How We Decide to Purchase

By Roy H. Williams

This week, Roy H. Williams – known to many as The Wizard of Ads shares one of the most fundamental truths in advertising; the relationship between time and money. Understanding this truth will ultimately help you build relevance and credibility in your messaging. Thanks to Roy for allowing us to share this with you. Enjoy…

Amateur ad writers assume everyone makes decisions based upon the same criteria they use. This causes them to unconsciously frame their messages to reach people exactly like themselves.

Professional ad writers frame their messages to speak to the felt needs of a specific consumer.

People are multi-dimensional. We make decisions to purchase based on a variety of criteria, but two of the big ones are Time and Money.

Time and Money are interchangeable.

You can always save one by spending more of the other.”

– Pennie Williams

  1. A person who feels they have no money and no time is buried in financial and relational obligations.
  2. A person who believes they have more time than money is a bargain hunter.
  3. A person who has more money than time is overworked and highly paid.
  4. A person with lots of money and time is looking for something to do.

Consciously or unconsciously, every ad is framed to speak to one of those four perspectives.

It isn’t really about whether we can afford to spend the money. It’s about whether we FEEL we can afford to spend it. A person may feel they have the time, but not the money, to purchase a product in one category, but later that day feel they have the money, but not the time, to purchase a different product in a different category.

We evaluate messages – news, information, and advertising – based on Relevance and Credibility:

  1. Relevance: “Does it matter to me? Do I care about this?”
  2. Credibility: “Do I believe it?”

A message high in relevance but low in credibility is hype.

“I would be interested if I believed you.”

A message low in relevance but high in credibility is a tedious waste of time.

“I believe you, I’m just not interested.”

Are you speaking to the felt needs of your customer, or are you speaking only to yourself?

Are the things you’re saying believable, or do they sound like unsubstantiated hype?

Identity Reinforcement and Self-Expression:

We buy much of what we buy to remind ourselves – and tell the world around us – who we are. A surprisingly high percentage of purchases are about self-expression.

We bond with organizations that show us a reflection of our best self-image. When we perceive that an organization shares our outlook and our beliefs, we prefer them and their products.

Win the heart and the mind will follow. The mind will always create logic to justify what the heart has already decided.

Roy H. Williams

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Roy H. Williams is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling Wizard of Ads trilogy of business books. His Monday Morning Memos have been read by people worldwide since 1994 and he has never missed a Monday! He and his wife, Princess Pennie, are the founders of Wizard Academy, a 21-acre 501c3 school for entrepreneurs that overlooks the city of Austin, Texas from atop a plateau that rises 900 feet above the city.  The school is administered by a 9-person independent board of directors.

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