Over time, there have emerged “tried and tested” marketing strategies that have withstood the test of time. There are many legendary individuals, who have contributed much through the years, but I would like to refer to an individual that has personally helped me in forming the foundation of my marketing strategies.
John Caples. Died in 1990, at the age of 90. In my book, he is the best when it comes to direct marketing. Through years of improvement, he developed a three-step process to creating successful ads which produced favorable results. In his book, “Tested Advertising Methods,” and revised by Fred E. Hahn, those steps are outlined below:
Caples’ Three-Step Approach to Creativity
- Capture the prospect’s attention. Nothing happens unless something in your ad, your mailing, or your commercial makes the prospect stop long enough to pay attention to what you say next.
- Maintain the prospect’s interest. Keep the ad, mailing, or commercial focused on the prospect, on what he or she will get out of using your product or service.
- Move the prospect to favorable action. Unless enough “prospects” are transformed into “customers,” your ad has failed, no matter how creative.
John Caples also pioneered the concept of testing your advertising, allowing the response of your prospects to determine the success of your ad. Caples’ developed a three-step approach to testing:
Caples’ Three-step approach to testing
- Accept nothing as true about what works best in advertising until it has been objectively—what Caples called “scientifically”—tested.
- Build upon everything you learn from testing to create an ever-stronger system that you return to with each new project. (Even a slow learner should not have to invent the wheel more than twice.)
- Treat every ad as an ongoing test of what has been learned before. When something new works better—or something old stops working—be ready to admit you were wrong about what you thought you “knew.” But don’t just accept it. Find out why and apply it the next time.
A way of putting this is the LALALALAL…rule: