Sunday, November 25, 2007


“If your audience could derive one main, focused (important word!) thought out of this piece, what would it be?”

That was Number 10 in my list of 10 questions we discussed last time -- from my Creative Strategy Form you should be answering before acting on creating a marketing piece. It’s even more important to consider the word “focus” when specifically creating an ad.

Welcome to another edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Unless you’re doing a catalogue with umpteen septillion items to sell, your best bet is to focus on one main service or product. Not that you shouldn’t mention that you have more than one commodity to offer, but in the short space – not to mention time – in which your audience is flipping pages, your ad has to get at the crux of what you do. Simply and quickly.

Even if you’re a Sears or a Target or Wal-Mart, you’ll note that their ads don’t show everything they sell. Instead they may talk about price (Wal-Mart), youthful/hip approach (Target) or a particular appliance (Sears).

Again, it’s a matter of space and time. How much attention can you reasonably expect your reader to give you? Put yourself in their shoes (or eyeglasses).

I attended a seminar once where an ad guru brought a couple of props to the podium. One was a small square platform with neat rows of sharp points sticking up. The other was a similar square platform, but with one sharp point sticking up (the old fashioned kind of retail receipts “holder”).

He took a single sheet of paper and tried impaling it first through the rows of points. Though it created minor little “impressions,” the sheet would not cut through; it remained on top of the sharp points. When he took the same sheet and forced it over the single sharp point, however, guess what happened?

The single, “focused message” broke through, while the “many-messaged” sheet hardly made a dent.

And now you get the…you-know-what.

Joel Kweskin

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