default remember the name of the medicine. But it was when they tried the headache pill that users realized how effective it was. This made them return to the product repeatedly. So what the Anacin advertisement did was embed the name of the product in the prospect’s mind — and that’s it. The repeated sales were only created by the pill itself.
The product quality should not take a back seat to the advertising strategy
When pumping large amounts of money into your advertising strategy, never ignore or compromise on the quality of the product. It is the product that will help you cash in on the major profits that can be generated by repeat sales.
Ignoring product performance at the cost of advertising strategy is sure to spell doom for the venture. Since it has been proved that it is the product and not the advertising that causes repeat sales, it is of course crucial that the product be given its due attention.
Successful business ventures give due attention to maintaining regular and correct "repeat sales statistics" because these send out several signals that are crucial for the business. Repeat sales statistics warn the manufacturer early that the product is not faring well against the competition. Armed with this knowledge, corrective measures may be taken in time to pull the product up to mark once more.
For this reason, it is highly advisable that these statistics be maintained month after month and year after year. While almost all commercial ventures understand the importance of advertising, many of them fail to recognize the life-saving effects of "repeat sale statistics."
It is an obvious conclusion now that, while advertising is essential in today’s day and age of communication and exposure, it should not take away the focus from the product itself. Simply hiring a creative copywriter is not the solution to good and effective advertising. A good copywriter is not one who creates original ads, but one who is able to bring out the USP of the product. It is the USP of the product that will help create a niche for it.
Advertising agencies that can use the USP of the product in a magnetic manner to bring the prospect to the point of making the first purchase shall be considered effective. From then on it is the product that will perform.
At no given time should the quality of the advertisement awe the viewer to the extent that he or she ignores (or forgets) the product been advertised. So while the temptation to out-perform the product is usually difficult to fight off for a copywriter, a good copywriter must at all times keep the product as the prime and only star of the show.
The M&M slogan “melts in your mouth, not your hands" is a classic example of how the product USP was portrayed in such a way as to keep the product itself as the highlight of the advertisement. Prospects remembered the product and their curiosity was also heightened enough to want to try it out. M&M still rules the market today, and the slogan has lasted for decades now. It was the advertisement created by Reeves that got the prospect’s attention, but it was the quality of the product that retained this interest over the years.