Write Advertisements About Your Customers, Not About You

Posted by Matt Mills on May 23, 2013 at 4:39 PM

We have all heard or seen ads that say inthemarketnow resized 600“this is the best time of the year to by a car,” or “get amazing discounts on new Air Conditioning systems right now!”  And you think to yourself, "NO, it’s not the best time of the year for me to by a car. I just bought one!"  Or, "discounts on AC systems mean nothing to me because my AC works just fine."

Advertisers miss the mark when they write  a generic  message to their entire target audience, instead of pinpointing those who are also in the “market” to buy their product at this time.  The most effective advertising makes an emotional connection with the people that are in the market for your product.  

Great advertising messages need to be written about the TARGET CUSTOMER…not about your company.

Any good marketing strategy has a clearly defined target customer.  Age range, male/female skew, household income, family size, geographic location, and countless other qualitative measures are needed to define your target audience.  Most advertisers stop there, and design their marketing to reach that target audience.  However most businesses have quite a  large target audience and not ALL of their target audience is in the market to buy their product  at this moment.  Commercials targeted to those who actually are in the market to buy right now are more effective. 

Let’s look at an example of an upscale furniture store with 3 locations in the Washington DC area.  They have defined their target audience as 24 to 70 year olds, who own their home, are married, have a household income of $150,000 or more, and who live in the suburbs.  If I meet those criteria, I fall into the target audience and a furniture store may be targeting me with their advertising. But what if I bought new furniture for my entire house 2 months ago?  Would I be “in the market” for furniture?  No, not now.

So what happens to cause someone in your target audience to be in the market for your product or service?  Something in their life changes…a situation.  For a furniture store, there could be a handful of different situations that would put someone in the market for new furniture.  Some potential situations include:  Moving into or building a new house, moving from apartment or smaller house to a bigger one, wanting to upgrading furniture to a higher quality, re-decorating, getting a raise or bonus at work, building an addition, on the list goes on.

From research, you know that moving into a new house is by far the biggest reason people come into your furniture store.  So instead of writing a generic ad that focuses on meaningless facts about how long you’ve been selling furniture and how big your selection is, you should write your commercial so it speaks to the people in your target audience who are also in the market for new furniture.  Here is an example of what the beginning of a Radio or TV  commercial might sound like if you apply the principles of writing an ad directed at those currently in the market for new furniture (in this case, moving to a new house):

Home ownership is the dream of many.  Making your house a home, is special.  New furniture in your home is a big part of the excitement.  However, the process of decorating and furnishing a home can be very stressful.  ABC Furniture and Furnishings has been helping home owners just like you make this process easy and painless.  We can help.


Every advertising message should be written as if you are talking to ONE person, so that as each person hears/reads, they feels as if you are speaking directly to them.

Creating the best marketing strategy for your Washington DC area business isn’t easy and the last thing any marketer wants to do is make a common marketing mistake. That’s why we’ve created the eBook, Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Every Washington DC Business Should Avoid. This guide walks you through the most common marketing and advertising mistakes and explains how to avoid them. Download the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Every Washington DC Business Should Avoid and make your marketing more effective today.


 This article was inspired by Josh Yudin and The Academy of Marketing



Tags: positioning, targeting, Marketing strategy, message, emotional connection, Commercial Copy, creative, commercial, matt mills

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