Dave J. posted a blog entry Feb 12th on B2Blog entitled “Proof it’s not about the benefits, but your product“. Of course the title is sarcastic, but he makes several great points in regard to putting the product in front of people.
Citing Anne Holland’s “Which Test Won“, Dave points out that the study showed a higher response rate if the picture of the product was the main element, presumably compared with emphasizing the benefits. While rife with assumptions about what is being advertised and what has preceded the display, he has some very quotable quotations that are directly relevant to product simulation marketing. For example, “while an awareness of the customer’s use of your product is important, repeating what they know…obscures the real information they want.”
I don’t think anyone would say to just stick a picture of the product in the ad without the appropriate context, but clearly when people are interested in a product, they want to see how it looks and how it works. No great leap, especially for expensive, large, or complex equipment.
If I were to take a guess, and I don’t think it takes a great leap to get there, but I would assume that the viewer is already somewhat familiar with the class of products that might appear in that ad. So the context has already been set, to some degree.
I can only imagine what the response rate would be if they advertised that one could “try it out” right there. I would love to be involved with a manufacturer who was savvy enough to recognize how important this kind of testing is. Sadly, I still am looking for one. I think product simulations are still in the state of interest from visionary marketers and early adopters, who don’t see the need to prove it because they are already believers.