Monday Morning Memo Logo1by Roy H. Williams

Targeting is impotent.

That wasn't a misspelling.

If you want to waste a lot of money on advertising, just target exactly the right audience and then make an offer that fails to moves them.

Targeting isn't the answer.

Having the right message is the answer.

Most ads underperform because they say, "Here's what we do and here's how we do it. You should buy it." Tedious and predictable ads always talk about what and how. But if you want to engage the imagination, you've got to start talking about why.

Ads that change hearts and minds say, "This is the belief that wakes us up in the morning. It's why we come together. Here's how we live our belief. Do you believe what we believe?"

The selling of products and services is the selling of ideas.

And now you know how Apple became the 5th largest company in America.

According to Simon Sinek, most computer companies say, "We make great computers. They're beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. Want to buy one?" That's how most of us communicate in our ads. We say what we do and how we're different and better than our competitors. What and how are always boring. But Apple begins by telling us why they do what they do.

Apple says, "We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?" In other words, Apple sells you their belief system before they try to sell you their computer.

Apple generated $43.7 billion in sales during the first three months of 2014. That's more than Google, Amazon, and Facebook COMBINED. Apple's iPhone revenue alone is bigger than Microsoft and their iPad revenue alone is bigger than Facebook. And those are just two of their products. We haven't even touched laptops or iTunes or Beats by Dre.

In his TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Simon Sinek says,

"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you don't know why you do what you do, and people respond to why you do what you do, then how will you ever get people to vote for you, or buy something from you, or, more importantly, be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do? Again, the goal is not just to sell to people who need what you have; the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe. The goal is not just to hire people who need a job; it's to hire people who believe what you believe. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for your money, but if you hire people who believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood and sweat and tears."

"Dr. King wasn't the only man in America who was a great orator. He wasn't the only man in America who suffered in a pre-civil rights America. In fact, some of his ideas were bad. But he had a gift. He didn't go around telling people what needed to change in America. He went around and told people what he believed. 'I believe, I believe, I believe,' he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause, and they made it their own, and they told people. And lo and behold, 250,000 people showed up on the right day at the right time to hear him speak."

"How many of them showed up for him? Zero. They showed up for themselves. And it wasn't about black versus white: 25 percent of the audience was white. We followed, not for him, but for ourselves. And, by the way, he gave the 'I have a dream' speech, not the 'I have a plan' speech."

Simon Sinek speaks of leadership

but his principles apply equally well to advertising.

Great ads - like great leaders - tell you why, not just what and how.

Indy will post a couple of examples from Apple in today's rabbit hole and I'll explore an hour's worth of examples during next week's session of Wizard of Ads LIVE. "Speaking to Why" is also a new module in Brandable Chunks, the workshop taught by Jeff Sexton and Chris Maddock and me at Wizard Academy.

Communication is what happens when you cause another person to see what you see. Persuasion is what happens when you cause another person to believe what you believe.

When you have a plan and people reluctantly agree to it, you're doomed. But when you have a belief - when you have a dream - you'll find it to be highly contagious. People will take ownership of that dream and make it their own. What do you believe that might echo in the hearts of your customers? What difference do you dream of making in their lives?

Put that in your ads.

Let the magic begin.

Roy H. Williams is the author of The Wizard Of Ads, Secret Formulas of The Wizard of Ads, Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads, Free the Beagle, and Accidental Magic, and is the Head Wizard at Roy. H. Williams Marketing. An archive of previous Monday Morning Memos can be found at


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