Hard Sell, Soft Sell

A consultation meeting during a recent project raised an intriguing dilemma – both for the client AND the copywriter.

Here’s what happened.

This was a relatively new business, growing through its association with a much larger “umbrella” company. The young buck wanted to talk numbers and “hard sell” on the numbers. The representative from the umbrella company was keen to take a softer approach, more in line with the overall brand image.

That created a dilemma for the client, their partner and their team. What approach did they want with their marketing? Go hard and aggressive and risk being out of tune with the wider brand’s nature OR the softer line (which could make their offering less compelling)?

For the longer term, it’s a question the business leaders would have to discuss amongst themselves.

And get agreed clarity… so they end up with a consistent approach.

Without that, future marketing would be difficult to plan, manage and execute.

So, what about the copywriter’s dilemma?

Well, sometimes a client will want YOU to make decisions about marketing. They’ll ask you about strategy.

Here, the question was what to do with the current campaign.

Sell it on the “money” angle – with specific figures – or sell it on “possibility” with a subtle nod towards “money” in the background?

What did I do?

I created copy that “sold” BOTH angles.

The headline was strong (with a twist that delivered both the elements of surprise and curiosity, together with a hint of humour)

The specifics around money were pushed down into the main body of the copy.

Not hidden. Clearly visible.

Yet surrounded by copy which gave the “claim” appropriate credibility.

Strong and subtle at the same time.

The client and his partner liked it.

Whether I judged it right with the copy only time will tell.

The important thing was to come up with a (creative) solution when working with people with different perspectives.

Sometimes you’ll go with the hard sell.

Sometimes you’ll go with the soft sell.

Sometimes you’ll find a way to go with both.

Whatever way you choose make sure you test it.

Above all, it’s the results that count.

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