Finding the Right Message for Your Invention

You have a brilliant, amazing, life changing invention (or at least one that will reduce frustration a little bit or make life more fun). How do you tell people about it? You have a fraction of a second to grab attention, maybe two seconds to engage someone to start paying attention and maybe 10-30 seconds to hold attention and convert them into action, like buying or giving up an email address. With all of the advances in measuring and following consumer behavior over the past 20 years you'd think that marketing had become easier, that there's an easy formula. I'm here to tell you that there is not. There's a simple formula, but not an easy one.

Compare these two images for Maxell Tape (audio tape was a thing in the days before CDs and the Internet):





Image #2 is one of the greatest advertising images in the history of advertising. It doesn't even show the product! It's a classic example of selling the sizzle not the steak. As an inventor you naturally think in terms of image #1. But to get your message across, to get people interested in your invention, you need something more like image #2. How do you you come up with an image like that?

The simple but hard answer is to pick away at finding the right message/image by testing, testing, testing. Create ads, create landing pages, make small ad buys and see what works. As you find things that seem to work, drill down on them.

Two days ago I had a eureka moment for marketing a new product... I came up with a catchy name (it really grabs you) and a memorable, funny, iconic image that captures what the product does in the blink of an eye. It was a rare moment. There are products I've been working on for 25 years that are still waiting for that flash of inspiration. When inspiration doesn't strike (it rarely does) you gotta test, test, test and then test some more. Keep throwing spaghetti to see what sticks to the wall and when when you find a strand that sticks go to using that brand of spaghetti exclusively and keep on testing.
- Mike

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