Friday, August 30, 2019

Beware of Asking Too Much of Marketing Copy

I have witnessed executives asking for a single communication to do too much. "I would like this communication to build awareness and initiate a purchase." "I would like this to speak directly to our customers, prospects and employees." "I want this communication to prompt them to give us their name and contact information and purchase our special offer." "This communication should get prospects interested in us and educate our customers." "This communication should introduce them to our brand and describe all of our products and services in detail."

Less is more. And, just as importantly, one needs to know what specific thought or action the communication is being optimized to achieve, and with whom.

Yes, one can use marketing vehicles and communications to achieve different actions in a multi-step sales or marketing process. But in that process, the first communication's objective might be as simple as making a prospect aware of your brand. Or it might be to help people understand your brand's unique value proposition. Another might be to establish your brand's credibility or thought leadership. Or perhaps it is designed to encourage a click-through from a social media platform. Yet another message might be designed to get someone to enter his or her name and email address. Or the purpose of a communication might be to get someone to watch a video. Another might be to get someone to sign up for a discussion with a salesperson. One of the final steps is usually to initiate a purchase. Most sales processes are multi-step processes. The appropriate marketing communication must be matched with each step.

In other scenarios, the objective of the communication might be to get someone to stop by your trade show booth or drop a business card in a raffle bowl. Or it might be to invite someone to a product demonstration or other event.

It is hugely suboptimal to try to get a single communication to achieve multiple ends. When this is tried, it usually achieves no end well. It is ineffective. So when you are designing a marketing message or writing its copy, make sure you are very clear on the objective (singular, not plural). And the objective shouldn't have multiple parts either. If each communication is written well with one objective in mind, it should achieve its goal and move people through the sales process.

Think twice and then push back if you are being asked to write copy to achieve multiple ends, and especially with multiple audiences. If you don't you might end up with something that doesn't achieve any particular objective well.


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