How OUTRAGEOUS are you prepared to be in your guarantees?

When my client phoned me, he was obviously frustrated. ‘We’ve got the world’s best auto security locking system, but our ads barely pay for themselves” was his opening remark.

I asked him where he’d been advertising, and when he told me, I just happened to have a copy of the magazine, so I grabbed it. Well, his ad had a good position, right hand page, early in the magazine.

The headline on his ad was ‘STOP THIEF’ (set under a big red stop sign). The copy then opened up with “No longer is your car at risk with the …”, followed by a list of bullet point features …

Fairly standard stuff … Easy to operate, self-locking, etc. But then, ‘hidden’ in the third bullet point was the statement: ‘Ignition suppression which completely and totally makes it impossible to start the car with then system is activated.’

My first reaction was that Mike (let’s call him Mike) had lost a powerful opportunity to sell his system. He’d fallen into the trap of trotting out a bunch of fairly standard features, while his BIG benefit was tucked away in the third bullet point.

Interestingly, while he was on the phone, I started flicking through the other ads in the magazine. Lo and behold … there was another ad a few pages further on … and its headline was ‘STOP THEIF’, and it too had a bunch of bullet points. This second ad was for the cheaper security device, a steering wheel lock. No comparison to Mike’s high tech solution, but appearing to be a competitor.

Thinking back to his ‘impossible to start’ claim, I challenged him: “Mike, you say it’s impossible to start the car?”

“ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE!” was his response.

“OK, here’s the deal”, I responded with my entrepreneurial adrenalin starting to surge through my veins. “I’ll write you an ad FOR NOTHING, and let’s see how it works. You run it and if it beats your old ad, and you continue to run it, then we can talk.”

My ad went as follows …

Under a graphic of a man in a suit standing in front of a very expensive sports car … the headline was:

“If you can start this car fitted with
our security system, YOU CAN KEEP THE CAR!

That’s how much faith we have that (product name)
will TOTALLY protect your car!”

How did my ad work against his original bland ad? I’d love to tell you my outrageous guarantee statement created an avalanche of orders. I’d love to tell you that … but I can’t.

You see, for reasons I’m still not sure about … Mike never RAN the ad I wrote. I’m still trying to figure out why. (I think I really do know!)

Still, this should serve as a challenge to YOU. Are your communications bland. Are your ads making the same ordinary statements that your competitors are making?

Think outside that box! What are your guarantees? What COULD they be that’s set people’s imaginations on fire? What sets your product or service apart that will bring prospects to you in big numbers? What is it about your product or service that takes the focus right off price, and has people saying, I WANT THAT!?

If you’re serious about this stuff, get ‘Marketing Miracles for Everyday Businesses’. It has everything you’ll ever need to articulate your ‘magic story’ and start the avalanche of orders.

Chris Newton