Recently, a marketer's tweet made a bold statement.
He said he's becoming more and more skeptical of the advice to sell benefits over features. Granted, he makes a couple of great points as to why this is: benefits lengthen copy unnecessarily, make it harder for the information to parse, and is more abstract.
One copywriter agreed, “Don't be an obtuse dill-hole writing a bunch of navel-gazing clever copy for literary high-fives.”
I agree to that, too, but let's keep this in mind.
The original tweet was from a SaaS founder and software marketer. He may be more of a driver or analytical type. In fact, in some of his replies, it's quite apparent that he is a driver, a bottom-line, get-to-the-point type of person.
A driver is one of the four buyer personality types: drivers, analyticals, expressives, and amiables. If he is a driver, it doesn't mean he doesn't want benefits. He's looking driver-centric benefits. Benefits presented in a different way.
The issue was a marketing message-to-market mismatch.
For example, the benefit of sports car for, say, an expressive may be to flaunt her success or for the prestige of ownership. But to a driver, it may be how it can be a good investment or resell is easier than most used cars.
Show the benefits for an expressive to a driver, and you'll bore her to tears, drive her away (pun intended), or create undue hostility toward the copy/product.
It's even worse when you show all the benefits to all personality types. As the saying goes, “When you try to be all things to all people, you won't appeal to anyone.”
That's why it's key to create buyer avatars or personas before writing your copy. You want to know who, exactly, are you writing to.
We all have different personalities. Our personality style infuses everything we do, hear, say, and think.
- The way we communicate with others reflects a predominant style.
- We tend to manage and work with others using a predominant style.
- How we make purchasing decisions is based on a personality style.
What interests me most as a marketing consultant (as it should you) is that our marketing should appeal to the market we're targeting and their predominant style.
Understanding our market's main personality type — and learning how to market to, communicate with, and sell to our market in a way that appeals to their personality type — can dramatically improve your chances of success.
As a driver, the software-business owner mentioned earlier has an impatient, bottomline-driven type of personality. Thus, emotional, benefit-laden copy is seemingly long, distracting, and irrelevant to him.
“Irrelevant” is the keyword, here.
Since drivers want results, he wants and will respond more favorably to results-driven benefits. Things like speed, key functions, ROI, etc. He also prefers a marketing approach that caters to his personality style. Long copy may not be his thing.
If he was an expressive, though, he'd be more interested in awards, case studies, reviews, etc. If he was an analytical, he'd be looking for facts, figures, statistics, etc. If he was an amiable, he'd care more for anecdotes, trust markers, social proof, etc.
I think you get the picture.
Ultimately, padding your copy with unnecessary drivel — or so it would seem to a mismatched personality style — will work against you.
So how do you market to a predominant personality style?
1. Detach from your market.
You are not your market. You might think you know your market but often make erroneous assumptions about them. You may even conduct your own research, but your findings are often skewed because of an unconscious or implicit bias.
2. Do your market research.
Determine what are their demographics and psychographics (interests and behavioral traits). Your particular industry will cater mostly to a certain style — or better still, the industry of your market will consist of one style more than another.
3. Learn about their problems.
Not the problems you help alleviate but how they talk about their problems. Each style discusses them in a different way. Lurk in forums or on social media. Join discussion groups frequented by your target market. Ask questions and see how they respond.
4. Develop a buyer persona.
It's a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer. That persona should drive everything you do. Tailor all your communications based on that customer. You should even package and productize your services according to that persona, too.
5. Target that one person only.
Focus on that core market. Create an entire marketing strategy that revolves around and appeals to that core buyer. If you've done your research, you will likely uncover through which marketing channels your efforts will be most productive. And profitable.
If your market falls into more than one personality type, try sticking with the biggest or most productive one (i.e., the easiest one to reach and attract).
But if you must, create distinct marketing funnels with separate landing pages, sales copy, and ad campaigns targeting each style.
There's tremendous power in niching down. This is no different than narrowing your focus, and going deep rather than wide. But in this case, along with going after a specific vertical, you're selling to your market's personality type.
Here's the final point.
Catering to a predominant personality style will not only sell more clients. You will also create better clients. More loyal, higher value clients, too.
You will also naturally generate more word-of-mouth, too, because we all like to keep company with and brag about our experiences to likeminded people.
People who will likely share the same personality traits as us.