Summary of Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz is a 1966 advertising classic and since it’s out of print, the price for this very detailed marketing manual is quite steep, starting from $125 upwards.

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

“The greatest mistake marketers make is trying to create demand.” writes Eugene M. Schwartz
One of the core messages of the book is to capture the attention of the existing audience that is already interested in your product or service. So the market research is key. So not much point wasting time to convince people who don’t want your product/service. Position your product/service to sell it only to those who do want it already.

A scattergun approach is a common mistake of general advertising where advertisers try to appeal and resonate with a broad audience, “so that we get the most interest.” Market research should be focused on understanding and articulating the audience’s “hopes, dreams, fears and desires,” which are emotional hot buttons responsible for purchasing decisions instead of guessing about them all. So exploiting and channelling people’s needs and desires is the purpose of marketing according to Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz.

The key message of the book is contained in this quote:
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it. Actually, it would be impossible for any one advertiser to spend enough money to actually create this mass desire. He can only exploit it. And he dies when he tried to run against it.”
Eugene M. Schwartz in Breakthrough Advertising

Conduct in-depth market research

Firstly, spot the existing trends and desires for your product and position it accordingly. Initially, keep it simple, in order to articulate and focus the target needs and desires in terms of a single image or word. Once you have identified the core need or desire, position your product or service toward it as an inevitable and only solution. Apply ‘only-ness’ brand positioning principle.

Doing market research answer three questions:

  1. What is the market desire or need that creates this market?
  2. What is the state of awareness about this product? How much do people know about the way your product meets this desire or need?
  3. Determine the state of sophistication. How many other products have been introduced to them before yours?

How to design a killer headline

The purpose behind a killer headline is to create curiosity about your product so the prospective buyers want you to “Tell me more!”.  Include a detailed explanation of the product or service promise and how it will work for the buyer.

Listen and start with the consumer

The key message of the book is how to listen and read people and respond to their desires and needs. No point bombarding people with messages they don’t want to hear. Align and resonate with what the public wants, so you can write the copy that speaks to them. Once you have fully understood what it is that your potential audience wants, you can compose a message that doesn’t meet resistance and rejection.

Establish a personal connection

Once you understand what the public wants, you can then speak to them on a personal level as individuals. Schwartz refers to this as the “one-to-one connection.” Your ability to read and understand how your audience responds on an emotional level is the foundation of the process of winning the attention of your target audience and then selling to them. Capture reader’s attention with a headline that appeals to their most basic instincts and needs or desires to activate the primal impulses they already have and usually can’t control.

Three key principles of how to channel people’s needs and desire onto your product or service

The key general principles outline in Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz are very straightforward:

1) determine the most powerful desire or existential need or value that can be employed to your product,

2) reinforce the desire and the need to satisfy it with your brand’s promise in a single statement of the tagline (ideally, verbalise the value of your product) and then

3) show your audience, in an authoritative, superior and expert-like way, how your product/service will meet their desires and needs.

That, in essence, is the message of this book. The rest of the book is specific steps and practical ideas on how to implement the whole process of marketing, especially copywriting and advertising. The book is packed with good examples of effective copywriting, brand positioning and selling strategies.

Table of Contents of Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

PART 1: THE BASIC STRATEGY OF PERSUASION 

1 MASS DESntE: THE FORCE THAT MAKES ADVERTISING WORK—AND HOW TO FOCUS IT ONTO YOUR PRODUCT
What Is This Mass Desire—and How Is It Created?
Permanent Forces
The Forces of Change
How to Channel Mass Desire Onto Your Particular Product
The Analysis of Your Product: What It Is—and What It Does

2 YOUR PROSPECT’S STATE OF AWARENESS—HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON IT WHEN YOU WTUTE YOUR HEADLINE 

Your Headline’s Real Job
What Your Prospect’s State of Awareness Demands From Your Headline
The Most Aware
The Customer Knows of the Product But Doesn’t Yet Want It
How to Introduce New Products
How to Introduce Products That Solve Needs
How to Open Up a Completely Unaware Market
Giving Words to a Hidden Dream
Exploiting a Hidden Fear
Leading Into an Unacceptable Problem by Starting With a Universally Accepted Image
To Project a Hidden Desire Which Cannot Be Put Bluntly Into Words
Using a Common Resentment or Unvoiced Protest to Capture a Far Greater Market Than the Direct Statement of the Solution of That Resentment Would Produce
Projecting an Ultimate Triumph That the Prospect Will Identify With Projecting the Result of a Problem in Such a Way That It Will Be Identified With by People Who Would Reject a Direct Statement of the Problem Itself
Projecting the Result of an Accomplishment to Attract People Who Would Be Frightened Away by the Work Implied to Achieve It
The List Never Ends
A Final Word on Style in Advertising Copy

3 THE SOPHISTICATION OF YOUR MARKET: HOW MANY PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE YOU? 

If You Are First in Your Market
If You’re Second, Do This
The Third Stage of Sophistication
The Fourth Stage
How to Revive a “‘Dead” Product
Let’s Look at an Industry That Went Through All Five Stages of Sophistication
A Personal Note

4 38 WAYS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR HEADLINE ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR BASIC D3EA 

5 SUMMARY: THE ART OF CREATIVE PLANNING— HOW TO MAKE AN IDEA GROW 

The Three Levels of Creativity
On Motivation Research and Its Relation to the Copy Writer
On Expressing the Personality of a Product in Your Headline
On the Only Type of Prevention Headline That Will Sell
On the Selection of Splinter Markets to Avoid Competition
In Summary

PART 2: THE SEVEN BASIC TECHNIQUES OF BREAKTHROUGH ADVERTISING 

6 INSDDE YOUR PROSPECT’S MIND—WHAT MAKES PEOPLE READ, WANT, BELDZVE 

Desires
Identifications
Beliefs

7 THE FTRST TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: INTENSIFICATION 

Thirteen Ways to Strengthen Desire
Your First Presentation of Your Claims HO
Put the Claims in Action
Bring In the Reader
Show Him How to Test Your Claim
Stretch Out Your Benefits in Time
Bring In an Audience
Show Experts Approving
Compare, Contrast, Prove Superiority
Picture the Black Side, Too
Show How Easy It Is To Get These Benefits
Use Metaphor, Analogy. Imagination
Before You’re Done, Summarize
Put Your Guarantee to Work
How to Apply These Principles of Intensification to the Campaign

8 THE SECOND TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: IDENTIFICATION 

How to Build a Saleable Personality Into Your Product
A Personal Note
The Roles Your Prospect Desires
Character Roles
Achievement Roles
How to Put These Longings for Identification to Work for Your Product
The Primary Image of Your Product
How to Build New Images Into Your Product
On the Limits to the Images Your Prospects Will Identify With
On Saleable Identifications Springing From the Physical Product Itself

9 THE THIRD TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: GRADUALIZATION 

How to Make Your Prospect Believe Your Claims Before You State Them
What Exactly Is Belief?
The Architecture of Belief
A New Definition of Awareness
A Detailed Example
How Belief Was Built Into the Opening
Goal Conclusions
The Ultimate Objective
A Restatement of Our Basic Theory
The Inclusion Question
Detailed Identification
Contradiction of Present (False) Beliefs
The Language of Logic
Syllogistic Thinking
Other Belief Forms

10 THE FOURTH TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: REDEFINITION 

How to Remove Objections to Your Product
Simplification
Escalation
Price Reduction

11 THE FIFTH TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: MECHANIZATION 

How to Verbally Prove That Your Product Does What You Claim
Verbal Proof
Stage One: Name the Mechanism
Stage Two: Describe the Mechanism
Stage Three: Feature the Mechanism
On the Importance of Mechanism When You Want to Convince Your Reader That You’re Giving Him a Bargain

12 THE SIXTH TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: CONCENTRATION 

How to Destroy Alternate Ways for Your Prospect to Satisfy His Desire
What Concentration Is
Let’s See How He Does It
A Second Strategy
One Final Word on Concentration

13 THE SEVENTH TECHNIQUE OF BREAKTHROUGH COPY: CAMOUFLAGE 

How to Borrow Conviction for Your Copy
Let’s Look at a Few Examples
The Second Way to Borrow Believability
Believability-Borrowing Strategy

14 THE FINAL TOUCHES 

Verification—How to Offer Authorities and Proof
Reinforcement—How to Make Two Claims Do the Work of Four
Interweaving—How to Blend Emotion, Image and Logic Into the Same Sentence
Sensitivity—How to Give Your Reader What He Demands Step by Step Throughout the Copy
Sample Ad #1
Sample Ad #2
Sample Ad #3
Sample Ad #4
See How the Structure Differs
Momentum—How to Draw Your Reader Deeper and Deeper Into Your Copy
Mood—How to Pack Your Copy With Drama, Excitement, Sincerity or Any Other Emotion You Wish

EPTLOGUE – A COPY WRITER’S LIBRARY 

INDEX 

Summary of Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz
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