Don’t Be Fickle – Stay With Words That Work

Words That Work

Stay With Words That Work

Most of us have gotten advice like this all our lives.  "Stay with what works".  "Don't change horses midstream."  "Dance with the one that brought you."  "The grass is always greener...".  I'll bet you can name several others.  What they all mean is, "If it ain't broke, don't try fixin' it."  In the case of your marketing, especially your tagline, slogan, or marketing message, stay phrase is, "Stay with the words that work."

To put it another way, if I offer to give you 24 one dollar bills for each 20 dollar bill you bring long would you stay with that deal?  Forever, right?  Damn right.  A 20% return.

Case Study 1:  Back To The Future

This small, four-person company did a great job creating a powerful and compelling marketing message, value proposition, and a tagline that stated the benefits of their product in seven words.  Wonderful.  Then, they integrated that message into their website, radio ads and other marketing material.  Perfect.  For about a year they were getting an NROI (Net Return on Investment) from their advertising of 20%. Darn impressive.  So what could possibly go wrong?  What got in the way of their success?  The quick answer is, they did.  Or more specifically, their ego, greed, and hubris did.

Jazzed by the great returns, they made their fatal error.  In their "we are the masters of our universe" euphoria (ego), they decided to "Update" their campaign so they could make an even higher return (greed).  They thought they could not fail (hubris).  The changes fell flat, they started losing money until FINALLY one of them suggested returning to the original ad words and website content.  It took a while, but they finally found their future in the past.

Case Study 2:  "Patience Is A Virtue"

Case 2 features a small, one year-old father/son business.  When they were starting their marketing they realized all they read and learned everything they could about marketing, copywriting, website content and design and social media. They  put together their marketing message, value proposition, and first online and email campaigns.  BUT…after six weeks the anticipated results never materialized.  The sales curve remained pretty much flat and almost inevitably that brought about serious self-doubt.  They started thinking about developing an entirely different message.  But they did one very smart thing.  They retained the services of a good copywriter.strategist.  She looked over all their material and offered this advice.  "STOP!  Chill. Take a deep breath."

"Six weeks is simply an insufficient test.  It’s just not enough time for your new message to worm its way into the minds of your prospects.  So what do I – a unique messaging specialist who has faced this situation many times over thirty years – suggest you do?  Well, sometimes the best thing you can do is…nothing."

"Wait until you have at least enough results to construct a graph, for goodness sake.  Don’t be fickle.  Going from message to message, tagline to tagline will confuse and alienate your prospects. You created what you believed was a great message, so stick with the words that work."  After about 4 additional months of ads, social media, blogs, and engagement, their words started having the desired effect.  And this father/son business was on the road to success.

Case Study 3:  "Even Mega-Marketers Can Screw Up Royally"

Remember Burger King?  In the mid 1970's (ancient history to you millennials) BK was trailing McDonald's significantly in the burger wars.  They they came up with one of the best branding statements/taglines ever. They sang, "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us."  But it sure upset McDonald's when they started losing market share to Burger King.  In fact, after about three years of their, “Have it your way at Burger King.” campaign, they crept darn near up to McDonald's sales level.  Then they abruptly and inexplicably abandoned it.  Why?  They wanted a “fresh” approach.  Their fresh approach and the ones that followed never regained what they lost when they cut the “Have it your way" campaign.  What a shame.  And what a loss, their sales plummeted and they never really recovered.

Stay With The Words That Work

If you're looking to boost sales do small tests of alternate copy or images first.  And please remember, always test only one change at a time.  If you test multiple changes, you'll never know which one did the trick.

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