Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Marketing is Not About Making Claims; it’s About Fostering Conclusions

Imagine for a moment you are in the 10-items-or-less line at the grocery store. There is a man in front of you getting rung up. He’s wearing sunglasses and a suit. You note amusingly to yourself that he must be especially sensitive to fluorescent light. He’s talking loudly on the phone while the clerk patiently scans his only items: 11 huge containers of protein.

“I’m a closer Frank — it’s what I do,” he gabs into his late-model iPhone Plus. “I’m the best in this city. Believe me. You’ve never seen a closer as good as me, Frank. Frank? You there Frank? Yeah, did you hear what I said Frank? I’m a closer!”

Once the clerk is done ringing him up, he pays, mouths “thank you” and plops a glossy, white business card on the counter. Looking from the clerk to you he points to the card, shoots both of you a thumbs up, gathers his protein into his cart, and walks out the door continuing his deafening conversation with Frank.

His card features a typical real estate logo and a glamor shot of his bust without sunglasses. Though, you do make another half-amusing note-to-self that he is wearing the same tie.

Why Marketers are Just Like Frank’s Photophobic Associate

I took a while painting that picture for you because — every day — marketers do the same thing as Frank’s photophobic associate. We make wild claims about ourselves and expect people to be impressed. When, really, all we’re doing is helping them conclude that we’re not the kind of company they would want to do business with.

The worst part is that a business usually exists in the marketplace because they DO have real value to offer customers. But most of us don’t know how to communicate that to our customers effectively.

When we can get it right, however, and rather than make claims, foster conclusions in the mind of the customer, the results can be powerful.

Take this MECLABS certified experiment recently run with a single-product nutrition company.

Experiment: Background

Test Protocol: TP1798

Experiment ID: Protected

Location: MECLABS Research Library

Background: A single-product company that sells high-quality, all-natural powdered health drinks

Goal:  To increase order conversion

Primary Research Question: Which of the following pages will produce the highest conversion rate?

Approach: A/B multi-factorial split test

Experiment: Control















Now, take a moment to look at the Control in this test. Before you read any further, it might help you understand what I’m talking about better if you try to identify any photophobic-guy-like claims in the page copy.

Now, they aren’t as dramatic as our opening character, but they are there.

  • Boost Your Energy and Metabolism
  • Improve Digestion and Gastrointestinal Function
  • Detoxify and Alkalize Your Body at a Cellular Level
  • Save Time and Money
  • Limited Offer! Act Now!

There’s more, but let’s just focus on these for a second. It seems at face value to be good copywriting. The words are well-chosen, interesting, and they have a kind of energy to them. But at their heart, they are just bragging.

As a result, the conclusions in the mind of the customer who might be reading this page must be couched in a kind of suspension of disbelief if they are to continue. Maybe the people who buy already know the company is trustworthy so they go on to fill out the form and purchase.

But what about the people unfamiliar with the company? To them, this is just another fad super-food that claims it’s the best. There’s no evidence, no logical argument, no facts to back up what they are saying.

But now, consider the Treatment in this experiment as a contrast.

Experiment: Treatment
















In the Treatment, we change a little bit of the copy, but we achieve an entirely different result in the mind of the customer. The copy has changed to focus not on claims, but rather facts, which, in turn, foster the overall conclusion that this is an excellent product and worth paying for.

  • Made from 75 whole food sourced ingredients in their natural form
  • Contains probiotics and enzymes for optimal nutrient absorption and digestion
  • Carefully formulated by doctors and nutritionists to deliver essential nutrients
  • 10+ years of research to develop an easy to mix powder with naturally sweet taste

What’s the result?

Experiment: Results

The result is a 34% increase in conversion. And for an ecommerce product like this one, that translates to pure revenue.

Foster Conclusions, Don’t Make Claims, Make More Money

In the end, people are still people. We are mostly reasonable. We hear arguments and we can change our minds. But when we hear someone making braggadocios claims, rather than trying to rationally win us over, we are naturally repulsed. Your customers are the same way. And when we foster the right conclusions in their mind about us using facts, data, and tangible evidence, we will inevitably feel better about our marketing, and make more money in the process.

You Might Also Like:

The Prospect’s Reality Gap

The Web as a Living Laboratory

Brand: The aggregate experience of the value proposition

The Boston Globe: Discovering and optimizing a value proposition for content

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