April 28

John Carlton on Copywriting: The Company Line


carlton_on_copy_image_2John Carlton explains why knowing ‘the company line’ is not enough to market a product successfully. You have to dig down to the real reasons people buy.

His comments:

In the detective work you do, you must get past the company line. As a freelancer, I know that the company line is the guy who owns the business. He is so in love with his product that he will say “it does this, this, and this and this is why people buy it”.

Almost 100% of the time he will be 180 degrees dead wrong. He will not know why people buy. He knows why he would have bought it, why he got into it. He knows that. That is what I call the company line. And for you and your product, as Stan was saying, you have been eating your own company line for a while. You are in love with this product.

When I want to learn about a product, I want to talk to the receptionist, I want to talk to the feet-in-the-street-salesman, I want to talk to the guy that invented it, I want to get the gossip, the rumors. The guys who have to sell the stuff will say “I know that Bob, the guy who owns the company, he keeps saying it does this, but we never sell it that way. We sell it by saying it will do this.” Something completely different.

That’s what I want to find, and that’s what you want to find, too. A lot of the time you just have to get out of your head, you have to get into other people’s opinions about what is going on. You have to strip it down. Get your ego out of this and find out what really is happening. When people are buying the stuff, what is really going on?

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