Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Advertising

The Unique Selling Proposition – USP

Development of this “central idea,” or what is often called a unique selling proposition, is one of the copywriter’s most difficult tasks, The USP (as it is often abbreviated) originated at the Ted Bates advertising agency in the early 1940s; as its famous originator, author, and agency vice-president, Rosser Reeves, has indicated, however, it has been picked up by hundreds of agencies and has spread from country to country. Unfortunately, it has also become a very misused concept; frequently, it is applied loosely and without understanding to slogans, clever phrases, unusual pictures or sound combinations-in short, to almost anything deemed “different” in copy, layout, or production. We hope our interpretation of the USP will come close to the one intended by Rosser Reeves, but every student of advertising creativity must ultimately develop his or her own.

A USP, Reeves claims, gives leverage to an advertising cam­paign-that extra tug that pulls consumers over the line of indecision or confusion to specific product preference, and then to brand loyalty. Now consider the three words individually.



“Unique” refers either to a unique feature of the brand itself  or to a claim not currently being made by competing brands (even though they could if they so desired!).

It is important to point out that today’s Federal Trade Commission does require substantiation of advertising claims, and may take issue with anything presented as “unique.”



“Selling refers to sales value. The claim-whatever it is-must be strong enough, important enough, relevant enough, believable enough to convince consumers that it is in their own best interests to try  the brand in question. Consider vegetable juice again, and suppose that V-8 had been developed by a person named Valdimir Van Vaulkenburg! Unique? Certainly-but the consumer’s reaction will merely be: “So what? Who cares?”

There is no sales value in the name Vladimir Van Vaulkenburg. Even if he represented a well-known company, it is doubtful in this day and age that consumers would buy his juice without some idea of its taste and/or nutritional value. On the other hand,  a number of factors motivate consumers today, such as health, convenience, and the desire to care for loved ones; these are the kinds of qualities copywriters should latch onto and develop in the food and beverage line.



“Proposition” refers to a promise: that if the consumer buys a certain product, with the unique feature or claim attached (selling point), he or she will receive a specific benefit. In other words, the USP matches a selling point with a consumer benefit, and does so in a unique way. 

USPs are often difficult to grasp and apply-but they make or break most advertising campaigns. They are really so crucial to creative (and overall communicative) success that they should pretty well fill their respective advertisements. A maxim for copywriters is: one solid USP per ad-and if “additional” selling points and benefits are included, they had best be few in number and relatively minor in importance. (Otherwise, they overpower the USP.)


Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brian’s-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856?trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

Manangement/Project Manangement – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103?




Guerrilla, Viral and Ambush Marketing

Dr Bian Monger
Guerrilla marketing is unconventional marketing activities intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. It is more about matching creative idea and wits than matching budgets. Rather than marching their marketing dollars, guerrilla marketers snipe away with their marketing resources for maximum impact.
Undercover marketing is a subset of guerrilla marketing where the buyer doesn’t realise they’re being marketed to. For example, a marketing company might pay an actor or socially adept person to use a certain product visibly and convincingly in locations where target segments congregate. The actor will talk up the product to people they befriend in that location, even handing out samples if it is economically feasible.

Undercover marketing is also know as buzz marketing or stealth marketing.

The goal of any undercover campaign is to generate buzz. Spontaneous word of mouth, or buzz, is free, can reach consumers isolated from all other media, and unlike conventional media, consumers tend to trust it. Marketers find it very hard to predict buzz let alone generate it on demand. However when it works, undercover marketing does exactly that: an ideal consumer from the example above will not only begin using that product themselves, but will also tell their friends about it, inciting a planned viral marketing campaign that looks spontaneous.

Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. The term “viral advertising” refers to the idea that people will pass on and share cool and entertaining content; this is often sponsored by a brand, which is looking to build awareness of a product or service. These viral commercials often take the form of funny video clips, or interactive Flash games, images, and even text.

Ambush Marketing refers to the strategic placement of marketing material and promotions at events that will attract consumer and media attention. It has been defined as “the practice whereby another firm, seeks association with the sponsored activity without payment to the activity owner”. This company attempts to deflect some of the audience attention away from the sponsor to itself.


Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856

Manangement/Project Manangement – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103

Come on over and share more great information and ideas.

Top ways to slim down flabby copy

Shorter, punchier copy is more readable and more memorable than obese copy. You can test this in your own life. Why do we like top ten lists, for example? The claim is also supported by experimental data; such as Jakob Nielsen’s research. So how do you put your copy on a diet?

1. Zap filler text. Just get straight to the point and delete the run up. For example, most press releases contain this kind of waffle: “In order to demonstrate our commitment to cutting-edge technology, innovation and customer service…” It’s what the delete key was invented for.

2. Cut paragraphs before you cut sentences. It’s better to change the structure of your piece by deleting low priority content than it is to try to make all your points but with fewer sentences.

3. Don’t lock down the word count before you start. A fixed word count is a guarantee of maximum verbosity (as the old Infocom games used to say). If you commission 500 words from a writer, that’s what you’ll get. Better to say ‘up to 500 words’ or ‘between 350-500’ and make sure that the writer focuses on the message and the quality of the writing. Similarly, ‘lorem ipsum’ copy on websites gives designers way too much influence over the copy length. Better to get a writer involved from day one, perhaps by using wireframes.

4. Delete hype words, clichés, adjectives and adverbs. Accurately chosen perfect words make this sentence the most beautiful one ever written. Or not. All readers have an inner cynic that discounts any hype word they read so using hyped-up words has the opposite result to the one you wanted. D’oh! See Words to avoid for more. They just sit around watching TV and eating your food like unwanted house guests. They don’t even do the washing up.

5. Shorter sentences. Breaking down a long sentence into a series of short ones, sometimes even using the machine gun style to spit out a sequence of very short sentences, can make a paragraph much shorter. In other words, short sentences rule. Use readability tools to provide objective feedback on your sentences.

6. Use ‘you’. It’s fine to address your reader directly. It’s also okay to say ‘I’ or ‘we’ to describe the person or company who’s speaking. This gets you out of a world of pain when struggling to find the subject of a sentence and avoid the passive voice. It also leads to shorter, punchier copy.

7. Give instructions. ‘Don’t run with scissors’ is shorter than ‘surveys by leading analysts suggest that velocity and cutting implements don’t mix.’

8. Write with information. If a sentence doesn’t include a fact or make a strong, clear point, it’s a candidate for deletion.

9. Use a bigger font. Sounds daft, but it’s much harder to write lots of words if your screen fills up quicker.

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

George Orwell’s writing rules Good thoughts for Social Media

George Orwell suggested 5 golden rules for effective writing:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Does the phrase “Low hanging fruit” mean something to a layman? Can’t it be better written as “non-performing employee”?Now, how many people recognize the words and the sentiments behind them?

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

In the entire world, XYZ is selling like hot cakes and gathering a lot of revenues for the company”… Imagine if we write this as “XYZ is the company’s universal best-seller”. Many writers adopt the beating round the bush approach to increase word count or achieve the desired keyword density. This is a strict no-no as it insults the reader’s sensibilities.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Well, same as above (yea that’ a shorter one. No need for another example!)

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

“The man who was old was bitten by a cat”. While there’s no rocket science behind the logic, still this is an oft-disregarded adage. You can always replace the longer sentence with a shorter and effective “The cat bit the old man”

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Keep your content easily accessible to the average Joe. Readers will simply block out the content if they come across a lot of technical jargons that they can’t comprehend



The Process of Persuasion

Other kinds of writing may have a variety of purposes, but copywriting in Promotion (Advertising; Sales Promotion Marketing Public Relations) has one main aim -persuasion.  There is a logical order to persuasive advertising that carries the audience to the point of favourable action.  Various authorities on the art of persuasion have advanced numerous formulas for this process, but they are all fundamentally variations on a relatively simple theory-AIDA.  The AIDA theory suggests that in order to persuade, an advertisement must first attract attention, then create interest, next stimulate desire, and finally get action.  There has been some criticism of the AIDA principle on the grounds that it is too academic and assumes that the reader of advertisements is a rational man.  Undoubtedly, the sophisticated copywriter recognises that writing advertisements is not always so simple; still, this process is basic to the art of persuasion.  Only after learning it can the copywriter go beyond it.


If we are going to persuade the reader  to  buy  our  product, we must attract his or her attention.  The best of advertisements are useless if nobody notices them.  There are two general types of attention-getting devices.  One includes external factors over which the copywriter has little or no control and the other involves internal factors which are to a large degree directly under his control.

The external factors include such things as the medium in which the advertisement appears and the size and position of the advertisement.  For example, the readers of some magazines regard advertising as editorial matter.  A  Voguereader, for example, is interested in the fashions the various advertisers are showing.  When advertising is closely related to editorial content, considerable attention is likely to be paid to the advertisements.  On the other hand, in general editorial magazines, in which there is little relation between the advertisements and the editorial content, advertisements elicit little spontaneous interest from readers and there is need for stronger attention-getting devices.

Size is another external factor influencing attention.  Obviously, the larger the advertisement, the more likely the reader will be to notice it.  Likewise, position affects attention.  An advertisement appearing on the fourth (back) cover of a magazine will attract greater attention than that same advertisement appearing in an run of press position.

The copywriter himself has two principal attention-getting devices, the headline and the illustration.  The effectiveness of either is to some degree dictated by the layout which can emphasise either or both to gain maximum attention.

A word of caution must be given about attention-getting devices.  Attention is simply a means of attracting readers to read the whole advertisement.  Therefore, these devices should be related to the rest of the advertisements. The reader whose attention is attracted by a headline, only to find that it has little or no relation to the rest of the advertisement, is apt to be resentful.  Using an illustration of a scantily clad girl in an advertisement for office furniture will disappoint the reader and may make him lose interest in the copy.

Because few persons read advertisements in their entirety,  the attention-getting devices  should try to include as many of the other AIDA factors as possible.  If a headline, in addition to gaining attention, can also promise some benefit to the consumer and identify the advertiser, it is likely that more people seeing the advertisement will get the message.  In addition, the illustration can be used to call attention to the product and the package.


Ideally, the attention-getting devices should lead the reader to the body copy, and hold his interest.  There is no better way  of stimulating interest than by appealing to the reader’s self-interest. All too often, the copywriter writes in terms of   the advertiser instead of the consumer.  The approach needed is what is referred to as the “you” attitude.  The consumer is not interested in how wonderful the company is; he wants to know what the product will do for him.


Each step in the persuasion process is important, but none is so important that it can stand alone.  Having stimulated interest, the advertisement’s next task is to stimulate  the reader’s desire for the product.  The easiest way to stimulate desire is to show that the product will benefit the reader, show that he will not be as well off without it, and prove it.  Again, the emphasis should be on consumer self-interest.  Claims may be met with scepticism, so it is necessary to convince the reader that the advertisement’s claims are valid.  Not only should they be substantiated, but they must be believable.


No advertisement can be complete unless it “asks for the order” orasks the reader to take the required objective action.  This may be stated directly: “Try it soon and see,” or “Get some soon.   In some cases the urge to action is implied in the copy without being explicitly stated.

Tips Effective Marketing Communication

Some guidelines for effective, persuasive communication.

  • Approach everything from the viewpoint of the audience’s interest. What is on its mind? What is in it for each person?
  • Make the subject matter part of the atmosphere in which audience members live—what they talk about, what they hear from others. That means tailoring the message to their channels of communication.
  • Communicate with people, not at them. Communication that approaches the audience as a target makes people put up defenses against it.
  • Localize—get the message conveyed as close to the individual’s own setting as possible.
  • Use a number of communication channels, not just one or two. The impact is far greater when a message reaches people in a number of different forms.
  • Maintain consistency so that the basic content is the same regardless of audience or context. Then tailor that content to the specific audience as much as possible.
  • Don’t propagandise, but be sure you make your point. Drawing conclusions in the information itself is more effective than letting the audience draw its own conclusions.
  • Maintain credibility—which is essential for all these points to be effective.

Direct Advertising

When an advertiser or media buyer selects an advertising medium, it is like a golfer selecting the right club.  Each medium, like each golf club, should be considered and selected in terms of the needs of the situation in which it is to be used.  While the bigger media and the longer clubs have their applications in the user’s strategy, each club or medium, regardless of size, is indispensable in its place.  The finest driver is of little value on the green or in a sand trap.  By the same token, neither the internet, television nor a glossy maga­zine can substitute for some of the less glamorous media available to advertisers involved in the intense competition that characterises marketing today.  These forms of advertising, often referred to as collateral or collateral media.  While they are usually employed as supplementary buys to other media in an advertiser’s media mix, one should be aware that to some advertisers they may represent the most important media in their advertising campaigns.

The terms “direct advertising…… direct-mail advertising,” and “mail order advertising” are frequently confused.

Direct advertising includes all forms of printed advertising delivered directly to the prospective customer, instead of indirectly as part of a newspaper or magazine.  It may be handed over the counter of a retail store, distributed from door to door, delivered by messengers, passed out to people on the street, or sent through the mail.  If it reaches the reader by mail, it is direct-mail advertising.

Mail-order advertising, on the other hand, does not refer to the channels through which the message is delivered, but to a method of product distribution.  When the advertising message is designed to consummate the sale of the product by mail, without the aid of intermediaries or personal, face-to-face selling, it is mail-order adver­tising-sometimes referred to as direct marketing.  To secure orders by mail, the message may be delivered by direct advertising, direct-mail advertising, publications, or any other mass communications medium.

Direct Mail is a marketing method in which targeted prospects (chosen on the basis of age, income, location, profession, buying pattern etc) are sent information and offers

The Selectivity of Direct Advertising

The almost universal use of direct advertising, and particularly direct­mail advertising, is due to its ability to deliver messages to selected groups of prospects who are difficult to reach economically through other mass communications media.

Creating Better Marketing Messages II

Writing Copy for Traditional and Social Media Promotion

BETTER COPY –Starts with a great opening

Use one of the great proven opening ingredients, to attract interest

(1) Promise benefits – (W.I.I.F.M.)

(2) Promote the “new” or “news” aspects.

(3) Appeal to the (direct) interests of the prospect.

(4) Appeal to curiosity.

Better Openings

(1) Involve the reader. Address him/her directly.

(2) Put direct suggestion or question.

(3) Use words that stimulate

(4) Appeal to pride and self interest

(5) Appeal to current or local issues.

(6) Beware overly clever language and technical terms.

Seven Rules for Making Copy Easy to Read

1. Use short, common words. Do not try to impress with your extended vocabulary. Fewer syllables sell more.

2. Use short sentences. Sentences that are thirty words long contain too many ideas or equivocations. It makes the key idea difficult to understand.

3. Use short paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain one idea. It is OK. to use 1 sentence paragraphs.

4. Make sure you use the word “YOU” at least twice as much as the word “I”.

5. Write as if you are writing or talking to one specific and important person.

6. Use words that have warmth and involve emotional responses.

7.   Avoid too much logic and sterility. Create images with your words.

8. Use action verbs instead of nouns.

Developing effective, that is selling, copy is a specialised art. It is one that requires knowledge of the theory and practical, current, experience.

Present your proposition quickly and clearly

Once you’ve gained the prospect’s attention with your opening, give your selling proposition quickly and clearly.

The proposition is the core of your promotional message. Tell the prospect, fast. Get your offer across early, boldly, right near the opening.


A sale is made at the exact moment the prospect decides he wants the benefits to be gained from your product (goods and services) is more than the investment (money, time risk) cost. It is your objective to have your message accomplish this as soon as practical. You are the expert with the information a prospect wants. As the expert in this communication, it is your responsibility to present it effectively so that the prospect may become a client.

Keep selling with sub-points

Prospects should be able to get the essentials of the message form the opening and the sub-headings.

There are two kinds of sub-headings:

(1) Those immediately following your main opening.

(2) Those used in the copy.

Sub-headings amplify and broaden the opening theme or promise. They act as directions in the body of information

They help push the selling message forward. They make it possible for the reader to get the gist of your story quickly, without reading all the copy. They also break up long blocks of solid type or information.

How to create conviction and make your words BELIEVABLE:-

(1) Present the main idea at least three times during your message

(2) Tell of popularity (use testimonials, and quote authorities.)

(3) Convey value. Demonstrate the benefits are worth more than the cost.

(4) Give assurances and proof. Overcome objections. Guarantee satisfaction when you can.

Creating Better Marketing Messages

How to create and evaluate effective messages

Styles and market needs are always changing, but there are proven principles for messages that work. Too few marketing professionals seem to understand them. As a result, much promotion is based on gut reaction, intuition and personal preferences.

Message and Presentation

The key to successful messages is: Successful messages come in only one language – BENEFITS!

“What’s in it for me?” (W.I.I.F.M.?)

“What do I get out of it?”

“What will it do for me and my family?”

“What will it do for my business?”

Prospects can’t get more sell out of a promotional message than what you put in!


People spend their money to get benefits for themselves or those important to them. (derived benefits or derived satisfaction)

A benefit is an advantage or satisfaction the prospect will gain – or the loss avoided – from the item, proposition or service you sell.

Don’t leave it to the prospect to discover the benefits he or she will gain from the offer. Spell it out, as simply as possible.


Promotion must balance stated benefits with component realities (features). They provide the rational reason why the service will work and help create conviction. Benefits must be supportable.

The more key benefits there are in a promotional message – supported by product points – the more selling power there will be.

CREATE INTEREST AND DESIRE by stressing benefits of using your service or owning the resultant thing (good).

DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE of your particular product by detailing benefits and features.

MAKE IT SELL FOR YOU ALONE by stressing reasons for buying from your company, not others.

Make your message fit the character of your business. Put it in line with your strategy of differentiation and positioning

%d bloggers like this: