Advertisers should ask: Where’s the pain?

Advertising a laundry list of product features doesn’t tell the prospective customer how the product or service being advertised can fix a problem he or she is having. So smart advertisers always ask, “Where’s the pain?”

Are you underwater on your mortgage? Do you have migraine headaches? Is your dog getting fleas all over your house? These are pains a product or service might solve.

tacoIt doesn’t always have to be a major pain. One of the smartest new products I’ve seen is the taco shell with a flat bottom. It lets you stand the taco up on the plate while you add the fillings. And if you put it down to take a drink of water, it won’t fall over and spill meat and lettuce all over the table, chairs and floor.

Where’s the pain? For the mom, it’s having to clean up after her kids on taco night. The flat-bottomed shells eliminate most of the mess. A time-saver, a tension-tamer, a neater way to eat tacos, wow! Why did no one think of this before? Maybe because nobody bothered to ask, “Where’s the pain?” for the consumer (the mom, who usually does the grocery shopping).

Pain relief in taco shell form. Brilliant! So it’s not just advertising that makes the sale; it’s also a smart new product idea. But the bottom line, for manufacturers and creators of advertising, is the same: Where’s the pain? and how can we make it go away? If you can answer those two questions and follow up to create a product or message customers see as some kind of salvation, you’re in business. Otherwise, you’re just a me-too. And nobody wants to be that.

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