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From the ArcaMax Advertising Update Online Marketing Newsletter

Some Marketing History about Guarantees, Pricing and Advertising

Sep 12, 2017

We recommend you take a moment and read about the life of John Wanamaker. Here is a page in Wikipedia summarizing his life.

Among his many accomplishments, you might notice that Wanamaker is credited with popularizing the fixed-price system in selling goods as a merchant. Every marketer knows that pricing is a critical component of a successful product; Wanamaker apparently understood the need at the time to remove anxiety concerning price at the point of purchase.

Wanamaker is also credited with creating the money-back guarantee. What a revolutionary concept! Today we take this for granted when we buy a product online or walk into a retailer’s store, but at the time, this radical concept must have turned business upside-down. Not only was he an innovator, he must have been extremely courageous.

Regarding our normal topic in these posts of online advertising, let’s consider how this concept of the “money-back guarantee” can be applied. It is a core principal of direct response advertising that a strong guarantee helps push the prospect into action. The guarantee serves to overcome natural sales resistance and should be featured front and center in the offer’s description.

Can you / do you guarantee your product or service? If so, do you prominently communicate that? Research shows that you should highlight your guarantee on your landing page right at the point of conversion. Perhaps a bold statement or seal stating the guarantee right next to the offer’s submit button on your page.

As well, can you feature the guarantee in your ad? You should test this of course, but you might find that this will increase click traffic and put your prospects in a more receptive, trusting frame of mind.

Wanamaker is also known for his famous quote, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half." Fortunately for those of us online, it’s much easier today to know which ads work and which ads don’t.

Some advertisers want guaranteed advertising. It doesn’t really exist, because there are so many other variables in the advertising and marketing of a product outside of the control of the publisher. Online, these include the value proposition of the product, the pricing, the quality of the creative, the optimization (or lack thereof) of the landing page, and so forth.

What can be guaranteed by the source of the ad space? The impression count, the placement, the quality of the associated editorial product, and the follow up service. A reputable publisher shouldn’t promise guaranteed results prior to the campaign’s launch; there really is no way to know. They can make estimates based on similar categories, but these shouldn’t be presented or interpreted as absolutes.

Mr. Wanamaker also said, "Nothing comes merely by thinking about it", so please give us a call if we can help!

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