“If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all.” – Leo Burnett
Take an ad you’re currently running and compare it to a positive online review for the same product. Is there daylight between how you’re selling the product and the way your most avid consumer experiences it? If your ads are successful, chances are that you’ve figured out how to see the product or service from the consumer’s perspective. And seeing through a customer’s eyes can take a contextually meaningless product feature and build it into the force that awakens the customer’s latent desire to buy whatever it is that you’re selling.

Why state a benefit about your product…

“People who sleep on Joe’s mattress experience a great night of sleep, every night!”
When you can relate to them about their specific situation?

“What’s the chance you’ll get a deep, uninterrupted, completely satisfying sleep tonight?”
Consumers are generally apathetic by default, even if what your selling might benefit them greatly. Successful advertising happens when marketers are able to enter an internal conversation the consumer is already having. At Wingman Advertising, we market considered purchases for the home. Nearly every word of homeowner-focused copy we write must abide by this basic, but often-neglected advertising axiom:

“Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn.”
It’s not easy. We hear bad advertising every day and sometimes it’s hard to avoid the knee-jerk reaction to perpetuate it. Bad advertising insists: “Surely, the more benefits we can stack on top of each other in a 60-second radio ad, the more people will be convinced to buy it. If they don’t love our grass seed’s Nutri-Start micronutrients then for sure they’ll love its ALL-VANTAGE coating system.” Everyone masters the art of tuning out advertising by the age of three. Consumers need the “what’s in it for me” to exist in their world and told from their perspective. Then, just maybe, they’ll pay attention.

Copywriters must ask: what desires will our product satiate? The commercial should focus on these desires rather than the product. Our homeowner/potential grass-seed consumer is staring at a large dry spot on their lawn and thinking, “How do I fill this with plush grass so the kids and the dog have somewhere to play?” They’re never thinking, “Gee, I need Turbo Turf 3000 with GrowGEL XLZ.”

Quick tips to find the customer’s perspective:

Avoid laundry listing your product benefits
Incorporate your product into the homeowner’s story
Trash complicated brand terms in favor of benefit-driven descriptions
Let your audience test-drive the product in the spot
Use second-person (“you”) perspective
Meet the consumer in her world
Now, that’s the easy part. The hard part is finding someone with brown lawn.