Advertising creative succeeds when it appeals to your customers’ five value-motivating perceptions


Historically, there has been evidence that links advertising quality and execution to making the cash register ring.

In fact, there’s noteworthy research that’s timeless.

The 2010 study by comScore ARS concluded that creative counts far more than the media plan. That’s more than half the sales generated by the creative – four times higher than the media plan.

The marketing determinants:

  • 52 percent – ad quality
  • 13 percent – media plan
  • 35 percent – other factors (price, promotion, distribution)

“Through our copy-testing measurement, we are able to quantify the quality of a campaign and show a 0.90 correlation between ARS Persuasion Scores…and changes in brand sales,” said Jeff Cox, executive vice president of comScore ARS.

“It is the time for advertisers using digital, as well as more traditional media, to get serious about optimizing their creative on the front end so they don’t get a rude awakening when the ads don’t work and they are left wondering what went wrong,” he added.

The study’s methodology included:

For a variety of campaigns, comScore ARS scored the campaign’s upfront creative strategy, using the campaign’s basic value proposition as a proxy. The research categorized the results of each campaign into below-average, average and above-average relative to the comScore ARS Fair Share Benchmark… which averages the ARS Persuasion Score resulting from copy-tests for a variety of campaigns to provide industry norms.

The actual campaign execution was then scored, using the comScore ARS standard copy-testing methodology, again categorizing each campaign into below-average, average and above-average relative rankings.

“Study findings showed that among campaigns with an above-average creative strategy, 70 percent resulted in an above-average execution,” stated a comScore press release. “Similarly, among campaigns with a below-average creative strategy, 65 percent resulted in a below-average creative execution.”

Again, comScore’s vice president preached to the choir:

“Though often overlooked, getting the creative strategy right from the start is essential if an advertiser wants its creative execution to actually perform,” added Mr. Cox. “Doing so will improve the likelihood of achieving a successful campaign that will generate increased sales. A sub-par upfront strategy is a virtual guarantee that the execution is destined for failure.”

Well, I couldn’t agree more.

My recommendation for the creative: Develop and implement the right branding and value propositions (benefit statements).

Here’s how:

First, it’s important to understand why people will buy from you – remember it’s always an emotional decision.

Admittedly, about 18 percent of customers – blue-collar and professionals, alike – will only buy if you’re selling at the cheapest price in the marketplace.

Assuming you’re selling products of value, avoid those people. They are the most troublesome.

Even if they buy, they’re more likely to show up the next day demanding to return their purchase. Even if they keep the purchase, they complain the loudest and longest.

Focus on people who are motivated by value.

For them, my firm’s research shows the five value perceptions of what your customers sub-consciously think in motivating them to buy from you:

Employees, Spokespersons – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.  

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

From the Coach’s Corner, additional reading:

Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce — Get ready ASAP for this year’s Q4 online sales. It’s never too early. Why? A study of e-commerce discloses some secrets you might need to know.

9 Tips to Evaluate Online Advertising Options — Are you at a point at which you want to advertise your company on the Internet? But you’re unsure which sites are the best for you? The options are endless and can be confusing. The last thing you want to do is to market a product or service that doesn’t reach the right people.

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit — E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Here’s how they do it.

Marketing Psychology: Choose the Best Colors for Online Sales — Here are color tips to improve visitor experience and to capture customers – including a great infographic on 40 facts about the psychology of colors.

Checklist for Branding, Selling Your Biz as Green — Consumers love environmentally sensitive businesses. You might think it’s a slam dunk for businesses to market themselves as green. Well, yes and no. There are precautions to take. They include educating your audience on your eco practices.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
-Mark Twain


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.