Marketers still fail to understand what Claude C. Hopkins had said

Even after hundred years advertisers and marketers still didn't understand what Claude C. Hopkins had said

1. Advertising is salesmanship

The one purpose of advertising is to make sales.

In the world of AI copy, cheap marketing software, and other sophisticated marketing tools, our obsession with making things visually appealing hasn't waned. As a result, many marketers opt for the easiest option of bombarding their customers, rather than conducting in-depth research on why people buy Certain products (Jobs-to-be-done).

Due to this laziness, they not only waste advertising dollars but also harm their chances of acquiring clients. In the modern world, true salesmanship lies in understanding the holistic perspective of a business.

Note: Likes, shares, and followers may not yield substantial benefits; yet, firms continue to persistently pursue them.

2. People are selfish

Marketers continue to push their messages in a rational form across all mediums, hoping to make sales. However, here's the number one reason why it's not working:

Sustainable companies worldwide still believe that their products being good for the environment will drive people to rush to the stores to buy them, instead of opting for cheaper alternatives available in the market. But what they fail to understand is that no amount of rationality will motivate people to open their wallets until they are emotionally moved. This doesn't mean that people are solely driven by emotions during the purchasing journey, but it's important to recognize that they are both risk-averse and risk-seeking before making a purchase.

So, the key is to ask: What's in it for them?

Note: The best ads don't demand people to buy. Instead, they provide desired information and highlight the advantages to users.

3. Use Headlines to Reach Your Audience

Most of the headlines we see in ads are self-centric and do not directly resonate with their ideal customers. Marketers need to understand that in a single day, people are exposed to over 1,000 headlines. To reach your target audience, you must be precise and direct.

An example of a terrible headline for an ad:

In October 2020, PureGym Luton and Dunstable shared a workout on their Facebook page titled '12 Years A Slave'. Not only was the name insensitive, but it was also combined with the line 'Slavery was hard and so is this'."

Note: It's important to ensure that your headlines are tailored to your target audience and avoid any insensitive or inappropriate content.

4. Understand customer psychology

Simply observe Twitter and LinkedIn direct messages, and you'll realize that people haven't made any effort to understand the true motivations of the individuals they are messaging. While trying to understand the psychology of every single person is challenging, but when you make an attempt to understand it, you'll be surprised to learn that you can effectively address their struggles or motivations.

For example, if you're selling the safest car, your ad must speak about how a father has to take care of his daughter or how he has taken care of her since childhood. It should emphasize why buying the safest car gives him a sigh of relief when she returns home in it.

Note: Her father doesn't just need a car; he cares about the safety of his daughter.

5. Be Specific

Companies that serve specific audiences often still write ads that target the general audience. If you aim to assist people in investing in real estate properties, you need to address your location and target high-income earners within that location to maximize your chances of reaching the right buyers.

For example, consider writing an ad like, “How doctors in Ohio can buy real estate with no money down.”


if you're selling condos to aging parents who are considering a move to a new house, you can write,

Don't worry about your lifetime belongings when moving to a new house, thanks to our storage facility conveniently located across the street”

Note: When your ad is specific, it creates a sense of curiosity and urgency among people, compelling them to visit your website or make a phone call to learn more about your offerings.

6. Tell a Complete Story

Story Most ads are quick to jump into the benefits and features of their products, which is a common problem in today's advertising landscape. This often happens because many marketers haven't fully understood the jobs customers need to be done in specific circumstances.

For example, let's consider why people want to buy a mattress when they already have one. There could be several reasons:

  1. They are experiencing sleeping problems and are seeking a solution.

  2. They have moved to a bigger house to accommodate their growing family.

  3. Their existing mattress is old and in need of repair or replacement.

Note: Create a separate story for each circumstance and develop an ad that addresses the specific needs and motivations of customers in those situations.

7. Use Pictures as a selling point

There are two common mistakes we see in advertising today:

  1. Highlighting the type of products and benefits through pictures often makes it boring and fails to grab the attention of your customers.

  2. Creating artistic pictures solely to entertain the audience.

Your ads should never appear boring or solely for entertainment purposes. Instead, they should effectively clarify the reasons to buy. Therefore, use pictures wisely to clearly convey their situation and engage the audience.

Example of Casper Ads:

8. Never try to change their behavior

Marketers often believe that they understand psychology better than anyone else, leading them to focus on changing their customers' behavior through ads.

However, the truth is that changing behavior is not only a monumental task but also quickly depletes your advertising budget. 

Instead, try to align with your customers' problems.

Here's an example of a biodegradable phone case that addresses the issue of plastic cases directly:

"One billion people have realized it's not just one plastic case."

9. Carry out deep research

If you think advertising and  marketing is all about stuffing words around a product, think again.

“we really need to care about the people we are designing for, understand what their dreams and desires and priorities are, and then we have to use that understanding as the driving force of the work we put forward, because the second we know what questions … are important, then all we have to do is answer them.

Bernadette Jiwa

Note: Many innovations fail in the market because their creators fail to think like marketers.

10. You need a strategy

Your marketing strategy should not merely mimic your company's vision and mission statement. Nowadays, many companies attempt to copy ads and rephrase them for advertising purposes.

However, it is important to remember that developing an effective ad strategy requires skill and knowledge. Your strategy should encompass all the necessary elements to increase your profits.

  1. Focus on your customer's circumstances: Emphasize your value proposition by understanding the specific situations in which customers are more likely to buy your products.

  2. Create compelling messages for different circumstances: Keep in mind that one product may be purchased by different people for various reasons. Tailor your messaging accordingly.

  3. Determine effective delivery channels: Choose where to advertise based on the target audience's preferences and behaviors.

For example, when promoting scuba diving, don't limit your consideration to platforms that exclusively cater to diving enthusiasts. Expand your reach by including websites related to honeymoons, adventure sports, Airbnb Experiences, and more.

  1. Select platforms wisely: Instead of dispersing your efforts across all platforms, concentrate on the ones where you can find your target audience and maximize your impact.

For example, if you are selling eco socks, it is more effective to run ads on Google (Search ads) ,Instagram rather than Twitter.

11. Use samples

The product itself should be its own best salesman. It's not just the product alone but also the product combined with a mental impression and atmosphere that you create around it.

By providing samples, you allow customers to experience the product firsthand

Here’s an ad from Casper:

12. Make Yourself Stand Out

Words alone will never make you stand it. Find a way to make your product stand out

"A scuba-diving shop chain failed to flourish when it promoted its diving lessons and products to a specific demographic, largely those who subscribed to scuba diving publications and resided in ZIP codes near its stores.

However, when the company decided to investigate the circumstances under which customers decided to enroll in its scuba classes, it discovered that many of them were engaged couples planning wedding trips to tropical destinations.

This finding suggested that the company should purchase mailing lists from bridal magazines instead of Diva magazine."

13. Negative advertising is bad

"That's a trend now—using fear to boost sales. Here's the backlash for an ad from an insurance company, Policy Bazaar.

"Show the bright site, the happy and attractive side, not the dark and uninviting side of things.

14. A name that helps

Snapchat: Share Moments That Disappear"

Netflix: Stream Your Favorites Anytime, Anywhere"

Amazon Kindle: Carry Your Library in Your Pocket"

AirPods: Wireless Freedom, Effortless Sound"

“The most powerful brand names connect with people and move them to buy because they are based on familiar words and concepts that they understand and appreciate”

― Alexandra Watkins, Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick

By embracing Hopkins' principles and avoiding common marketing mistakes, businesses can create impactful campaigns that truly connect with their customers and drive sales.