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The One Question All Your Advertising Should Answer

For years advertising has tried to answer the questions of “what” and “how much” and that’s been a fine way to advertise.

However, we’ve reached a level of marketing saturation that has made those methods that used to work obsolete.

To be really successful in today’s highly competitive marketplace, we need to start answering a different question in our advertising…”why.”

Consider the fast food hamburger as an example.  There are a lot of different foods competing for our dollars when we’re in a rush.  The super easy choice is a hamburger.  The big three are McDonalds, Burger King and Carl’s Jr.  They all make and sell hamburgers.  They all cost about the same.  So how can they gain market share?  By answering the why.  Of the three places, I admit I eat at McDonalds and Burger King more than Carl’s.  Of those two, I like Burger King the best.  Why?  Because of the flame broiled burger.  I think BK makes the best mass-produced hamburger in the country, if not the world.

I drive by a tune up place in Murray fairly frequently that has a message on its marquee saying, “Follow us on Twitter.”  Every time I think “why?”  I can’t think of a reason.  Maybe they’ve got one.  They probably wouldn’t go to the trouble if they didn’t, but it’s not being communicated.  A better message would be “Follow us on Twitter because you can get a free tune up.”

I tell people to read my blog because they’ll learn how to use Twitter and Facebook and blog in a profitable manner.  More importantly other people say the same thing. 

The key to answering the “why” question is to include the word “because.”  I got this idea from Copyblogger, but I’ve heard it from other sources too.  Your because can be anything, just use the word because it answers the question “why.”  I like Burger King burgers because they’re flame broiled.  The question of “what” is answered by the product and the question of “how much” doesn’t matter because it’s the best tasting burger out there and the price differential between my other burger choices is nominal.

Answering the question “why” removes the price question altogether so long as consumers are clear on what your product or service is.  Your “why” should be your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition.  Price doesn’t have to, nor should it enter into your advertising, if you answer the question why.

Last year I had the opportunity to test drive a Bentley.  I always wondered why someone would spend over $200,000 for a car when a perfectly good BMW or Mercedes costs a fraction of that price.  Once I drove the car, I understood why.  Other than the fact I couldn’t afford it, price didn’t come into play at all.  From the massaging seats to the powerful engine to the hand stitched interior that looked so well put together it could never fall apart, I learned the “why.”  I would have bought the car on the spot if I had the money.

We’re not all out there selling Bentleys, but if we answer the question of “why” in our advertising, we’ll never have to answer “how much.” 

What is my “why?”  I make websites successful.

  1. April 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    You are right that traditional advertising is not very effective. The point is to focus on meeting your customers needs.


  1. December 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm
  2. December 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm
  3. January 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

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