As good marketers and their agencies know, there are two essential bits of information copywriters need before starting work:
1. A description of the people we’re selling to (your audience or market)
2. What needs to be said to those people (your proposition)
Pretty basic, you say? Well you’d be surprised by a lot of the briefs I’ve received. Yes, marketers usually know what they want to say. But they sometimes need help to simplify it, or express it differently, so that their audience can grasp it easily.
What’s often missing on their briefs, though, is a detailed description of their prospective customers. I wonder why. Are clients investing less in research these days?
The more audience information and insights you give to your copywriter, the better your communications will be. Below is one of the most effective ads I’ve ever written. It was inspired by a market insight, specifically how ale drinkers viewed lager drinkers.
Your copywriter needs good, strong facts and insights about your prospects. What interests them? What do they worry about? What problems are they having? How will your product or service help them? Or what’s stopping them buying from you?
That last question can lead to a breakthrough in the way your brand is perceived. Take the supermarket Lidl. Until about a year or so ago, in the UK, Lidl was always promoting itself as a cheaper alternative to Tesco and Waitrose. That strategy helped it attract price-conscious shoppers away from its more expensive rivals. But, despite Lidl’s low prices, Tesco and Waitrose customers were unlikely to shop there. They didn’t believe Lidl sold quality produce.
Then Lidl embarked on a different strategy to woo them. It started running press ads featuring lobster and fine wines. Recently it has opened deluxe pop-up restaurants so that prospects can sample its products. And just this past Christmas it ran a commercial featuring a group of people enjoying a delicious feast and then being surprised to discover that it all came from Lidl.
One more point about describing your audience: your advertising and marketing will be stronger if you can segment prospects based on their needs or, in B2B, their industries. Then you can tailor your emails or DM to them, or have separate pages on your website that address their specific needs.
Give your copywriter a good, clear picture of your audience, and your communications will work harder.