- Start with research. Pharma ads are often researched ad nauseum - but only to 'pick' a final concept. Instead turn the sequence around and start with research with the primary target. True voice of customer research looks at the customers needs, their thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs. Make sure that your research focuses both on what they think about the problem you're trying to solve and your product's ability to solve it.
- Focus on the benefit. If you want to tell a customer about your products, talk to them about the features. But if you really want to sell them on your product, you have to understand their problem - and then sell them the benefits that you can provide. At The Matchstick Group, we work with our customers on this all of the time. Check out one of our case studies on this subject here. In our industry, the R&D teams drive a lot of innovation. And that innovation ends up manifesting itself as a new composite material or a hydrophilic coating or perhaps they've developed a proprietary manufacturing technique. And R&D's enthusiasm can be infectious! But as much as the teams might want to focus on those aspects of the product itself that might make a competitive difference, our job as marketers and strategists and creatives is to elevate that. I like an article that Gregory Ciotti wrote for his blog on Helpscout.net where he reminds us that no one wants to buy a bed. People just want a good nights sleep!
- Create a burning platform. A what?! What in the world is a burning platform? At it's most basic level, a "burning platform" is a term that describes an urgent or compelling business situation that if not addressed could lead to disaster. The burning platform is used to build awareness of the need for change very quickly. And while the burning platform is a term well suited to the field of change management, it works in the creative field too. A need has to be established that the reader can recognize and then take action on.
- Think iconically. Brands need to be able to transcend borders. And when your creative hangs on a tagline or a local colloquialism, that just doesn’t translate. One of our favorite creative campaigns in the med tech space was for the Cypher stent (J&J). This brand wanted to communicate the product’s strength but also the benefit of that - keeping arteries open. Prior to the launch of this campaign, Interbrand conducted a brand audit and despite this being a flagship product for the organization, there was little consistency across the globe. By creating a very iconic look that promoted product features (but sold the benefit), J&J was able to roll out a unified campaign across the US, Europe and Asia-Pac regions quickly and consistently.
- Compel an action.
Good advertising compels the reader to do something. What is it that you want your customers to do? Buy a product? Sign up for a demo or a trial? Share something? Click for additional information? And ideally whatever the action is, there should be a way to measure it. Direct Response TV and print advertising measures the number of people who call a 1-800 number, send in a postcard, type in a specific url or snap a QR code. Emails measure open and click through rates. Landing pages measure conversion. Consider your objections and the action that you want the user to take and then craft your call to action accordingly.