I read this quote the other day and it is oh so true to the interactive and creative advertising worlds.
Last week I was talking with my friend copywriter/designer Peter Aristedes in Chicago, and we discovered we both have a weakness for buying too many books. In fact, he took "unfair" advantage of me by telling me about an old out-of-print advertising book he had recently bought, and before the conversation was over, I had tracked it down on the Internet and it's on its way to me now.
Then a few days later, out of my bookshelf I picked my copy of a book originally written in 1945 (I have the 1961 edition) called How Advertising Is Written -- and Why by Aesop Glim (the pen name for the old Printer's Ink columnist George Laflin Miller).
I found a gem in there so good I have to share it with you:
Why does he buy it?
This is the most misleading question of all-- because we have the paradox that what you sell is almost never what your prospect buys.
People don't buy soap -- they buy cleanliness. People don't buy dentifices -- they buy beauty and freedom from toothache.
People don't buy automobiles -- they buy transportation, social prestige, the great outdoors, life, liberty, and the pursuit of the opposite sex.
People don't buy houses -- they buy homes.
I guess most of us have heard some version of this before, so we "know" it.
But, does that matter?
Because, "knowing" and "doing" are two different things.
I still see so many ads that are trying to sell what the business wants to sell, rather than what the customer wants to buy.
Unsuccessful ads, I might add.
Do you know why your prospect buys?
If you don't, a good place to start is by asking him -- or her.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter
P.S. I just did a quick search and as of this moment there are about six used copy of the book I mentioned available on Amazon. You could do worse than to join Peter and me in our unwieldy habit. "
Just remember these little rules: