Connecting The You 


(By Spike Santee) In the last blog post, we talked about the Four Key Elements of an Emotionally Engaging Commercial: you, the felt need, the action step, and life ever after. This week, we’re going to focus on connecting the you and the felt need to grab the attention of the consumer. I’m going to continue to write as if I’m speaking to a prospect in hopes you can pick up some things to say to your prospects. 

You are standing on a stage in front of one thousand people, and you have 60 seconds to tell them about your business. What do you say? The first few words need to grab the attention of the consumer and engage with them. You only have a three-second emotional on-ramp. What do you say?

First, you need to analyze the audience of one thousand consumers. How many could be considered reasonable prospects for your product? Not everyone is a prospect, and if they were, are they in the buying cycle. 

If you sell a male-oriented product, it’s possible that at least half of the group, the women in the audience, won’t pay much attention to your message. Likewise, if you sell a female-oriented product. 

If you sell homeowners insurance, people who rent won’t pay much attention. If you’re a car dealer, only those consumers toward the end of the consumer cycle — those with an older car — will be interested.

There are lots of ways to slice and dice the audience of one thousand consumers: by age, gender, social status, and so on. Not everyone is in the market for your products or services when you get on stage to speak about your business. 

Your opening line needs to go straight to the prospects most receptive to your message — those members of the audience with a felt need for a product or a service in your category. Here are some suggestions for a few different product categories you might be calling on. 

“You like to save money, right? So why are you wasting money every day trying to heat and cool your house with those old-fashioned drafty windows.” 

“You’ve done alright — wife, kids, good job, two-car garage. You’re going the lose it all because you don’t have enough insurance.”

“Your mom and dad insist on living in their own home and they call you every time they need something. With kids and a job, it’s getting harder to be there when they need you. You need to call Adult Senior Care…”

“Your class reunion is coming up, you want to look your best but you’re starting to see crow’s feet and other small things you’d like to change. You need to call Dermal Solutions.”

Now, don’t start to think that your commercial is going to sound like it’s following a formula. It is a formula to reach those very people in the audience who are most likely to be receptive to your message. The other members of the audience won’t be paying attention because they are not the right demographic, or they are not in the buying cycle. Because you are using a formula, your words are triggering the desired response from the consumer, they are emotionally engaging with your message. This is all happening in the three-second emotional on-ramp. 

You can learn to be an effective creative scriptwriter if you just devote some attention to the process. It will help you sell more advertising and will protect your business relationship with the customer when the other vendors call and say they can do it cheaper. Your client is going to ask the other vendor who is going to do the creative. They’ll say someone back at the office will. That won’t be near as compelling as you have been. 

Perhaps this final example will help you pull it all together. This is bonus content for my sales management friends.

“You’ve just finished paying all of your bills. You’re even putting something in savings every month. You’re dressing better, looking better. Your friends have even noticed the new you. That’s because you are a professional advertising salesperson at <<fill in your station’s information here>>. You receive professional training on regular basis. You have a supportive team to back you up and a manager who wants to help you succeed. Calling <<fill in your station’s information here>> was the best move you’ve ever made.”

Talk to you soon. 

Spike Santee is the author of The Four Keys to Advertising Success and the president of Contact Spike at (785) 230-5350.


  1. I feel like a genuine stinker anytime I stomp on some of Spike’s otherwise fine materials.
    But, as the “anti-you” guy, I am compelled to comment.
    What with all the assumptions being made in the copy, the “you”, in practice is a hyper-targeting device. Everybody who does not relate to the suppositions gets to tune out.
    Using the Third Person allows for those in every part of a given buying cycle to stay engaged. This is because they are not being challenged, and mind-reading assumptions won’t, necessarily, apply to them either.
    This is sticky stuff and I do appreciate that.
    However, the “you” thing has yet to be demonstrated as a genuinely effective device.
    It’s just a follow-on of another traditional, but still untrue belief – that radio is a “one-to-one” medium.
    The distinctions about communicating directly to a known, “live” individual and indirectly to an electronically-available audience are many, and they are significant.
    Practically, radio is a sometimes unknown one on an always unknown and unspecified – medium.
    Sorry, Spike. Not really wanting to make trouble here. But, I gotta. 🙂


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