MarketingSherpa Podcast

MarketingSherpa Podcast


What do you lead with? (MarketingSherpa Podcast Episode #4)

February 12, 2019

Customer attention is a scarce resource. There is only space for one headline in the print ad, only a set amount of characters in a paid search ad, only six opening seconds of your TV commercial. And yet, your product likely has many value attributes. So what do you lead with?

These are topics Austin McCraw and Daniel Burstein dove into.

2:16 – Journalism is an industry that does a great job of focusing on what to lead with. So before the polar vortex (which, incidentally enough was so bitterly cold, it forced Austin to reschedule an in-person team training about web optimization at a marketing agency in Milwaukee), I used this example of a headline I read in USA Today: “It’s so cold that you shouldn’t talk much — or breathe.” There were many elements in the story about the cold, but that headline did a good job of leading with an attention grabber that pulled readers in and told the story.

3:51 – Who they are (in other words, who is receiving the marketing message) has a huge impact on what you lead with. Different segments/personas/people will find different elements of your value appealing.

5:13 – Where your customer is in their thought sequence and customer journey also has a big impact on what you lead with.

7:34 – We discuss an experiment where the company tested leading with the primary value prop versus a process-level value proposition.

9:48 – Keep in mind, we’re discussing what you lead with, which doesn’t have to be the entire story. Sometimes we marketers can be like little kids who are so excited when our parents come home, we want to tell them everything at once. We have to determine what to lead with but also how we sequence that value to them over time — and in a way they can process and will care about it.

10:26 – An experiment where the company led with too much

10:46 – Austin says “whole lotta leads.” Reminded me of a Led Zeppelin song.

12:10 – Discussing lead quantity vs. lead quality

13:44 – Discussing that old canard about keeping the call-to-action above the fold

14:07 – “… this was an organization that was, uh … I don’t know how you describe it Dan, an organization …”

14:19 – Quick pause here while Austin took some time to remember the industry of a company that we ran the experiment with. I take the time to mention the value proposition development on-demand certification course where you can learn much more about value identification and communication

15:18 – Interesting test of long copy versus short copy on a landing page. Gets to that core element of “how much do you need to tell your customer at once before they act?” No one right answer here. It depends on how big of a decision is involved in the next action you expect customers to take, and also how much cost (including friction and anxiety) is required of customers to take that action.

17:38 – We talk about what to lead with in PPC advertising as well — for the headline and the whole ad — a place where you just have a few characters to get across value. We debate whether the entire conversion heuristic applies to a PPC ad, or whether only the process-level value proposition does. And if you listen to the podcast, you’ll see why we’re both right on some levels. In this context, we also discuss the article How to create winning ad copy using a scientific approach, in which Purna Virji of Microsoft applies the MECLABS Conversion Sequence Heuristic to PPC ads.

22:55 – Deciding what to lead with isn’t only a copy-focused activity. We discuss how savvy marketers decide what they’re going to lead with even in logos and other visual elements of branding.

26:07 – What a company should be is just a big ‘ol value creation machine. And it’s the marketers’ job to help focus that value creation then channel it in the mo...