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May 30, 2007

3 Important Marketing Lessons from Advertising Legend, Claude Hopkins

Claude Hopkins is widely recognised as the father of advertising. His insights are so simple yet so profound and they apply just as well today as they did decades ago when they were first used.

Here are three lessons, in Claude’s own words. Please note that due to the era that it was written in, the language may be a little dated and that he uses the word “man” instead of “people”.

1. An advertiser suffered much from substitution. He said, “Look out for substitutes,” “Be sure you get this brand,” etc. with no effect. Those were selfish appeals.

Then he said, “Try our rivals’ too” – said it in his headlines. He invited comparisons and showed that he did not fear them. That corrected the situation. Buyers were careful to get the brand so conspicuously superior that its maker could court a trial of the rest.

2. Two advertisers offered food products nearly identical. Both offered a full-size package as an introduction. But one gave his package free. The other bought the package. A coupon was good at any store for a package, for which the maker paid retail price.

The first advertiser failed and the second succeeded. The first even lost a large part of the trade he had. He cheapened his product by giving a 15-cent package away. It is hard to pay for an article which has once been free. It is like paying railroad fare after traveling on a pass.

The other gained added respect for his article by paying retail price to let the user try it. An article good enough for the maker to buy is good enough for the user to buy. It is vastly different to pay 15 cents to let you try an article than to simply say “It’s free.”

So with sampling. Hand an unwanted product to a housewife and she pays it slight respect. She is in no mood to see its virtues. But get her to ask for a sample after reading your story, and she is in a very different position. She knows your claims. She is interested in them, else she would not act. And she expects to find the qualities you told.

There is a great deal in mental impression. Submit five articles exactly alike and five people may each choose one of them. But point out in one some qualities to notice and everyone will find then. The five people then will all choose the same article.

3. If people can be made sick or well by mental impressions, they can be made to favor a certain brand in that way. And that, on same lines, is the only way to win them.

Two concerns, side by side, sold women’s clothing on installments. The appeal, of course, was to poor girls who desired to dress better. One treated them like poor girls and made the bare business offer.

The other put a woman in charge – a motherly, dignified, capable woman. They did business in her name. They used her picture. She signed all ads and letters. She wrote to these girls like a friend. She knew herself what it meant to a girl not to be able to dress her best. She had long sought a chance to supply women good clothes and give them all season to pay. Now she was able to do so, with the aid of the men behind her.

There was no comparison in those two appeals. It was not long before this woman’s long-established next-door rival had to quit.

The backers of this business sold house furnishings on installments. Sending out catalogs promiscuously did not pay. Offering long-time credit often seems like a reflection.

But when a married woman bought garments from Mrs. —, and paid as agreed, they wrote to her something like this: “Mrs. —, whom we know, tells us that you are one of her good customers. She has dealt with you, she says, and you do just as you agree. So we have opened with you a credit account on our books, good any time you wish. When you want anything in furnishings, just order it. Pay nothing in advance. We are very glad to send it without any investigation to a person recommended as you are.”

That was flattering. Naturally those people, when they wanted some furniture, would order from that house.

There are endless phases to psychology. Some people know them by instinct. Many of them are taught by experience. But we learn most of them from others. When we see a winning method we note it down for use when occasion offers.

These things are very important. An identical offer made in a different way may bring multiplied returns. Somewhere in the mines of business experience we must find the best method somehow.

Author:  Kristina Mills is a successful and internationally acclaimed Copywriter, Internet Entrepreneur, Author and Speaker. Kristina has also pioneered many business success stories. This is an excerpt from Scientific Advertising which is FREE when you subscribe to Words that Sell ELetter. Just go to http://www.wordsthatsell.com.au and fill in your details.

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