Let’s commit some sacrilege.
First, let’s pay homage.
Eugene Schwartz’s book Breakthrough Advertising is UNPARALLELED in its insights into modern marketing.
If you don’t have it, if you haven’t read it yet, you’re committing a grave sin of advertising and marketing malpractice. It’d be like practicing medicine without going to med school. It’s required curriculum.
And while the whole thing is PACKED (sometimes thickly-so) with valuable insight, there’s one section that I and others constantly refer to as providing the biggest breakthroughs among breakthroughs.
That is: the market awareness model.
All markets, Schwartz teaches, have phases of awareness. And each phase of awareness requires a different approach to connect with prospects and move them to respond to your advertising.
The phases, as I most often refer to them (and with a hat tip to Keith Krance and his UPSYD model) are:
— Unaware: They are potential prospects for your offer but don’t have any awareness on the market, the solution you provide, or even the need or problem you solve.
— Problem-Aware: They are aware that they have a need, desire to be fulfilled, or problem to be solved, and are looking for a solution.
— Solution-Aware: They have looked at solutions to their problem but haven’t decided what the best possible solution is.
— You-Aware: They’re not only aware of solutions, but they are aware of you or your business as a legitimate provider of at least one good solution.
— Deal-Ready: They’re the most aware prospects, ready-to-buy, just looking for the right opportunity or impetus to move forward.
I’d be speaking out of turn if I told you there was even one thing inaccurate about this model…
Fundamentally, this is the exact phases that a market goes through.
Not only that, I’ve regularly been teaching this as the phases of awareness that EACH BUYER goes through, on their path to the purchasing decision.
That is, any buyer that is coming into a market starts at unaware, becomes problem-aware, then does some research to become solution-aware, then gets to know you, and finally looks for the right deal to move forward.
If you think about this micro-level awareness spectrum, you have a great framework for how you might structure funnels, retargeting campaigns, and the like — to move your buyer through the journey from wherever they’re at to going deep with you and your offer.
So far I’ve basically been singing Schwartz’s praises. So what gives?
What’s wrong with the Breakthrough Advertising model?
Well, let’s consider that there are actually two types of markets.
The first is pretty much 100% represented by everything I’ve just told you about above.
The second? It turns out there’s a brand new consideration, a new dimension to the model. And the world’s best copywriters have discovered that you MUST travel into this new dimension if you want to have any hope of creating truly breakthrough advertising today.
The first market is a transitory market. That is, a market that comes and goes in time, or in a prospect’s life. Getting new tires for your car, or getting a new car itself might qualify. Or dealing with a new tax law. Or so many other situations that involve the vast majority of purchases we make.
We are going along through life, blissfully unaware. Then something happens where we are made aware of a present situation that’s different from an ideal future. That’s our problem. When the agitation of that problem becomes acute enough, we research and start considering solutions, eventually landing on a provider we like. Then, we look for the right opportunity to buy, and we do. Then, we go on with our life, problem solved.
The second type of market that doesn’t really factor into Schwartz’s model is a perpetual market. The two biggest of these are wealth and health. It’s no accident that these are also the two biggest direct response markets, and the two markets where the world’s richest, most-skilled copywriters play. A perpetual market is one where even when you purchase a product, the underlying need never really goes away — and so you’re instantly in the market for more, and more, and more.
Let’s take investing for example. One of the top segments of the wealth market. At one point you were unaware of the need to make investing decisions, and then you started putting away some money. Then, it got to a point where you thought you ought to do something to make it grow. So you start looking into investment options. You pick one, and make an investment.
And then what happens? The market moves. You made some money, or lost some. But the need didn’t really go away — that is, unless you lost it all. Rather, once you’ve scratched that itch, it just keeps itching. You will never say, “Oh, I don’t need to do anything with my money.” So you’re always looking for options.
(Same thing with health: we’re all on the [hopefully long, slow] path to the grave. Memento Mori. But we’re constantly fighting that fact. Constantly trying to be as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. It’s a problem that gets more or less attention from day to day, but it never goes away.)
There’s a new phase of awareness that emerges in a perpetual market…
You see, marketers long-ago realized the lucre available in a perpetual market. When someone has shown a willingness to buy solutions for a problem that can never be fully solved, it probably means they will never fully stop buying.
Sure, they may bounce from competitor to competitor to competitor within the market — we do all have fleeting attention spans, after all.
And yet, once someone’s interest in that category has been turned on, it has the potential to last as long as they do.
And yet, give them enough time in the market, and the traditional awareness model breaks.
The standard model suggests you have to walk someone through the phases of awareness, starting from where they are up until they are fully aware and buy, in order to make the sale.
So if they’re fully aware of you as a great provider of a solution and even know your product, you may just have to offer a deal to convert them.
(Think consumable goods — such as paper towels — which largely just need an offer to sell them.)
But in a perpetual market, there’s something else that happens.
Your market becomes hyper-aware — then jaded…
They’ve been there, done that, seen it all, and don’t believe you anymore.
They’ve believed all the promises of their problem, solved. And yet here they are today, still facing the same challenge.
In the investment market, they’ve subscribed to dozens of stock newsletters, and still don’t have all the riches they could ever want for retirement.
And because they were on all those buyers lists, they’ve seen every pitch, too.
These are your most aware prospects — but if you simply “make an offer” as you might if you were selling paper towels, you lose.
Nobody buys on the promise of, “Tech stock newsletter, $99 per year.”
It doesn’t work.
So: how do you sell to the jaded members of your market who are — importantly — still looking for that solution to their problem?
In short, you start at the beginning.
You have to treat them like an UNAWARE market.
Suddenly, you’re no longer talking about investment newsletters. You’re telling stories, and capturing their imagination. You’re identifying the needs or problems that come out of those stories. Then, you’re presenting solutions. You’re reintroducing yourself as a provider of that solution. And you’re making a compelling offer.
In a bit of an enigma, the way to treat hyper-aware prospects is as-if they are unaware and don’t care about you, your product, or your offer at all.
That’s how breakthroughs are created in the biggest markets today.
Want to work with me 1-on-1 to learn to create more breakthroughs? Click here.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,