Wednesday morning you sit up in bed, swing your feet over the side, and are startled as you put your feet into a cold, wet puddle of standing water.
You discover that somehow, someone left the cold water trickling into the bathroom sink. It appears to have a clogged drain.
You’re feeling the pain.
Wow. In just moments you’ve just moved directly from Pain Stage 1 (no pain, no need for services) to Pain Stage 4 (make it stop hurting, NOW!).
Screaming “I’ll get the mop. You grab the Yellow Pages,” you address the immediate standing water problem as your husband/wife/roommate opens the book to “plumbers” and sees this ad:
Scanning to the adjacent page, this ad leaps into consciousness:
Is there a difference between T.R. Johnson & Son’s ad, and that of Phillip S. Johnson Plumbing Co.?
Pretty obvious, isn’t it?
The first company seems to think their name is the most important information the customer needs. The second focuses on the customer’s emergent need.
They may not be fighting an emergency, but by the time they’ve consulted the Yellow Pages, people are ready to buy.
They’re fed up with suffering. They’ve concluded that they suffer from not owning what you sell.
If these people have been influenced by your earlier advertising, they may look you up by name. If not, they’ll search through the listings for someone who can solve their problem, and solve it now.
You won’t impress anyone as a problem solver if the headline of your ad is the name of your business, and that’s followed by a listing of brand names and services you offer.
Stage 4 Messaging
A lot of advertising consists of the very common “We’re wonderful. We’re the best” kind of chest thumping one would expect from car dealers or personal injury attorneys. Among those businesses which sell services, “We’ve been in business for 70 years,” is an all too typical statement.
But, if it was your sink is running over, would you care how long anyone’s been in business?
A much more salient message to a prospective customer at Pain Stage 4, is “Stop hurting, now.”
Stage 4 pain isn’t limited to emergencies. What if your sink isn’t running over, but its not draining properly either?
You still need a plumber. What’s the headline you’ll look for?
Your pain is likely to be . . .
. . . that you’ll need to take time off work.
More specifically, it’s trying to schedule your day when you don’t know exactly when the plumber will show up.
That pain, time deprivation, is addressed by this * plumber:
Which one would you call, if you needed to take time off work in order to make that call?