Gotta Get Soul: How A ‘Human Target’ Adds Soul To Your Sales Copy

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Have you ever chased an eclipse?
The other day, I read about a group of wonderful nutcases called 'eclipse chasers’. They spend their time chasing lunar eclipses, from Cornwall to Zambia. 

Using only a few GPS coordinates, they end up anywhere from a big city to the middle of the Sahara. And as I read about them, I couldn’t help but find their obsession admirable.


But obsession isn’t always a good thing
Take how we understand customers. Big Data is revolutionising how we approach customer profiling, segmenting, and tracking their journeys online.

And Big Data is invaluable – up to a point. But there does come a point where it hinders your sales copy.

Painting an audience by numbers is dull
Barren customer descriptions are almost impossible to like. You know, when we describe our audiences with percentages, demographics and use personas such as: 

"Our audience is James. He's an ABC1 male, living in Wandsworth. He likes going to bars, socialising with his friends and using Instagram twice a day." (Or something equally snoozy). 

And when we write sales copy based on these types of broad customer descriptions, it sucks the life out of the words on the sales page.


Sales copy shouldn’t forget the person
Internet Marketing guru Sean D'Souza says that "You can’t take a persona out to lunch." So when our sales copy forgets to actively use a real person, there is no soul. We remove the creative juices before they’ve had time to juice.


In this post, I’d argue that we need to create two types of audience: Our 'Media Target' and 'Human Target'. 

Our Media Target is a set of people who we describe with numbers. It indicates how many we can reach with our sales copy. It's the realm of personas, demographics, and conversion rates.


Yet, our human target is about ONE person
One customer (or potential customer) who best represents your product, service or segment. 


A living human being who isn’t a Frankenstein persona, but a real person with a pulse
That is, a person who you meet and talk to in depth before you write your sales copy. A person who is almost guaranteed to buy from the brand or category soon. A person who'll give you their emotive words and phrases that move you and me. Words rich in insight. Words to use in copy. 

As David Ogilvy said: 

“It seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.”

Where the 'Media Target' focuses on the whole market, the ‘Human Target’ does the opposite. It focuses on one person who gives insight and soul to what you have to say.


Isn’t it a big risk to use one person?
Yes, it is IF no research happens first. If there's no quantitative and qualitative research done first, then yes, there's a risk. Yet, once we've done our market research (as we always should), it’s fine to choose one 'Human Target'. 

And what’s the harm in trying it out? You don’t need to tell anyone. See how it works. Drop it, if you don’t like it. 


One customer can move us more than a whole target audience
When I worked in market research, I preferred one-to-one interviews. It was in these interviews that I’d find a gem of a line that would shape the final report. 

I'd often record videos of the best comments from customers. Sometimes I’d even spend half a day or more with a customer, watching and listening for these gems. 

It taught me to never underestimate how a two-minute video of a customer can do more for marketing than 100 slides of survey results.


Like the eclipse chasers, it’s right to obsess
Today, I do obsess about finding a real person and avoid painting an audience by numbers alone. 

And what’s the worst that can happen if we experiment more using a 'Human Target' and a ‘Media Target’? Sales pages with more soul? 

Perhaps, it's not such a risk after all.

Thanks for reading. For now, over and out, tally ho and toodle pip  :o)

Simon | The Chief Brain

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