Sometimes, it seems that time is going backwards in our industry. Marketers’ instincts when it comes to divining and profiting from the deepest, darkest corners of human frailty and desire seem to be diminishing even as we collect more and more data that should shine light on them.
“I don’t think people like to think of a mouse in a hotel” (to Conrad Hilton, on his homemade print ad creative) — detail work for Don. That, he can do in his sleep.
A challenge more worthy of Don was to explain to the petrified cigarette companies that the very fact that the product was lethal was going to appeal to the sickos who use it in the first place. Government regulation was the perfect opportunity to craft advertising concepts that appealed to the customers who were smokers not merely for pleasure (eros), but based on their perverse attraction to danger and eternal oblivion (thanatos). Vintage Draper thinking.
Today, we’re so wrapped up in being good little boys and girls (negative out anything that might be “irrelevant,” without checking whether people buy anyway), we don’t seem to understand customers very well.
Exhibit A: By no means cigarettes, we’re currently engaged in the sales of a certain comestible. Today, everyone’s so caught up in being healthy (but wanting quick fixes and shortcuts), yet petrified of doing it “wrong.” At the same time, the lure of danger sometimes overcomes the fact that people use search engines in part to avoid mistakes. So people are so afraid of everything that goes “bump,” that many actually search for the “dangers of” health foods. And then…
Over the past 30 days, my query report shows that a couple of people went right from searching for the “dangers” of this particular item right to buying it! Because it’s last-click attribution, it’s fair to say that they didn’t take a particularly circuitous journey. They wanted to be “careful” about it, but then had a sudden change of heart. The ads looked better than the silly links to information about potential dangers. Click… buy.
The CPA on that phrase was better than for the “benefits” of the product, or for numerous other phrases in the constellation.
But you know what will really tick searchers off? If they wanted something in wafers or a lozenge, and you give them a powder or a capsule. That’s when you’ll really feel the wrath of the searcher, in the form of poor ROI, high bounce rates, and other bone-chilling forms of the silent treatment.
Searchers are real sticklers for relevance nowadays, evidently. But not, it seems, about the threat/allure of going out in a blaze of glory.