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Ask "What?/So What?"


One of your biggest challenges as a creator of advertising is to fish out the benefits from a sea of features. You need to harvest the most powerful ones to resonate with your target audience.

Heres a technique I stoleuh, borrowed, from Steve Kopcha (DMB&B, McCann-Erickson) now Advertising Department Chair, Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri. Its called the What/So What technique.

As you analyze the product or service for which youre writing, every time you get a feature, ask yourself in the voice of your audience, So what? as in, Whats in it for me? Your answer should be a benefit. Then ask, So what? again and again, each time leading you to a deeper core benefit.

Youll get past the features fairly quickly, and somewhere in this What/So What process an especially meaningful benefit will jump out at you and youll say, Thats it! (Or something equally demonstrative.)

Youve arrived at THE benefit. Thats where your power to influence is. Write your commercial around that benefit.

Lets say its a commercial for a meal delivery service. This company will deliver meals from several fine area restaurants to your home or business for a small fee.

So what?

So, you can get a variety of delicious meals brought to your table or desk by making a phone call, accessing a website, or just texting them.

So what?

So, you can save all the time that youd spend driving to a restaurant, waiting in line, ordering, paying, and driving back, and use that time to do business, or have fun.

So what?

So, now youve leveraged your time for a small fee and can be more productive

So what?

which enables you to earn more, or help more customers, or spend more time with your family, or just plain have more fun.

Now, instead of creating a commercial that focuses totally on what they do -- deliver food -- youre creating a message for a service that gives the audience a great benefit: the gift of time.

As you discover multiple core benefits for each of your clients, create commercials for each benefit, making a powerful campaign.

Do the What?/So what? technique with your client. When they participate with you, theyll understand how you arrived at the commercial message, theyll possibly gain insight into how their audience might perceive it, and theyll be more likely to approve the commercial.

So what? Happy clients, sales quota met, more money, less time.
To learn How To Sell More On the Radio Using Stories, visit

Jeffrey continues to discover ways to help you help your clients make money at Hedquist Productions, Inc. Phone 641-472-6708. E-mail For your free subscription to our idea-packed newsletter visit