STOP. EAT. SEE BIG SNAKE.

This is not a joke. It is, instead, the best single piece of advertising either of us ever saw.

It was prominently displayed by a highway in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Why is it so effective? First, it is mercifully short. Five words. The writer was a master at communicating a world of information in as few words as possible. We immediately knew there was a place to stop up ahead. In addition, we knew that we would be able to get something to eat. And, that, if we needed to entertain our daughter, she could go look at the snake.

Did we learn what kind of food they served, the quality of the restrooms or the exact make and model of the snake? No, there was no time. The human mind can only absorb so much information at 60 miles per hour. If the advertiser had added extraneous information – like “juicy hamburgers” images-snakeor “20 foot Burmese python,” we would have missed the whole thing.

Instead, the advertiser gave us the essence of the message. It was just the right amount of information to help us make a buying decision. We’ll also point out that the message did a masterful job of prequalifying buyers. It immediately eliminated people who didn’t need to stop, weren’t hungry, or weren’t big fans of snakes, large or small.

Many advertisers fall into the trap telling the consumer more than they need to know to make a buying decision. Or, sometimes worse, they load up the communications with too much stuff. We don’t need to know when you were founded, your hours on Christmas Day, your association memberships or see a picture of your dog. Just give us a compelling reason to begin making a buying decision. You might tell us, for example, what you’re selling and how your product or service might relate to us. Once we know that we’ll find you.

And you can keep the snake.

(C) 2015 EXTEND MARKETIN