MOST Important thing in Advertising

What’s the most important thing? I’ve been asked the question more than a few times when it comes to marketing, particularly by advertisers. Advertising costs money, usually a lot of it, the last thing you want is donate money to the Herald (vs getting a return on your advertising). I used to have a lot of different answers, all depending on who was asking and why…these days i have just one answer. The Most Important thing in advertising is…

Not a good image, a really nice logo, a big headline, a massive space, white space, creativity, a nice layout, a product picture – etc.

No, the single most important thing is…

Having Something To Say. A Story worth telling.

Whenever you step up on stage to grab the microphone (which is what you’re doing when you advertise in any medium), you should – no MUST have something to say. A story that the market wants to hear, an offer that cannot be ignored, something worth stopping to read.

More About Telling Stories

Sounds obvious right?

Here’s another way to think of it. From what I hear these days, the Newsday is Zimbabwe’s most widely read newspaper – but guess what, no one is buying it to read your advert (well, except you, your wife and your mama). They’re buying it for the news.

If your advert is “XYZ for Sale” or some other none newsworthy piece of content, you will be ignored, like every other boring story. You’ll get a small fraction of the results you could’ve…if you’d taken the time to find something to say first.

So how do you know you have something say?

If your adverts headline replaced the main headline for the newspaper’s front page for a day, would anyone buy it? No one? That’s because you have nothing to say! Forcing yourself to think of your adverts as news stories (that happen to be about what you’re selling), will get you thinking about what your market wants to read, vs what you want to say.

Almost no one does it, but if you decide to dig deeper than “We are the best and we’re selling product X” You may find yourself in that sort after position we like to call ‘market leader’ – or chief story-teller to the market – same thing (more on telling stories another time).

A scientific or medical breakthrough, that’s news. A story worth reading. How a poor man became a millionaire, that’s a story we want to read. How Mr X went from a lonely Nobody to a Mr Somebody…it’s really not that hard, just different.

When you find a story your market believes, is moved by (emotionally) and wants to spread – then you’ll have discovered the most important thing you need in your advertising, something to say.

Stay smart

p.s. there is an alternative to having something to say…a really big advertising budget. You choose.

More About Telling Stories



4 thoughts on “MOST Important thing in Advertising

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