Marketing and Advertising Tips: How to Do Product Research

January 12, 2011

Marketing and Advertising Tips: How to Do Product Research

Here’s an advertising technique from QuickStart Copywriter that will help you get more from out of your campaign.

To successfully sell a product, you must know exactly what consumers want.

There’s no shortcut to sales and advertising. You cannot simply slap a clever headline or fancy design on to your ad just to make your readers or client feel good and hope to get away with it.

You have to know exactly what it is that you’re selling. To do that, you have to research as much as you can about the product and become an expert in that category – someone who can offer solutions that save consumers’ time, effort and money.

Here’s a checklist to help you do your product research:

Learn more about the product and how it works

Use the product. If you’re writing about health supplements, sample them. If you’re promoting a clothing brand, wear the clothes. Selling party tickets? Go attend an event and get a first-hand feel of the party atmosphere. Nothing beats personal experience.

Interview your client or the maker of the product

Get as much as information as you can from your client about the product. Interview marketing staff, talk to the boss. Get and study product brochures or any form of marketing material from both your client and the competition.

Ask local retailers what they think about the product and the competition

Retailers are always keen to give you constructive feedback about the competitive advantages and disadvantages about your client’s brand and product.

Find out what actual consumers think. Ask questions.

One of the best ways to learn more about a product is by word of mouth. Ask consumers what they do or don’t like about the product. Why do they choose or avoid it? What does it do for them? What would make them buy it?

Check the Internet and other sources of online information

Type key words related to your product or its category into search engines and go where the results lead. Join social media networks such as Facebook fan pages and discussion groups to see what gets people talking about the product.

Learn about the product category

If you’re writing an ad to sell music CDs of a particular genre, say, Rock for example, it’ll be advantageous to find out more about that genre. Walk into a music shop and refer to Rock music magazines or surf the Internet. Study the language that Rock music fans use – what are some of the popular expressions and terms that you can adapt into your writing?

Visit the library

Refer to encyclopedias (How is Vodka made? How do you brew beer?), dictionaries (What’s RAM? What’s ROM?), audio and video material, or other valuable sources of information otherwise unavailable to you.


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Goal Setting Tips for Creative Advertising #2: 5 Easy Ways to Formulate a Goal

April 8, 2010

One of the biggest mistakes that most creative teams make is formulating the wrong goals. This leads to time and effort being wasted on ideas that are boring, complicated or in the worst case, misunderstood. If you are going to create overwhelmingly positive results in your advertising campaign, you must formulate the right goal. Here are 5 ways to help you Your goal should always:

  1. Be a single-minded proposition that can be easily understood within a few seconds. Bear in mind that a single-minded proposition has no “ands” (How can we demonstrate in an email teaser that “Club ABC” is the trendiest nightspot in town?)
  2. Be in the form of a question
  3. Be short and concise
  4. Be simple enough for anyone to understand.
  5. Avoid the use of complicated words or incomprehensible jargon.

To learn more about goal-setting in creative advertising, click here.


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Goal Setting Tips for Creative Advertising #1: Goal Setting Examples

March 23, 2010

So you’ve meticulously done your research by carefully looking into the demographics, statistics, and successfully identified your target group or groups. You’ve even engaged your product extensively, establishing its unique selling points and figuring out the most desirable approach to market it.

So what comes next?

How do we tie it all together and end up with a killer ad campaign that rakes in millions of dollars?

The answer is clear: You need to formulate a goal, which means that all the ideas you’ve brainstormed up to this stage have to be condensed into a single-minded proposition that can be easily understood by your target audience within a few seconds. A clearly formulated goal prevents time-wasting discussions (may I mention meeting marathons that could potentially stretch up to 20 hours with minimal breaks in between?) and ensures that everyone on your team works towards the same marketing objective and communicates a clear message at the end of the day.

In my line of work, goals are asked in the form of a question that focuses on a single-minded proposition – there are no “ands”. Here are just some of the questions I often ask myself over different project scenarios that have inspired me to create the best results in my work.

Advertising a product or service through a specific medium

How could a viral online campaign demonstrate that my product is able to make a positive difference in the lives of people through self-improvement?

Advertising a product or service through visual campaigns

How could a graphic spotlight the benefits of my product as a life-changing tool that improves lives around the globe?

Advertising a product or service by highlighting a specific benefit

How could a series of email teasers show that the company I work for is the fastest growing technology firm in Asia?

Notice that in all of my goals, the proposition is always concise, single-minded, and formulated in a way that even ordinary people can understand.

In the next of my “goal-setting” series, I’ll show you how to formulate a goal that will help you create overwhelmingly positive results in your advertising campaign. Click here to read the article.


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What Winning Advertisement Campaigns Have in Common

January 7, 2010

The next time you visit a shopping mall, take a good look around you.

Look at the advertising billboards that stalls display in their windows. Pick up a flyer and read over the copy.

What catches your eye? Is there something in the ads that moves you and gets you talking to your friends about the offer?

In a landscape dotted by so much ordinary advertising, it is rare to find an ad that truly stands out and yet gets results. It can also be said that how receptive people are towards your ad campaign really depends on their culture. In Asia, it was claimed that audiences, who are more down-to-earth, do not respond too well to clever advertising. This is a stark contrast to western audiences, who respond well to bolder, creative advertising.

The truth is, be it in Asia or the West, consumers recall and respond better to ads they like, more than those they dislike. Bearing that in mind, what are some of the things that successful advertisement campaigns have in common regardless of culture and geography?

Simplicity – A good, effective campaign ad should be simple and avoids ideas that are explicitly tacked on to the brand (How many times have we seen mindless ads that repeat the brand-name over and over again?) In fact, the best ads are inspired by everyday life and highlight the central idea and promise behind the product. A good example, in my personal opinion, would be this commercial about Oreo cookies.

Sensitivity – While getting maximum publicity is one of the goals of an ad, it should always be for a good reason. Ads that don’t work are those that make use of sarcasm, irony and negative sell. An unfortunate example of an ad that received plenty of negative publicity was one particular health supplement company’s branding of the suggestive slogan, “I swallow”.  

Relevance – The idea behind your ad should be relevant to your target audiences’ needs and desires. To achieve that, you must have an insightful understanding of your consumers’ relationship with your brand – did your consumers “grow up” to that brand? Is that brand well trusted over different generations? Is that brand synonymous with the hip and trendy?

Focus – Successful campaigns, including print ads, all communicate 1 main idea and avoid saying too much. You should not cram multiple ideas into your ad. Take Apple’s tagline, “Think Different”, for example. Based on that proposition, you can explore ideas based around Apple’s revolutionary product design, dedicated customer support, superior technology – but not all in one ad.


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