While skimming a recent issue of Advertising Age, I ran across an article called If you’re creating ads, odds are you’re talking to yourself.
And it presents yet more evidence that ad writers and other advertising professionals are disconnected from the people they’re creating ads for.
I’ve been discussing this since 1997 when I wrote about how ad writers don’t relate to ads in the same way as ordinary people.
The Ad Age article talks about research on behavior-based segmentation performed by Xyte Technologies. They tested people in marketing and advertising (including people in creative, media, and research) and found that they’re “word nerds.” They like playing with words and rely on intuition (rather than data) to craft message.
Trouble is, only 18.5% of the general population fall into that category. Ads that appeal to word nerds don’t do so well with the other 81.5% of the population, most of whom are highly practical people and respond to tangible benefits.
I’m not the least bit shocked by this. Whether the details of this research are accurate or not, it certainly reconfirms my notion that a lot of people in the marketing and advertising world are creating messages that appeal to themselves rather than real-world buyers.
Are you a word nerd? Take this test and find out.
Here are 5 questions from the test. Read and choose A or B for each question.
(A) Are you comfortable with emotional people and easily empathize with them?
(B) Do emotional people make you uncomfortable and have difficulty empathizing with them?
(A) Do you tend to use feeling words to describe things that you like?
(B) Do you use a rational/logical approach to making decisions?
(A) Do people seek you out for warmth and nurturing?
(B) Are you more comfortable with things or objects than people’s feelings?
(A) Do you feel it is more important to be tactful than truthful?
(B) Do you consider it more important to be truthful than tactful?
(A) Do you enjoy the power of words by writing and speaking?
(B) Do you enjoy using your hands to make, assemble or fix things?
Results: According to this study, if you chose A at least 3 out of 5 times, odds are you are a word nerd.
For the record, while I agree that a lot of ad writers don’t know how to write ads people can relate to, I don’t put much faith in the specifics of such tests. I think the way to tell if you’re an effective ad writer is to look at the sales reports.
But then, people in the ad world are always trying to find inferential data rather than data from actual results. Maybe it’s because the people doing the research are word nerds too, and they’re just as disconnected as the people they’re studying.
Interestingly, I am not a word nerd according to this test. How about you?