Influence people

Monday, August 23, 2010

Should Your Advertising Copy Overpromise?

There's a school of marketing gurus who'd encourage you to overpromise in your advertising, in order to grab customers' attention.

Should you heed them?

First off, recognize that most businesses don't overpromise.

They don't even promise.

They merely pronounce.

In other words, in an effort to appear trustworthy, they use remarkably common language to cite remarkably ordinary facts.

"Our mission is to help members compete more effectively in today’s global marketplace."

"Experience our high level of service, leading-edge technology and outstanding production capabilities."

"Tap into the energy of the industry’s largest tradeshow and networking machine."

It's not that most businesses are unimaginative.

It's that, when faced with the job of justifying why they exist, they grow uncharacteristically timid.

If they state a bold promise, they fear they'll sound like sellers of snake oil.

But businesses are built on promises (kept).

And new business is captured only by promising certain results.

Just ask any competent salesperson.

But should you go so far as to overpromise?

The short answer is: Yes.

If your advertising doesn't make a newsworthy offer in a novel manner, it "don't mean nothing to no one."

As Seth Godin puts it, "People notice only the new."

If your advertising doesn't pledge results beyond the routine, it simply will not command customers' attention.

Of course, you should never, ever attempt to deceive.

Leave that for the Bernie Madoffs.

But don't let fear or false modesty stand in the way of grabbing your customers' attention.
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