Beautiful people know they are beautiful.
Smart people know they are smart.
Rich people know they are rich.
You don’t need to tell them.
If you speak about surface qualities, your words are superficial.
If you speak about inner qualities, your words are deep.
Flattery is an attempt at superficial bonding. It is the pickup line of a creep in a bar, hitting on a pretty girl. Creeps talk to women about the ‘features and benefits’ they see on the surface of the woman, and then they describe their own ‘features and benefits.’
I am talking to you about advertising.
Transactional ads describe something that is outside your current possession. Transactional ads are written to entice you to buy a product. Their offer of features and benefits is basically this: “Give me what I want, and I’ll give you what you want.”
We settle for sex when we cannot find love.
Most ads focus on ‘features and benefits’ because most marketing is created by morons.
The woman in the bar is your customer. She is standing alone on a tiny island surrounded by an ocean of ‘features and benefits’, but it is an ocean only a few inches deep.
What do you think would happen if you offered her what she really wants? What do you think would happen if your only goal was to rescue her forever from that tiny island?
Relational ads speak to values and beliefs deep in your customer’s heart. Relational marketing is about meeting your customer’s needs today, tomorrow, and forever.
Transactional marketing is about satisfying the need of the hour.
Relational marketing is about satisfying the needs of a lifetime.
“But,” you say, “product marketing isn’t about a relationship. It is about the features and benefits of the product.”
Apple was the first company in the world to achieve a trillion-dollar valuation. Did Steve Jobs build that brand on transactional ads that described the features and benefits of Apple products? Apple-solutely not!
In 1985, when Steve Jobs was fired from the company he had founded, a moron took over the marketing at Apple and immediately began talking about ‘features and benefits’. Those superficial ads plunged Apple into obscurity and brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy.
When Steve Jobs came back to rescue Apple, he made a 7-minute speech to his team. (Indy Beagle has a video of that speech for you in today’s rabbit hole.)
Steve begins that speech with these words:
“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us, no company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want ’em to know about us.”
Four minutes later, he finishes with this:
“The things that Apple believed in at its core are the same things that Apple really stands for today. And so we wanted to find a way to communicate that. And what we have is something that I am very moved by. It honors those people who have changed the world. Some of them are living, some of them are not. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, you know, that if they ever used a computer, it would’ve been a Mac. The theme of the campaign is Think Different. It’s the people honoring the people who think different and who move this world forward. And it is what we are about. It touches the soul of this company. So I’m going to go ahead and roll it, and I hope that you feel the same way about it I do.”
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The strategy of Apple was to romanticize the idea of being an outsider, a renegade, an independent thinker, free from the handcuffs of tradition.
Steve Jobs never spoke of the superficial differences between his products and the others. He spoke of what was in his heart, your heart, and my heart.
He also spoke of Nike:
“One of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen is Nike. Remember, Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes. And yet, when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product. They don’t ever tell you about their air soles and why they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are. That’s what they are about.”
Apple and Nike were not built on transactional ads.
Transactional ads are a desperate attempt to win the customer who is currently, consciously, ready to buy a product or service in your category today. This is the customer you have “targeted.” In her eyes, you are one more face in a crowd of faces, each trying to set themselves apart. You gave Google your money and hoped to attract enough customers to make a profit. All the other faces did the same. You are paying for clicks from people who are currently interested in your category.
Category ads are high-cost and Low CAP: low Conversion, low Average sale, and low Profit margin, because your offer is the only thing that makes you different than all the other faces staring at this woman on her tiny island. Yours is just one more face in an ocean of shallow faces.
Apple and Nike were built on relational ads.
Relational ads don’t target customers who need a problem solved today. Relational ads are written to make people fall in love with you. They will love you because you believe what they believe, and you value what they value. This is why you will always be who they think of first – and feel the best about – when they need what you sell.
When people who love you go to Google, they type in your name, not the name of your category.
These name-clicks are low-cost and high CAP: high Conversion, high Average sale, and high Profit margin because these customers have already chosen you. They aren’t comparing you and your prices to your competitors and their prices. Your competitors are no longer part of the equation.
Relational ad writing builds a relationship with future customers. This is its Power.
Now here is its Danger: you have to be exactly who they believed you to be.
If they believed in you, chose you, trusted you, and then you let them down: they will feel deeply and personally betrayed.
So no, this isn’t a marketing ploy, a gimmick, or a con.
It’s just a simple explanation of how – and why – people fall in love.
May you live forever, and love forever.
Roy H. Williams
One Last Thing: On May 26 of this year, my close friend Don Kuhl shared his insights on relational bonding. Pay attention, and you’ll realize that Don is talking about transparency and vulnerability:
“This is how it goes. If I trust a friend and want to strengthen our relationship, I share a personal part of my life that has emotional capital. Often, I feel a weight lifted or a sense of loneliness dissipate. Almost always, I feel unconditional support. A door has opened. My friend now feels safe. It may be the next day or weeks later when my friend confides in me. Now it’s my turn to be an honest and supportive receiver. I may have something substantial to offer. I may not. It makes little difference. Our friendship has reached a higher level due to mutual trust and sharing.” – Don Kuhl
Nick Barrett’s invention is only as long as a paperclip and as thick as a quarter, but it won the $10,000 prize for “coolest product” at this year’s National Retail Federation trade show. Monday Morning Radio co-host Maxwell Rotbart says inventors and entrepreneurs can learn a lot — and save themselves huge headaches — by listening to Nick Barrett explain how he went from selling gadgets at flea markets to becoming a major Amazon success story. Nick’s first bit of advice is, “Start small. Build large.” You can hear the rest of it the moment you arrive at MondayMorningRadio.com.