Elevator Speeches That Sell Better

When in 1961 Rosser Reeves published the inner workings of the unique selling proposition [U.S.P.], he changed the way we market our products and services by showing us how to link up 'unique', 'selling' and 'call to action' in a clear message.


From his modest beginnings as a staff copywriter in the early '40s, Mr. Reeves went on to become Chairman of the board of Ted Bates & Co, one of the 5 most prestigious ad agencies on Madison Avenue. He knew how to 'move inventory'.


The Unique Selling Proposition


The author of Reality in Advertising articulates the concept of unique selling proposition around 3 key components. In his exact words:

  1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader:"Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit".
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

Source: Reality in Advertising, Rosser Reeves, 1961



Good examples to draw from


Any advertising copy can be filtered through these 3 criteria to measure the strength of the proposition it makes. Exceptional advertising headlines stand on their own as full-blown U.S.Ps.


Each of the following tag lines and headlines have U.S.P. power.


"Stops halitosis!" — Listerine

Immediately emphasizes the main benefit while stressing the uniqueness of the mouthwash by cornering the use of the medical Latin word for 'bad breath'.


"Hot, fresh pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed" — Domino's pizza

Convenience, speed, mouth-watering proposition, originally backed by a solid money-back guarantee.


"When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight" — Fedex

Speed of service very strongly emphasized, fully backed by a solid money-back guarantee.


"It melts in your mouth, not in your hands" — M&Ms

Stresses the one benefit that completely sets apart a product otherwise banal.


"We try harder" — Avis

The market wanted a higher level of service from car rental companies. A distant #3 on the U.S. market, Avis delivered the goods with all its personnel adopting the "try harder" (to please the customer) attitude. Subsequently Avis rose to spot #2.


"Kills bugs dead" — Raid

We dislike bugs. We want them dead. Deader than dead. Raid delivers the benefit in one punchy 3-word tag line, emphasizing it with repetition.


"The Third place between home and work" — Starbucks

Emphasizes a quiet, pleasant space 'in between', where the constraints of work and family do not exist.


"The soap that floats" — Ivory soap, Procter & Gamble

This late 19th century tag line emphasized the uniqueness and convenience of Ivory, a soap bar you didn't have to fish for at the bottom of your murky bathtub water.


"At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock" — Rolls-Royce

Mythical ad emphasizing the exceptional comfort of RR cars. Written by ad legend David Ogilvy.


More on crafting your U.S.P.


A USP is not necessarily a short tag line — Ogilvy's headline for Rolls-Royce counts 15 words. But it always stresses one single promise, a unique benefit that sells to the target market.


Legendary business consultant Jay Abraham expounds on Rosser Reeves's concept by stressing that a benefit does not appeal to all segments of all markets:


"...You will not appeal to everybody. In fact, certain USPs are designed to appeal to only one segment of a market..."


He insists that each business line can have its own U.S.P.:


"...There's no rule that says you can't, by adopting different USPs, develop different businesses or separate divisions of your business..."


Jay Abraham also warns entrepreneurs that a U.S.P. is not just a tag line, but a company-wide attitude and belief.


"All your in-store clerks, telephone staff, receptionists, customer-service people — everyone with any public contact or customer interaction or anyone who makes any decision that impacts your business — must fully understand, embrace and believe in your USP. That passionate belief in your USP must become part of every employee."


Finally, Rosser Reeves explains that a U.S.P. "is not a tight, close structure".


"It may be stated in words... Or a U.S.P. may be put only partly into words... Or, the U.S.P. may be a most fluid combination of words and pictures...

"There are only three criteria:

"Does the advertisement project a proposition? Is it unique? And will it sell?..."


U.S.P. and elevator speech


A few days ago, a fellow marketer shared a video clip published on Forbes.com by Carmine Gallo, the author of a number of best-selling titles including The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs — a marvelous textbook on the Do's and Don't's of Powerpoint and Keynotes presentations.


In this short video, Carmine Gallo offers a simple methodology to build a percussive 15-second elevator speech. His 3-step approach includes:

  1. Writing a Twitter-friendly headline;
  2. Blending 3 reinforcement points within the 140-character headline; and,
  3. Preparing 2-3 extra supporting points for each of the reinforcement points in order to sustain a longer conversation.

As a preamble to applying the technique, you have to know the 'story' behind the product and the company. The video clip can be found at http://onforb.es/Oc1uBN


I thought it would be interesting to blend Carmine Gallo's technique and Rosser Reeves's U.S.P. to produce a more targeted, better-selling elevator speech.


Based on Rosser Reeves's and Jay Abraham's recommendations, it is entirely advisable to create a U.S.P. per product line or department, and specifically targeted for specific market segments.


After all, you don't speak with your banker in the same ways you address a savvy audience in a tech conference or talk to your pals at the local Hell's Angels bar.


Creating multiple U.S.Ps, product by product, target by target, will also enable you to achieve a clearer vision of your general U.S.P.


Here is the resulting infographics. [Links to the downloadable versions can be found beneath the graphics.]


Infographics: Deliver Your Unique Selling Proposition in a 15-Second Elevator Speech

Tell your Unique Selling Proposition in 15 seconds flat

Tell your Unique Selling Proposition in 15 seconds flat
Create an elevator speech that sells well


Download the branded version of this infographics here: http://bit.ly/O0D13N


Download the unbranded version (*) of this infographics here: http://bit.ly/Ns0ATj


(Copyright attribution: If you download and re-publish this unbranded infographics, please insert a hyperlink to www.localranker.com into your article as a kind 'Thanks for your work, Phil'. For your information, the base template for this infographics was created by Piktochart.com and some of the icons were found free of charge on iconspedia.com)


To your success!


Phil Chavanne


Google+ vs. Facebook Fan Pages: Where is Your $$$?

The integration of Zagat reviews in Google+ is a sound strategic move for Google and Zagat, on both sides of the supply-and-demand equation.


It gives Zagat the crowdsourcing capabilities it was missing.

It provides the new 'Google+ Places' with volumes of quality content which sets them ahead of all other social actors in the niche, like Yelp.


More importantly for Google, this move supersizes Google+ to the stature it was still pining for, to make it the #1 SOLOMO network in the world a year after its launch.


For Facebook, heavy weather ahead.

The Zagat conandrum


Zagat is one of the oldest and most respected restaurant guides in the world. An institution, a little brother to the Michelin. The company published paper guides well before they went online, contrary to competitor Yelp.


Because of the print heritage of their publishing house, Zagat has always been picky when selecting their restaurants: they couldn't waste valuable print space to write a bad review. Better not to review the restaurant at all.


Zagat picks good local eateries where guests can predictably enjoy dinner, and rates them on a wide variety of criteria. Zagat's detailed reviews take care of the surprise factor: the dinners' experience is commensurate with their expectations. Restaurant owners (hopefully) take notice of the sore points and correct them. Everybody is happy.


Yelp, on the contrary, grew online from the get-go. They 'crowdsourced' their ratings, allowing any and all to drop reviews on any restaurant with a We're Open sign. Unlike space in a paper guide, online space is low-cost. There is no concern about wasting it over scathing reviews and ugly food. The largest the footprint, the better.


Zagat went online in 1999 and established Zagat.com using their carefully crafted rating system. They simply duplicated online their offline paper-based model. Their financial model is based on subscriptions and guide sales.


With the rise of Web 2.0 sites and the growing popularity of review sites, a selective guide like Zagat couldn't grow as fast as the likes of Yelp. An article published by the NY Times in September 2008 clearly defined the issue.


Zagat reviewers take great pride in crafting detailed reviews, rating a restaurant on many different criteria. Yelpers can slap a review in 2 minutes on their favorite soapbox. Craftsmanship vs. crowdsourcing. Polish cavalry vs. German Panzer divisions. The battle is quickly over. Easy does it; free wins the day.


Though Ms. Zagat insisted her guide was never about rating as many restaurants as possible, it was urgent for her venerable house to mutate to Web 2.0. Google+ offers her this opportunity on a silver tray.


Google+ growing stronger fast


Google launched Google+ as a belated strategic move, partly in response to the explosion of Facebook as THE social network of the first decade of Y2K.


Note: I have no inside sources in Google, so this statement is my own opinion. But Google+ was a me-too product, not a disruptive product in the meaning given by Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm. It is still not a distruptive product but is becoming an 'integrative' product, soon-to-become much more powerful than Facebook.


Though the number of subscribers grew fast, the sheer size of Facebook has so far dwarfed [under the skeptical pens of the pundits] the progress made by Google+ in establishing its user base. Some writers likened G+ to a 'ghost town', others predicted a quick death. If perception is reality, the new social network was stillborn or DOA.


Yet the numbers are impressive: G+ is about a year old and has already reached 170 million subs. Where were FB's numbers after a year of existence?


Be it as may, Google is moving fast to flesh out the 'social' in 'G+ social network'. The rollover of Google Places into Google+ is a brilliant strategic move which, overnight, gives it the stature it was missing. With the integration of Zagat, it dons the respectability of a true publishing house.


Google+ version 1.0



In his insightful digital opus What The Plus!, author-speaker Guy Kawasaki expands on a social media identification model dubbed Social Media Decoder which differentiates G+ from FB, Tweeter and Pinterest. (The illustration proposed by Dan Roam for Mr. Kawasaki's 'Social Media Decoder' is way cool.)


Guy Kawasaki explains that G+ is the social network that links people who didn't know each other prior to connecting around a common passion. Accoding to his classification, this differentiates G+ from Facebook, the 'People' network.


Like product managers at Google, Mr. Kawasaki underlines that since these connections are made and nurtured in the confines of private Circles, a very large section of the conversation that occurs on G+ actually escapes measurement by conventional measures of social engagement. (Hence the 'ghost town' analogy offered by skeptics.)


That was Google+ version 1.0.

Times a-changing.


Seismic change


The merger of Google Places into G+ is an event of seismic proportions involving some 80 million Google Place pages.


For one thing, this move will drastically increase the noise level publicly shared in Google+. Google Places welcomed reviews, and judging by the number of reviews directly submitted to Google and published on Places, they have already earned their golden gloves in the heavyweight soapbox category.


People love the limelight and the 15 minutes of fame: they won't restrict their sharing. No no no. They will go as public, as loud as they can. No Family Circle, there. Only the Public Circle will do...


But wait, there is more!


The new Google+ Places will soon enable consumers to open discussions directly with business owners in Google+ Places, the way Facebook 'Wall' works. Heavy volumes of conversation in the making, guaranteed.


The resulting increased noise shared publicly on G+ will foster the perception that G+ is not just a big social network among other giants, but the 'SOLOMO network' (SOcial-LOcal-MObile) of the next decade, with a money-critical local component.


Just what the good doctor needed to order.


Zagat and Google+ to benefit


As far as Zagat is concerned, the future looks bright. They needed the massive amount of traffic Google+ will bring them. Yelp's over-bearing footprint in the restaurant scene won't be an issue anymore. Zagat's financial future is secured, whichever way the sales of paper guides go.


Rather, the issue for the Zagat House may become how they will protect the quality of their brand now that 150+ million reviewers can write Zagat-type reviews and publish them on G+ graced with the Zagat moniker. A sweet problem, perhaps.


For Google+, the integration of Google Places is a numbers game. Hundreds of millions of users searching Google 3 billions of times per day will get used to seeing the '+1' and 'G+' icons everywhere on their favorite search engine. The GMail users who haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet will now start using their G+ account to share their local-centric opinions.


This takes care of the demand side of the data equation.


On the supply side, business owners know where money belongs. Google Search, Google Adwords and Google Places have all the credentials they need as money makers and traffic drivers. When demand exist, a market gets organized and suppliers start touting their goods. Google Places are already populated with business content. The trend will continue with Google+ Places. 


As soon as Google+ Places allows consumers to address directly business owners on Place+ pages, the former will engage the conversation and the latter will respond because of the primary piece of real-estate that a Place+ page represent. The foot traffic is there already, no need to do anything special to create it! Location, location, location.


When 50% of local searches are conducted from a smart device and lead directly to a Google Map, you don't leave your Google Place page empty when people start commenting on you and ask you questions. You are on your computer every day, responding to the demand and participating in the conversation. Or you are a fool, soon to be put out of business. 


Facebook net loser  


Business owners know that time is a precious commodity, especially in tough economic circumstances where slacking at the wheel is just not affordable anymore. Try to sell anything to any business owner and they will quickly cut to the chase: Don't waste my time. How much will this thing make me, how fast?


Business owners constantly arbitrage their time investments. This is where Facebook draws the short sticks and walks the plank.


Whereas Google is a proven money maker, Facebook has nothing to show for. Zip. Nada. Even General Motors says it, and these guys are known to leak money like sieves.


For the business owner, the choice is clear:

  • Do I spend time tonight ornamenting my Facebook Fan page with cute comments and content that may engage 16% of my 350 Fans... in the hope they not only LIKE it but BUY it (please please pretty please, buy it)? 


  • Do I respond to the comments I received in my G+ Place which will be viewed tonight and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and forever by the thousands of people who search on Google each day specifically for a business like mine? 

Take a wild guess: who wins?



Phil Chavanne


Chinese Prediction True 3,000 Years Later!

A Picture Worth

A Picture Worth
1000 Words


It turns out the Chinese dude who wrote "A picture is worth a thousand words" some 3,000 years ago wasn't actually smoking crack.


A study released in October 2011 by content publisher Skyword shows that articles accompanied with relevant photos/graphics would get 94% more views than the plain-vanilla garden variety of articles.


94% more views. Wow. That should tickle the shutterbug in you, shouldn't it?


But wait, there's more!


We knew from Facebook that pictures created engagement, the Holy Grail of social media marketing. But how fat the increase?


Well, Mashable's Matt Handy wrote last March that a picture will increase engagement by 120% and a photo album... by a whopping 180%!


Kodak Moment! 


Now, does every industry benefit fromthis windfall of page views in the same way? Of couse not!


Here is the interesting graph published by Skyword:


Skyword\s graph showing the impact of pictures

Skyword's graph showing the impact of pictures
by type of industry. Some differences in performance.


For a local business the first column is particularly noteworthy: page views increase by over 80% when business articles contain pictures!


All pictures created equal under God?


In an article published on Mashable by Samantha Murphy in February this year, the 15 most popular pictures found on Pinterest were:

  1. 3 hands of a family: man, woman, baby
  2. A just-married couple kissing in a funny photobooth
  3. A huge bookshelf taking an entire wall, shot from above
  4. Green apples carved to contain cooked apple dices, like apple pies
  5. Wise words, framed
  6. Chocolate chip bacon cookies
  7. Toenails with metallic nail polish
  8. Wise words on love
  9. A landscape with a bench under a tree in autumn
  10. A complex and beautiful braid on a woman's head
  11. A well-appointed walking closet with dozens of pairs of shoes and handbags
  12. A man drawing on a blackboard full of interesting doodles
  13. A cookie with 3D sugar icing that looks like a melting snowman
  14. A woman with a really big wool scarf around her body
  15. A cozy bed nook in a beautiful apartment

Count the numbers of photos in each colored category:


6 photos showing a human or some part of the human body

3 photos showing some interior scene

3 photos of cooked food

2 photos related to intellectual activity

1 photo of Mother Nature


While this is not a scientific study, it nevertheless shows people are strongly inclined to share photos showing humans, human habitat and cooked food (also a human activity).


Of note, most of these photos had dominant white, pink or earthy/golden colors, and all were very well lit, with little or no dark areas.


These observations may guide your hand when you pick a shot from a personal collection or a stock photo library to illustrate a point in your blog or website.


A final note


The phrase "A picture is worth a 1,000 words" was not coined by Confucius or some other Chinese philosopher.


Though its origins are lost in history, author Gary Martin writes that the phrase was introduced in an article published by Frederick  R. Barnard in Printer's Ink, in December 1921. According to Gary, variations of the phrase were common currency in the US in the early part of the 20th century and can even be traced back to the early 19th century.


But Printer's Ink re-published it in 1927 as an alleged Chinese proverb. This version stuck to this day.


Now here's the take. Guess what illustrated these words for posterity? You got it: the picture at the top of this article.



To your success!


Phil Chavanne




Skyword's website

Matt Handy and Samantha Murphy in Mashable

Gary Martin in Phases.Org.UK 


The primary sensory channel solicited on the web is SIGHT. Research shows BIG PHOTOS SELL BEST. Small photos are a legacy of outdated websites.


Use these 5 times to show your products well:


1- Use big photos. Big photos tell the truth better. Visitors don't believe you "just because you say so". Big photos show your products in more details. They make it more difficult to hide little defects. They tell you don't have anything to hide.


Our research work on hundreds of hotel sites showed consistently that bigger photos sell rooms better: they give visitors a clearer idea of what they book (room size, cleanliness, light/darkness level, wear & tear, appointments). 


2- Shoot your products under multiple angles. Multiple shots tell a better story than single shots. Close-ups are good to show details and textures. Multiple photos under multiple angles establish and strengthen credibility. 


Put yourself in the buyer's shoes: if you look for a car on eBay, don't you want to see the details? Aren't you less worried if the listing shows you the car under all angles, all its nooks and crannies?   


3- Warm lights (yellow, orange, red) sell best in most cases. Cold lights don't cast products in a favorable light in most cases. Sky blue, turquoise blue, leaf green, apple green are good for healthy and pure, but the drabby greenish and blueish tones given to a photo by a wrong white balance setting would give an unhealthy look to anything.


Most real-estate photos are prime examples of what not to do: greenish and blueish tones, blaring lights, dark 'Silence-of-the-Lambs' rooms. 


4- Neutral backgrounds allow products to stand out but they can be too bland and unattractive. Rich backgrounds help 'stage' a product but they risk losing it in a sea of details or an ocean of colors. Contrast colors and light, contrast textures. Use a color wheel to find the best color combinations for your product or service.


Try these texture combos: Stone contrasts with glass. Water with sand. Steel with organic material and water. Steam with glass and solids. Fabrics with skin and stone. Plastic with organic material. 


5- Do you sell services? Show before/after photos. Direct marketing professionals have used them for over 70 years. There is a reason for that: strong differences tell the story instantly.


To your success,


Phil Chavanne


Marketing to Hispanics on your website

Though the socio-demographic development of America gave birth to the 'melting pot' concept, a relative lack of understanding of other ethnicities' value systems —deficiency born in social, educational and cultural factors— has long prevented American business owners from advertising to ethnicities with any kind of authenticity.


From the early 80s racial diversity progressively crept in TV, magazine and billboard ads, thereby allowing for a better representation of our minorities. The 'white-only' ads of the 50s, 60s and 70s are no more. Well... Almost.


For all our political correctness, do we effectively market to other ethnicities when we use photos of Asian, African-American or Hispanic women and families in our ads? Surveys tend to say we don't, or not genuinely.


And beyond the social and moral issues that Caucasian-centric advertising raises, there is a question business owners should ask themselves: how much does marketing to minorities mean for my bottom line?


Authenticity of flavor


In my previous career as a translator for the financial services industry, I had plenty of opportunities to meet with a highly interesting species of specialists: the official language interpreters for international organizations. Translating 'live' meetings for thousands of people from all over the globe, these super-skilled specialists have a multitude of professional anecdotes to share.


Simultaneous interpreters translate in real time the address of a speaker into the headphones of the listeners. It is a daunting task: the interpreter has to decide in a split second what words and figures of speech to use to convey the exact meaning of the speaker. The job is so difficult, it takes 5 years to train a world-class interpreter and years of cultural immersion to become really good at it.


When on the job, official interpreters of international meetings routinely challenge their clique to a 'dare' as a way to release tension. Before the start of a keynote speaker's address, all interpreters on the scene gather up and select a specific sentence to insert at the earliest opportunity in the flow of the translation. This sentence is completely off-context, and they have to use it in a way that will seem natural to the audience. The winner is the interpreter who inserts the phrase earliest in the gig in a way it doesn't get noticed.


During one such contest, a delegate from Morocco was addressing an international assembly of government representatives. In the midst of his discourse, there was a sudden rumble in the audience, followed by a loud applause. Gladened by the positive reaction of his colleagues to a predictably boring speech, the Moroccan delegate finished his speech and later asked them what had triggered their cheering.


The interpreter who won the dare that day had inserted the following in his translation: "By the way, I own a herd of camels and I am pleased to invite all of you to my country for a camel ride."


The translation was so natural, it hadn't seem goofy or off-beat to any of the delegates — they reacted naturally well to this most uncommon and congenial offer.


[The interpreters fessed up of course, and explained the 'dare' custom. A warm-hearted and pleasant fellow, the Moroccan delegate took it in stride and confirmed 'his' invitation to all.]


The power of a message stems from its appeal to a specific segment of the population. Genuine and natural, it will strike a chord. False or forced, it will miss its target. Stereotypes and cliches fall in the second category.


Advertising is not made of words


What matters to the white Caucasian isn't what matters to his neighbor, the Latino.


Your yellow pages ad entirely written in English with a discreet 'Se habla espanol' mentioned in the lower right corner isn't likely to attract a crowd of Spanish-speaking clients at your door. If you speak Spanish and intend to help the local Latino population with your services, you ought to make a more decent effort at addressing them.


A fully translated ad would certainly help. Would it be fully adequate? No.


In his well-read book "Another One Bites The Grass", author and international advertising exec Simon Anholt wrote: "Advertising is not made of words, but made of culture."


Colorful gaffes cost dearly


In the last 2006-2007 French presidential race, Socialist candidate Segolene Royal was neck and neck with conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Running on the gender card (she's a woman) and on the Socialist spending-prone agenda, Royal had the lead in the polls before the first round. Her rival was fresh out of a bloody battle with a Centrist candidate who had run a vicious smear campaign and had come out the loser.


All Segolene Royal had to do to bag that election was to consolidate an image sorely lacking in international stature. A rank-and-file Socialist with no prior position and experience in foreign affairs, Royal knew she did not have the stateman-like image of Nicolas Sarkozy, a well-rounded presidential candidate with a long experience of governmment (successively Minister of the Budget, Minister of Finance, and Minister of the Interior).  


In her effort to look like the next President of France, Royal traveled on a unofficial visit to China where she met with some second-tier officials. To drive the nail in her opponent's coffin, she arranged a photo opp on the Great Wall. Her campaign then circulated the photos to the new agencies.


This move sounded the deathknell of her candidacy. Within 48 hours Mrs. Royal's lack of cultural experience had resonated around the world: she had paused on the Great Wall dressed in impeccable white. In China, white is the traditional color of death.


16 percent of your customers


As of April 1, 2010 the Hispanic population of the United States has reached 50.5 million persons or 16.3 percent of the total US population. Hispanics have become the nation's largest ethnic group.


To put this figure in a wider context, only Mexico with 112 million persons has a larger Hispanic population than the US.  California alone is home to 14 million persons of Hispanic descent. 


A State-by-State analysis of the percentage of Hispanics in the regional population shows the following figures:





In April 2010, in Arizona alone, Hispanics accounted for 30 percent of the population. [The side effects of Arizona SB 1070 may have modified this figure since.] 


Can you ignore this market?


Let's imagine for a second that an inside source at the headquarters of your strongest competitor leaks out to your sales staff that his employer has just decided to withdraw from a large niche market on which your own business is the runner-up.


This segment already accounts for 15% of your recurring sales, and your competitor's exit promises to double your market share and propel you to the #1 spot.


Once you get reassurance that your competitor does not have some prospective intelligence that this segment is about to crumble, wouldn't you rejoice at the opportunity you now have to take over market share from your competitor?


The Hispanic market is one such large opportunity, and your own business is missing on it if you don't address it actively in your marketing and sales efforts. You are leaving money on the table and it is vacuum-cleaned by your direct competitors.


Addressing the Hispanic market


A recent study titled "Understanding Multicultural Marketing" was conducted by Yahoo!, Mindshare and Added Value to offer business owners and advertising agencies an insight into what consumers of various ethnic origins (Caucasian, Hispanics, African-American and Asian/Pacific) react to when being marketed to.


This study reveals that Hispanics consider their ethnic identity to be defined by specific factors ('drivers').


In order of importance:

  • Political beliefs
  • Home decor
  • Speech, dialect & slang
  • Ethnic champion
  • Eating habits & preferences
  • Reunions, family and gatherings
Right off the bat, these drivers tell us what should be taken in consideration when we advertise to persons of Hispanic descent.


The study also shows that Hispanics consider that 'ethnicity' (how your advertising speaks directly to them using the drivers above) carries weight in the way they perceive services and products.





The study differentiates among 1st generation Hispanics and later-generation Hispanics (American-born and English-speaking). Both groups do not react in the same way to ethnic clues in advertising. 


As could be expected, progressive integration of minorities into the fabrics of the American society has decreased the desire for 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics to connect and identify with their ethnic roots. The melting pot effect.


But even as integration proceeds, Hispanics of all generations remain sensitive to the way their group is portrayed in the media, and how advertising addresses their specificities.


Some facts and figures


Consider these few figures:




First generation Hispanics have apparently a much more lenient eye than their children and grand-children towards the capability of advertising to address them ethnically.




Diversity is a universal value. All generations of Hispanics agree that the more ethnically diverse an ad, the better.  Avoid addressing your ads to Caucasians only. Or dial back to the 50s.




Add a Latino appeal to your advertising, and your products, services or brand will be noticed better by Hispanics.




Even with the Latino flavor, your advertising do not necessarily connect at a deep level. Are you using cliches? Why don't you consult with your Latino friends before you print your flyer or roll out your website? 




It's unmistakable. Hispanics recognize themselves as Hispanics. Cultural identity is a core value. Advertising plays on emotion. How can you connect at the emotional level if you don't connect culturally?




Pride in their heritage is strong in the Hispanic population. Cliches debase and look down upon. Avoid them, be genuine and respectful.




There you go. Make the effort, you will be appreciated. Especially by first generation Hispanics.


Translating, best of options?


The most common way products are peddled to minorities is to slap an ethnic face on the packaging. But as the statistics show, Hispanics have greater expectations from advertisers. 


It is common practice to translate ads and there are affordable and professional resources online. One of the best resources is proz.com, a site where you can post a task and get bids from translators from around the world. Don't pick the lowest bid. The lowest bid rarely yields the best quality, and advertising using the wrong translation is a killer mistake.


Socialnomics.net gives us a few funny mishaps:

  •  Coor's slogan "Turn it loose", translated in Spanish as "Suffer from diarrhea."
  • Pepsi's slogan "Bring you back to life", translated in Chinese as "Brings your ancestors back from the grave.
  • Parker Pen's campaign "It won't leak in your pocket and embarass you" turned into "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant" in Spanish.


And a personal one. I took this picture in Beijing. This hair salon had just opened their doors with a cool English name: 



You can't invent this.


If you take the translation route and decide to address your target market in their language, pick a translator with a resume that shows experience in translating marketing and advertising materials, and always select a translator born and educated in the country you target.


Better yet: Spend a few more bucks to have the translation proofread by another professional translator from the country of your target market. Two brains are often better than one.


Translating your ad is certainly a better alternative than advertising in English to consumers that do not necessarily understand American colloquialisms and cultural references. After all, do you understand Latino cultural references and their subtleties? I didn't think so.


Yet, translation often strives to find a foreign equivalent to a local concept. And this is not always the best option because some ideas are too impregnated with local cultural references to be correctly translated.


The better alternative


Good marketers know that there is rarely a better placed person than a salesman to understand and connect with the target market. After all, your salesmen communicate with your market every day. Boots on the ground collect good intelligence.


The key word here is communication. Eskimos do not buy fridges... Any eskimo salesperson can tell it to you with a 100% certainty. What better person to tell you what they buy? 


If you are targeting the Hispanic market, who would be in a better position to give you pointers on how to communicate with this market than people belonging to the Latino community? 

A Latino community? Short anecdote


In the course of a conversation I had with an Argentinan friend of the family, I learned an interesting series of facts about how fragmented the so-called 'Latino community' is. There is no 'Latino community'. There is a series of contiguous but only loosely connected Latin-American communities.


Mexicans look down on Salvadorans who show them back the same kind of tough love. Puerto Ricans dislike being associated with Mexicans and Cubans. Cubans take great pride in the purity of their Spanish, the closest to Castillan Spanish among all the Latino variations of Spanish. Argentinans really like themselves and not very much any other Latino-American ethnicity.


All are "Latinos" but none of them "the same Latino". 


So before you place an ad in a Latino magazine, ask the publisher what is the demographic breakdown of their Latino-American readership, and zero in on a specific market. Then discuss with people from this specific country to find out what concept will make your product or service resonate best with their specific cultural references.


Think about it: What rythm do Mexican people dance to? If you want to want to sell them fashion, don't use a picture of an Argentinan woman.


As far as I know, it still takes two to tango.



To your success,


Phil Chavanne


Do you too waste 90% of your potential buyers?

Very recently a web marketer asked on a private forum whether it was better to leave the website conversion issue to their business clients, or to tackle this issue for them.


By "conversion" is meant the process through which a visitor to your website eventually becomes a buyer of your product or service.


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Improving conversions on an e-commerce site

Getting traffic to a website is only part of the equation of making your site profitable.


A case study published on Actualinsights.com by Matthew Niederberger (Aug 2011) brings solid evidences that some 'trust seals' are more trusted than others, and more instantly recognized. 


This in turn translates into more sales: when visitors are more comfortable with the safety of their wallets, they pull out the credit card more easily.


But Niederberger's case study does not only sort the wheat from the chaff among trust logos. It also shows that people decide to trust a site with their payment information on the basis of other clearly identified factors.


This case study is a very good read (8-12 minutes) with the potential to deliver a high ROI for the time you will invest reading it.




To your success,


Phil Chavanne


4 Checklists to Gauge the Competitiveness of a Site


There are critical elements which must be present on a website for it to perform well, both in terms of position in the search engines and in terms of converting visitors into prospects or clients.


These elements are commonly known as "on-page factors", "off-page factors", and "conversion factors".


On-page factors refer to those critical elements directly related to the programming of your website. When these factors aren't properly optimized for search engines, your site suffers an unnecessary penalty in Google and Bing. On the contrary, when they are correctly optimized, your site provides the search engines the information they are looking for, and receives brownie points in return.


Off-page factors are those critical elements which make up your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. They are 100% essential to succeeding on the web. Not just to rank high in the search engines, but also to drive more visitors to your site. Your web strategy cannot only rely on search engines. Not anymore. It must also rely on your presence in the social media space. Yet, 'social media' is a very broad universe, and people get confused and overwhelmed at the idea of creating a presence for their business on the social networks. The best possible course of action is to start, even slowly, but today.


Conversion factors are those design factors which will make your website easy enough to visit, attractive enough to stay on it, and compelling enough to sur a visitor to become a prospect, then a buyer.


The 4 checklists prepared by LocalRanker and offered to you here are tools that you can use to gauge the competitiveness of your website. Does your site crush the competition, both in its rankings in the search engines and in its capacity to convert visitors into money?


Get ready to measure the factors that will give your business the edge you need to survive in tough times and to expand quickly in good times.


Here is your link to download the file:


The 4 LocalRanker Checklists to Gauge Your Site Competitiveness


Good reading! And please, let us know on Facebook and on this site how useful you found these tools.


To your unmitigated success!


Phil Chavanne




New! Optimize your site for better conversions

LocalRanker gives you the possibility to track very accurately the keywords which led visitors to your site.


We showed you in a previous article (keyword tracking) that selecting your keywords and aligning your site content with the real keywords used by your visitors (as opposed to keywords selected from the Google Adwords Keyword Tool) would help you give your visitors relevant content in line with their expectations.


But there is more to this new keyword tracking feature than meets the eye. Here is why.

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