Lord and Thomas

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Innovation in product and service marketing has redistributed wealth for ages. Yet one area where innovation has completely stagnated is messaging. The ads and sales copy developed in the 1880s by Lord and Thomas are the same as today.  Words like “sale, quality, buy, and new” were commonly used then and now.

Why can’t we innovate the message? Sure, we can sing it, animate it, give it life with video. And tomorrow we’ll add more dimension and experiential verve with virtual reality.  But the real innovation in messaging will not be in copy, art or delivery but in how we craft behavioral cognition.  Rather than tell someone what to do, we need to help them conclude they want to do it. Make if feel more like their choice. Facilitate and stimulate the behavior.

The old AIDA principle of selling: awareness, interest, desire and action is still a valid construct. Yet most messaging today concerns itself only with the last step action.  Innovations like Twitch Point Planning and other customer journey approaches account for all steps to a sale. Let’s court our consumers appropriately.

Peace.

 

 

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Albert Lasker, a seminal advertising figure and CEO of Lord and Thomas (a predecessor agency to FCB) and a copywriter by the name of John E. Kennedy had a discussion in 1905 about a Kennedy theory suggesting advertising is no more than “salesmanship in print.”  Smart dudes Kennedy and Lasker.

If the goal of salesmanship is sales and the goal of advertising is sales, then shouldn’t this notion still be applicable? Sure. But more often than not, advertising today is a loose federation of benefits and features packed together in designer wrapping paper, with a promotional bow.

The sign of a good salesperson is you believe them, trust them and are convinced by their expertise. You may remember the salesperson but you are more apt to remember the product. Similarly, the litmus of a good ad is its ability to be remembered for the product selling idea, not the ad execution.  And to be remembered the day after it was seen.

Messrs. Lasker and Kennedy were right back in the day and they are even more right today. They knew the best ads are not about “me, me, me,” but about the consumer. Sales people know this, ad craftsmen often forget. When done correctly, advertising in print, broadcast or digital is salesmanship not packaging. Peace!

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