B-to-B Insights: Sometimes Old-School Is Better
When we were selling the annual drug directory Physician's Desk Reference, we discovered by talking with customers that they kept their PDR for many years to avoid paying for a new one, figuring that most of the information in it was current. But it was not.
We convinced them their PDR was in fact dangerously out of date and they should not use it to make prescribing decisions by sending them a mailer saying so. This was so successful it pulled triple the orders of all previous PDR mailings.
For a recent project on an anti-wrinkle face cream, I spoke to the marketing director as most copywriters would do, but I also spoke to the scientist who created the formulation. In that conversation, he revealed that a special encapsulation technology, used to deliver the anti-wrinkle ingredients to the interior of skin cells, was the same one used to ensure chemotherapy drugs were delivered into the interior of tumors. This gave me the idea for a promotion on how advanced life-saving technology could now make your face smooth, supple and wrinkle-free.
2 More Examples of Research Leading to Writing Top Copy
Joe Sacco, a Madison Avenue copywriter in the 1960s, got the assignment to write ads for needles diabetics used to inject insulin. Not being a diabetic, he interviewed customers to find out what was important. The diabetics told him they liked his client's brand of needle because it was sharp.
This surprised Joe. He asked the diabetics, "Wouldn't that hurt?" But in fact, the sharper a needle, the easier it goes in and the more painless it is. And Joe wrote a successful campaign around his client having the sharpest needle.
David Ogilvy, looking for an idea to advertise Rolls Royce, was reading through an automotive technical journal when he found an article saying that the Rolls ran so quiet, the loudest noise at 60 mph was the electric clock. He used this practically verbatim as the headline in one of the most famous car ads of all time.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.