A constant fact of life that impacts every business, digital-driven technologies have profoundly changed how, where ,when, and why customers decide what to buy. Facebook “likes” from friends and online reviews from strangers hold more sway over consumer behavior than Super Bowl commercials, let alone print, radio, billboard, banner, and pop-up ads. So why do marketers continue to waste precious energy, creativity, and dollars on traditional advertising, promotion, and media campaigns?
“Our message-making needs reinvention,” Harry Mills, an authority on persuasion widely trusted by global business leaders, emphatically states. In Secret Sauce: How to Pack Your Messages with Persuasive Punch (AMACOM; February 21, 2017; $18.95 Hardcover; ISBN; 978-0-8144-3806-0), Mills shares his magic recipe for portent marketing communications. For a message to spark interest and fire up action in our information saturated, screen dominated world, it must pass what Mills dubs the “SAUCE” test.
Persuasive messages must be:
- Simple: One central truth, easy to grasp and picture
- Appealing: Different, valuable, and personalized
- Unexpected: Surprising, intriguing, and seductive
- Credible: Trusted, transparent, and verifiable
- Emotional: Warm, arousing, and plot-driven
IN concise yet meaty chapters, Secret Sauce focuses on incorporating each essential ingredient into marketing and sales communications of all varieties. Drawn from multiple mediums—magazines, TV, YouTube, and more—examples spotlight brilliant marketing messages, both classic (De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever,” penned in 1948) and contemporary (Ignite’s “Enlighten Us. But make it quick.”), as well as memorable flops p(J.C. Penney’s “Fair and Square” pricing). Chapters are also filled with research nuggets in buyers’ impulses, biases, and motives, and the power of cultural context, social proof, and peer pressure. Along the way, professional persuaders will gain eye-opening and immediately applicable insights into:
- Why image-based metaphors abound in advertising and why, especially in our world of skim and scan, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
- The payoff of appealing directly to a buyer’s self-interest, including the desire to be viewed as smarter than the average consumer.
- How to weave elements of mystery and surprise into messages and satisfy the human brain’s craving for novelty.
- Why, to quote the genius behind Volkswagen’s campaign (“Ugly is only skin-deep.” “Think small.”): “The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you.”
- Why messages with a plot-driven storyline captivate, resonate, and sell… plus much more.
Does your message pass the SAUCE test? To help marketing and sales pros answer that question, Mills supplies the test— a list of questions to assess whether a message contains those five essential ingredients—plus a “Heat gauge” to measure its level of persuasive potency. With SECRET SAUCE, anyone in the business of message-making will master the coveted formula for whetting appetites for buying and winning loyal customers.
About the Author:
Harry Hills is founder and CEO of Aha! Advantage, an international consulting and training firm whose clients include Unilever, IBM, Toyota, Oracle, and Astra Zeneca. An in-demand speaker, he is the persuasion expert at Harvard Business Review’s Manage/Mentor program and author of two previous AMACOM books, Artful Persuasion and The Rainmaker’s Toolkit. He divides his time between New York City and Wellington, New Zealand.
TItle: Secret Sauce: How to Pack Your Messages with Persuasive Punch
Author: Harry Mills
Pub. Date: February 21, 2017
Price: $18.95 Hardcover Pages: 192
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