Message & Media: Clue In Your Copywriter
• What is the format? For e-mail, is it text or HTML? Does it link to an existing Web page, or is a new landing page required? For direct mail, is it a postcard, solo package, self-mailer, box, tube or some other format? For space advertising, is it a full- or half-page ad? Back page, back cover, ROP? All of these details provide your writer with additional ammunition for crafting a control-beating message.
• What media is being used? Direct mail lists, e-mail lists, TV, radio, space advertising, etc. Tip: If you’re testing e-mail vs. postal mail, be careful about directly picking up traditional letter copy and testing it in e-mail. While I’ve seen this work, it’s rare.
• What is the test plan? Are you testing copy? Creative? Formats? Lists? List segments? Offers? Timing? Other direct marketing elements?
• Will the copy be translated into languages other than English? While this may not directly affect the copy your writer develops, it may influence the overall creative approach.
• What other copy resources are available to the writer? Interviews with customers? Sales people? Customer service staff? Product managers? Product developers? (Tip: One of the most helpful copy resources made available to me in my writing career was a candy company’s food chemist who shared valuable details about the quality of the ingredients. He shared information no one else knew or thought to mention. Customers also have a way of revealing benefits often overlooked by or unknown to marketing staff.)
• Provide a product sample. Writers like to try what they are writing about because it provides firsthand experience with product benefits. For example, when I was writing a catalog for the gourmet chocolate company mentioned above, I was delighted to sample just about every type of its chocolate so I could taste the difference. However, I did not ask for product samples when writing lead generation copy for hog sperm used in the artificial insemination of pigs.