When Your Copy and Message Can’t Even Give CASH Away! What’s Up?

Jaded Customers, Market “Sophistication” and Other Copy and Content Concerns that attack your sellability, crash your boy-looking-at-empty-swimming-poolcopywriting, and make you go “Hmmn….”

I was working last week with my main client on a large website promotion project. To make a long story short there was a large chunk of cash at stake in a contest. And the rules, simple. Our expectations: a windfall response to the media releases–viral propagation of the promo,  massive influx of interest AND contest applicants. Reality: lukewarm reception and enough respondents that wondered: “what’s the hitch, kids?”

There was no hitch. There was no “squeeze page” for netting leads, no sales page with a big pitch for customer commitment. We were left sort of scratching our heads. Why the apathy? Why the big ho-hum and virtual yawn? I figured….they’re all jaded and sick to death of the other marketplace “competitors” (and I use that term loosely) whose businesses are built not on valuable content, but on distilled lead gen (I want your name in my hat for nothin’ in return).

But still, what proof was there that this jadedness and intolerance I wondered about in my gut was a real thing?

Early this morning I was reading this Todd Brown post on Rich Schefren’s Strategic Profits blog entitled, The Greatest Marketing Lesson I Ever Learned.  What does this have to do with customer apathy and my client’s surprising and disappointing mini-launch?

Brown tackles an increasingly relevant issue that gave me the proof I needed. And it’s key to the business of copywriting, content, and marketing of the same. No, it’s not some newfangled “innovation” strategy, no cheat, or marketing “trick.” It’s a decades old concept originally posited by Eugene Schwartz:

“The 5 Sophistication Levels of Your Market.”

As soon as I read Brown’s post I had what he terms the classic “AHA!”

It’s not earth-shattering, the idea that online shoppers and consumers are getting more and more savvy (“sophisticated”) as the days pass. At the same time they are growing sophistication, they are also increasingly jaded, suspect, critical, and pessimistic. And despite the fact that we innately or intuitively may sense this new swell, fact is our marketing and copy angles may not be keeping pace with the transition from online marketplace pubescence to adulthood.

For my recent experience  you could make a case that my client’s business niche is just very swollen with mixed messages and spammy marketing schemes, which could be directly affecting a legitimate and no-strings-attached campaign. Who believes it anymore? “You’re giving away that much money? Whatever….”

“No, it’s TRUE,” you scream, jumping up and down and waving your arms…

You might see why Brown’s post resonated with me. He paraphrases Schwartz:

The different “levels of sophistication” are determined by how many competitors there are in the marketplace, what claims they’ve made about their products or services, and how long prospects have been hearing about their products and claims.

Yes, now I see more clearly. Can you see how this concept might create small but substantive changes to your copywriting message, the attack angle you take with your audience, or even build your sales funnel? It’s not enough to simply “swipe” an old “legendary” headline and slap it to the top of a landing page, squeeze page, or sales letter…your market customers have grown up–they’ve developed “street smarts.” In many “big ticket” niches they’ve been lied to, taken for fools, and otherwise mistreated– now they are reacting harshly. When you can’t even give money away, cashola, moolah, greenbacks, without some sneers and jeers — you know you’ve trekked into some wild and woolly place.

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2 Comments on “When Your Copy and Message Can’t Even Give CASH Away! What’s Up?”

  1. Amru Sahmono Says:

    Everybody who caught in Internet Marketing should read your post!

    Great one. Thank you.


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