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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Print Ad Layout Ideas: Insert Captions For Selling Below Every Image in Your Ad

May 27, 2010

Sales and Marketing studies have shown that the majority of people will first read the headline, followed by an image (or illustration), then the caption, then the body copy.

That’s why you should always insert a caption under every photo or picture you include in your sales product flyer or business brochure.

It has also been proven that captions which pull in the highest number of sales are ones that make a strong selling point. For example, let’s imagine you’re advertising a particular brand of facial cleanser. If your product helps consumers effectively remove blackheads and achieve better-looking skin faster than other brands, you could have a photo of an attractive model who has radiant complexion and include a before-and-after comparison of the amount of blackheads on the model’s nose.

To complete the photo, you might include an italicized caption in your sales ad that reads, “The ABC marvel gel helps you remove blackheads fast and achieve noticeably brighter skin after just 1 wash!” I personally recommend you to put your sales caption in italics because it makes it stand out from the rest of the copy around it.

In a nutshell, always remember to make your caption highlight the main selling benefit you’re trying to get across!

Learn everything you need to create killer ads and get real results from your copywriting campaign. Read more in QuickStart Copywriter.


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Use Provocation As a New Source of Ideas for Your Ad Campaign

May 12, 2010

Recall an ad that you last saw. It could be an ad about that new beauty salon in town or the latest hair treatment solution for men above 60.

Chances are, the ideas would all start to look the same.

The good news is, there is a powerful advertising technique that allows you to discover new sources of ideas and draw attention in a stimulating way to your next ad campaign. This is where provocation can make a whole world of difference between an impactful campaign and a mediocre one.

When brainstorming thought-provoking ideas with your team, think about all the negative things about your product. Do your consumers have doubts, frustration or anger that they want to release? What are some of the unthinkable things that people would say about your product? The goal of this exercise is to drum up emotions which would help engage your team into a heated debate using provocation as a basis for new ideas.

Here’s a checklist of questions that will give you and your team the right foundation to stir up some controversy and thus paving the way for new, innovative ideas:

  1. What would be shocking, surprising or humorous in association with your product or ad campaign?
  2. How could you make your ideas controversial (Could it be breaking a taboo? Or addressing a social issue)?
  3. What would a child think or feel about the ideas in your ad?
  4. What unthinkable things would you not do with your product?
  5. Who might be offended or horrified by your ideas? How would people react?
  6. How would your product cause damage, and to what extent?
  7. If you could break a rule in the words you use, what would you say (E.g. Shit! Darn! Son-of-a-Gun! etc.)?

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Best Performing Ad Layouts: Vertical Ads

April 26, 2010

Did you know that “tall and skinny” vertical ads pull better response than horizontal ones?

There’s a reason for this and that’s because newspapers normally publish their articles in a vertical format. Readers who have become used to this format will be naturally attracted to ads that are oriented vertically.

Therefore, when you design your ad, always ensure that it is twice as high as it is wide. If you plan to run the ad in the papers, specifically request for this. Newspaper space is measured in column centimeters, which is the space that is 1 column wide (across) and 1 centimeter long (top to bottom). So if you plan to run an ad that’s 2 columns wide, the height should be least 5 centimeters. For an ad that is 3 columns wide, its height should ideally be 7 centimeters.


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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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Creative Thinking Technique #4 – Reframe Your Perspective of a Product by Turning Negatives into Positives

January 19, 2010

The term “reframing” is a technique that originates from therapy and the work of renowned psychotherapist Virginia Satir.  More specifically, reframing is a technique that dramatically changes the meaning of something you’ve seen or believed in and thereby changing your perspectives.

One example of reframing is to turn something that appears to be negative into a positive and you can apply it even in your approach to creative thinking! Let’s take your product for example. As you study it from every possible angle, make a detailed list of its negative characteristics that skeptics might point out to you or things that your client would never want anyone to know.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why might customers decide not to buy it?
  • What are its obvious disadvantages and flaws?
  • What negative reputation has it received in the past?
  • What could go wrong if it were used in a non-standard, particular way?
  • What criticisms would people out of your target group tell you?

From your findings, take each negative answer and ask yourself how could it be turned into a positive. If your product is overly expensive, what could be good about that? Could it be made from superior quality materials that last longer than your competitor’s? What advantage can your product offer if it’s designed in an unusual way? Could it save you more space in your warehouse?

Try swapping disadvantages for advantages and you will discover a whole new variety of positive selling points.


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