The Sacred Triumvirate of Elements Essential to Response Advertising
Just as the Star Wars Saga shall conclude with Episode IX, so too must Audiolytics™ with its 9 Key Components. With this installment of the Audiolytics™ Master Class, “Your journey nears its end.”
Here’s where we’ve been so far…
This week we will break down the three Audiolytics™ Key Components that most marketers will associate with the Call to Action (CTA). Former president and supreme commander of the Allied forces, Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best.
[Audiolytics™] is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Audiolytics™ Key Component #6 – Offer
As we travel to the land of Limited Supply and Special Offer, the “wants to do it” is most important. We are not in the business of false advertising or merely selling hype. As John Caples says in the Fifth Edition of Tested Advertising Methods, you must filter every aspect of the advertisement through this question: “what argument would make you…part with good money in order to buy the product or service you are advertising?”
Would a GREAT Offer move you, better than any Offer available anywhere else? Would knowledge that the Offer has an element of Scarcity to it drive you to act? Would knowing exactly what Path to follow to take advantage of the Offer be the thing that induces you to purchase? Yes, yes and yes.
Within the Audiolytics™ formula an Offer is more than just a discount. It is everything from a unique discount, to something FREE, a guarantee, or any other kind of incentive. Let’s look at two advertisements, each promoting a ridiculous-looking hat which promises to grow back hair but separated by 95 years. Each ad makes the same Offer: a guarantee of “no cost” if the product fails to impress(1924) and “your money back”(2019).
Similarly, there was a 1773 tea ad that read, “Excellent good Bohea Tea, imported in the last ship from London; sold by Theo. Hancock, N.B. “If it don’t suit the ladies’ taste, they may return the tea and receive their money again.”
Herein we are bound to receive objections that a money-back guarantee is not possible for your business. So work with what you’ve got. Consider the tactics applied by sage marketer James Jonathan, AKA, Jimmy Johns, with his cleverly easy to fulfill offer:
Anyone can say it, but Jimmy John’s actually had the nerve to make it into a neon sign and hang it in the window. We discussed this idea, of digging deep for facts about the product or service—even if everyone does them, in the Positioning article. Such as Lucky Strike’s “Toasted” Tobacco and Schlitz washing their bottles with “live steam.” Because there is power in knowing the product deeply, you can bring those facts to the forefront in different aspects of the Audiolytics™ structure. All food smells and, in fact, all restaurateurs have no problem at all with you taking a whiff of their particular style of air. But Jimmy John turns that FACT into a FREE OFFER. Of course, there are ways to stretch and be creative about what an Offer can be, but at the top of the heap is good old price matching and money-back guarantees.
A recent study by researchers at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management looked at which kinds of advertisement messages were judged most effective by consumers. At the top of the list were ads that included money-back guarantees and those that promised to match a competitor’s price for a particular product.
Then, you can add to those foundational pieces with a Limited Time Offer, Percent Offer, Dollar Offer, BOGO, Gift with Purchase, White Paper, and Waiting List. In order for an Offer to drive the audience to take action, it needs to have Scarcity—you’ve got to give them a really good reason to ACT NOW. What would make you Act Now? Knowing there is an unrivaled Offer for a product or service that you want, but that the Offer will only be available until a certain time? Yes. To be a bit of a romantic with you, which I desperately am to my core, isn’t that what makes all the best things in life precious? Their fleeting nature? The seasons? Experiences? Our loved ones? Saying goodbye is deep in our nature. For, “The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost.”
Audiolytics™ Key Component #7 – Scarcity
Scarcity is most persuasive when it is real. For instance, when we’re running a test campaign we ask for the best Offer available anywhere and we make it truly scarce. It will only be offered through a specific date or, perhaps, it is tied to a seasonal event like Mother’s Day. Another way to talk about Scarcity is Limited Supply. This is an opportunity to dig deeply for the facts about inventory and supply chain. Can they keep up with infinite demand? I doubt it. If I had a Bitcoin for every advertiser’s website we crashed with traffic, I’d have sold them all in December 2018 and went water skiing each day on my private lake.
And many companies intentionally limit inventories to keep up demand: DeBeers intentionally restricts the number of diamonds it distributes to keep prices high; toy manufacturers often release popular products in limited quantities to create a frenzy; Apple supplied its stores with limited numbers of iPhones to generate buzz; and luxury brands like Hermès create “waiting lists” for women who want to get their hands on $6,000 purses.
Audiolytics™ Key Component #8 – Path
Finally, there is Path—where must the audience go to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity? This is where I plead with all marketers, DO NOT outsmart your common sense. Where must the audience go? Make it simple. Like Albert Einstein puts it, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Is it a phone number? A vanity URL? A promo code? All three? What’s simplest? How will you attribute? How will they remember? If I tell you that you have to go two blocks up and one block over and then find the shop with the green door, go around back, knock twice, and when you hear a voice say “So how about that new iPhone?” and you respond, “I have a Pixel”, then knock three more times to be let in and get a special offer—are you going to do that? Or how about, “Text “Offer” to 12345.”? I can feel the “Yeah, buts…” coming out, so I’ll close this section with this:
…as Walter Weir puts it, “The best copy testing machine is still a cash register.” In the final analysis, this is the biggest point of all: Is the advertising producing action on the part of its readers?
When it comes to Offer, Scarcity, and Path, don’t be quick to dismiss the power they hold over your cash register ringing. If you don’t have an Offer, or Scarcity, and have a convoluted Path, you have hobbled your message. It may still connect emotionally. It may still give the audience a fond recollection of your brand when they see it again some day. But if you need it to make the cash registers ring, especially as you test out a new channel, then bring these three critical Audiolytics™ Key Components to bear and have your e-commerce team on stand-by because it may just crash the system.
P.S. Don’t do an Offer that destroys your business. It needs to make good business sense. Here’s a cautionary tale from Hoover Vacuums that tells you precisely how a poorly planned promotion can really suck.
We will wrap up the Audiolytic’s Master Class next month as we dive into the 9th, and final, Audiolytics™ Key Component, Execution. Execution entails an analysis of how you actually communicated the sequential Audiolytics™ Key Components 1 through 8 and is perhaps the most subjective of all components—stay tuned.