“Our jobs as marketers are to understand how the customer wants to buy and help them do so.” — Bryan Eisenberg
Last week, we talked about transparency in marketing, which is a means of recognizing that your prospect wants something more, something deeper, and something closer to his heart than the product or service itself, but that the product or service delivers. To reach this level of intimacy in your copy, you must provide benefits that go well beyond the obvious and address the customer’s diverse and complex needs and desires.
The goal of true transparency is to harness the mass desire already present in the market for whatever product or service you’re promoting. Notice I didn’t say “create” mass desire. Neither you or I — nor the greatest copywriters in the world — can create desire for a product or service. The need, the awareness, and the market sophistication must already be present. You can only understand them, use them, and adapt your sales message to them.
Throughout marketing history, companies have tried — unsuccessfully — to create mass desire. A good example comes from the late 40s to late 50s when the American standard of living was rising and the public decided they wanted a lower, wider car that better represented their rising standard of living. Ford tried to rebuke this desire by introducing the Edsel, a good, functional car with more head, leg, and shoulder room, as well as many innovative and advanced (for its time) safety features.
The introduction of the Edsel was a disaster. The public wanted luxury, not safety. The Edsel was launched on September 4, 1957 and died on November 19, 1959. And although it was one of the finest cars of its time, its death was simply the result of a lack of mass desire for that type of car.
Legendary ad-man, Gene Schwartz, once described mass desire as the “public spread of a private want.” In other words, it is not the desire of millions of people to have a particular product. Rather, it is the desire of millions to fulfill particular needs, wants, hopes, and desires. Mass desires like this don’t happen overnight and can’t be created by a single great sales letter. Because a mass desire is shared by millions of people, it takes years to develop.
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