Nail Your Prospect’s Level of Awareness
By Rich Schefren
Today we’re going to finish up our mini-discussion of one of the greatest marketing books ever written – Breakthrough Advertising.
Specifically, we’re going to cover the five levels of your prospects’ awareness – and how to communicate to each of them.
Gene Schwartz was a genius and a legend in the advertising industry. And his reputation, like most, took decades to build.
Today, expert status in your market is worth “it’s weight in gold” in terms of the recognition and income it can offer you. But there’s no need to spend years establishing yourself, IF you know how to position yourself as a Maven.
Another area that Gene spends a considerable amount of time talking about is your prospect’s state of awareness. How much do people, your prospects, know about the way that your product satisfies their desire? That is is what we mean by state of awareness.
And while there a probably a million shades of gray in this spectrum, Gene was able to drill it down to five main categories:
1) Complete awareness…
2) Aware of your product, but doesn’t want it…
3) Aware they want what your product does, but doesn’t realize your product delivers it…
4) Aware he or she has a NEED…
5) Completely unaware…
Let’s take a look at each of these in brief detail.
This level, according to Gene, means your prospects know your product, they know what it does and they know they want it.
At this level you don’t need much more than your product and its price.
Gene said if your prospects aware of your product or service, realizes already that it can satisfy his or her desire then your headline starts with the product.
But what does this mean for marketing in the online world?
Well, if your prospect already is aware of what you offer, already knows that it can satisfy what needs to be satisfied, then odds are when they go to a search engine they’re not going to be typing in their problem. They’re going to be typing in the type of problem.
For example, you’re a failing business owner and you’ve heard that a business coach would help you solve all of the issues that are currently dragging your business down. If that’s the case, you’re not going into a search engine and typing something like “reasons for poor performance in a business” or “problems growing a business.” You’re typing in “business coach for internet marketer” or something along those lines. You’re already thinking about the product.
So if your prospects are already aware of their conflict, already aware of your product or the type of product or service then that’s where you have to start.
The second level of awareness is when your prospect knows about your product but doesn’t want it yet.
They may not be completely aware of all the things that your product or service does. Or they might not be convinced of how well it does it. Or they don’t realize how much better it does it than the competition.
If your prospects or marketplace know about your product, but don’t realize that it’s the ideal solution to their conflict, then it’s pretty clear what needs to be done here.
You need to demonstrate your product is better than all of the competition. In other words, Gene says, you must reinforce your prospect’s desire for your product.
You need to sharpened his or her image of the way your product satisfies their desire by first, intensifying the prospect’s conflict. Then you can increase the claim your product makes by clearly showing how it satisfies that conflict.
In other words, give them a better, clearer picture of how what you offer solves their problem. Introduce new proof, details, documentation of how well your product or service actually satisfies that desire.
Announce a new mechanism within your product that enables you to satisfy their desire even better. Or completely change the image of your product’s mechanism in order to set it apart from your competition and other products that claim to do the same thing.
The third level of awareness is almost the flip side of the second.
On this level, your prospect knows they want what your product provides, but they don’t realize your product provides it. This would be the same tactic as you’d use to introduce a new product.
This is a little more challenging for a marketer, because you’re dealing with a largely amorphous desire. To overcome this, you need to take s two-step approach.
First, according to Gene, you need to pinpoint your market’s as yet uncrystallized desire. You do this by analyzing your market. By determining the markets most receptive to what your product or service offers.
Second you need to crystallize that desire and the solution you offer in your prospect’s mind so clearly it becomes immediately recognizable.
At this level of awareness, your prospect doesn’t actually have a desire, but rather a need. He or she likely recognizes that need immediately. But they don’t realize the connection between the fulfillment of that need and your product.
This is essentially a problem-solving issue.
Here’s what Gene had to say about this. You start by verbalizing or naming the need and/or solution in your headline. Then you dramatize that need so vividly you make the prospect understand how important it is that they solve it.
Then you present your product or service as the inevitable solution.
In other words, if the prospect is only aware of their problem, that’s where you have to start. But you also must make sure that the problem is as big and as intense as you can possibly make it.
Opening up a completely unaware market is the most difficult according to Gene.
At this stage, the prospect is either not aware of his desire or need (or he won’t honestly admit it to himself without being led to it by your ad.) Or the need is too general, too amorphous to be summed up in a single headline. Or it’s a secret that just can’t be verbalized.
In this case you have to abandon any strategy of leading with your product, its price, its function, or the market’s desire.
In this case what you must focus on is your PROSPECT.
Essentially what you must do here is “call out” to your market. And when you do, you need to echo an emotion, an attitude, a dissatisfaction that let’s people self-select themselves from the crowd by identifying with your message.
Only then can you build their awareness of their problem or desire. Only then can you present a solution that will have real meaning for them. Only then can you point the spotlight on your product as their ideal means to satisfy it all.
Like I said in the very beginning of this series of articles, Breakthrough Advertising is one of the most important books ever written on the subject of advertising. And we’ve only scratched the surface of what Gene covers here.
And once again, I’d urge you to make sure this is one book you have on your bookshelf…