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books &reviews Martin Lee on 28 Sep 2007 02:47 pm

Scientific Advertising Part Two

Continuing from my previous summary of Scientific Advertising, here are the points from the last 11 chapters of the book. Reading through some of the principles, I’m not too sure they are true all the time. I think there would be times when there are certain exceptions.

11) Information

Writing a good advertisement requires a lot of research. Weeks of reading might be done and in the end, only a few facts are used. But one of these facts could prove to be crucial.

A claim that has an exact value will be far more impression than a general claim.

Besides product research, studies should be done of the target consumer and even the competition.

12) Strategy

A strategy is required to multiply the advertising effeciveness. The right name is an advertisement by itself.

Some companies are able to establish coined names which come to typify a product. Others leave the way open to perpertual substitution.

The pricing will be closely related to whether you adoupt a low margin, high volume strategy or high margin, low volume one.

How entrenched your competitors are is also another factor. Some fields which form a habit or custom are almost impregnable.

Other less challenging lines can be penetrated. Your ad has to target on an individual basis.

Another factor is distribution. It is a waste to advertise a product when you have only a few dealers supplying the product.

13) Use of Samples

Samples might be expensive but they form the cheapest selling method. It can be applied to almost anything and not just food.

By having samples, you can use the word “Free” in your ads. This often multiples readers. If you think about it, your sample might have already paid for itself, throught increased readership of your ads.

Offering a sample allows you to capture the information of a prospect, and follow up with him.

Samples can also be used to track and compare the effectiveness of different ads.

Putting a price on a sample will greatly reduce the response.

It is much harder to get people to mail back a form for a sample compared to letting them redeem the coupon directly at a store. Redeeming by telephone is the easiest.

However, do not give out samples freely as it cheapens the product. Give it only to interested people only.

14) Getting Distribution

Don’t advertise without first getting distribution.

Start with getting local advertising, town by town, before changing to national advertising.

sometimes, it is possible to get dealers to stock your goods by naming them in your ads.

15) Test Campaigns

The best way to answer any question is not to rely on any opinions, but to run a test campaign. Let the thousands decide what millions will do. No one is really capable of knowing what the average opinion is.

In this way, the downside is minimized. If a test campaign is successful, then it can be rolled out more aggressive.

Incremental testing on an already successful campaign can continuously improve results. In one case, the final plan at the end of five years was four times more effective than the original plan.

16) Leaning on Dealers

Do not give any special deals to a particular distributor on the belief that it will make that distributor work harder.

Generally, this only has the effect of moving sales from one store to another with your overall sales remaining contant.

17) Individuality

A salesman must standout in the crowd to make an impression. Not by being abnormal or eccentric, but by a refreshing uniqueness and a personality best suited to the target audience.

This is the reason why ads are sometimes signed. A person and not a souless corporation is talking.

18) Negative Advertising

Never attack a rival or point out other people’s fault.

Always show the positive side of things. For example, in advertising a dentifrice, show pretty teeth, not bad teeth.

People are attracted to the positive.

19) Letter Warning

The winning letters all have a headline that attracted the interest.

A salesletter is like a salesman going to an interested prospect.

Have a call to action. You can afford to pay for prompt action rather than lose by delay.

20) A Name That Helps

The name is is utmost importance.

The name that is able to adptly describe the product is valuable.

Names like Dynashine, Holeproof, Alcorub.

Other coined names are meaningless and required long-term advertising before people are able to relate their name to a particular product. If this is done, the name becomes very valuable.

Some other names include the ingredients of the product like Coconut Oil Shampoo, Palmolive Soap, etc.

These names may dominate a market, but they invite substitution and competition. After a demand is created, other people can come in to use that name.

21) Good Business

Testing and optimizing your advertising gives you tremendous leverage.

5 Responses to “Scientific Advertising Part Two”

  1. on 29 Sep 2007 at 2:46 am 1.Arthur said …


    Thanks for the summary which I have just read and found interesting. I agree with you with respect
    to the exceptions.

    Kind regards


  2. on 30 Sep 2007 at 11:46 pm 2.Paul said …

    Hi Martin

    Well done on finishing this review.

    For me it is point 15 that is absolutely crucial for making direct marketing pay.

    If the experts can’t predict which version will perform best when put to the market, amateurs certainly should assume that they know best.

    When I read Scientific Advertising I found the early chapters more insightful than the later ones.

    I was intrigued by your mention of exceptions so perhaps we should be debating those. What they are, why they were successful, whether the exception helped or hindered?

  3. on 01 Oct 2007 at 11:39 pm 3.Martin Lee said …

    Hi Paul,

    I’m looking at point 16 and 18.

    16) says never to give any special discounts to any particular dealer. I’m sure a widespread practice is that if you can move more volume, you get things at a cheaper rate.

    18) says never to show the negative side and not to use those before/after ads. I see those ads all the time, especially for slimming ads.

  4. on 23 Oct 2007 at 1:39 pm 4.TA said …

    Some pointers to share on # 18..

    There are advertisers who insist not to highlight the negative in order to sell.

    Yes, people are attracted to the positive. The good feeling warms the hearts.

    But pain causes many to take action.
    Fear of the repercussions from doing or not doing something, is often a stronger motivation. Than being persuaded to achieve a positive result, idealised state. 🙂

  5. on 23 Oct 2007 at 2:30 pm 5.Martin Lee said …

    Yes TA.

    Pain is a much greater motivator than pleasure.

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