AdVice Articles by Sam Harmon

The following article was published in Media Inc. Magazine

The Hierarchy Of Enticement

Far too often, I cringe when I see visual communication that butchers the fundamental hierarchy of enticement. I cringe because I know the costs involved in the production and placement of these fruitless attempts to build business, all because the potential customer missed the immediate enticement or missed the ad altogether. You can kiss the success of your advertising goodbye if the hierarchy of enticement is wrong.

Hierarchy of Enticement is the order of importance within advertising material. Specifically, presenting what is most enticing to the potential customer in the proper order, resulting in a response. Discovering what that enticement is and how to represent it can be a challenge, especially since there are so many variables and reasons consumers want what they want. The following may offer a (very) simplified way to organize and engage the hierarchy of enticement.

The most effective way to unearth the primary reason a consumer may want your offerings is to roll up your sleeves and do the research. You may be surprised what you’ll find! Whatever the discovery, be it emotional or logical, the need will be exposed and you’ll understand how your product and/or service can fulfill. Note: It’s extremely important not to get caught up in the stimulus of the creative process until you have the hierarchy of enticement carved in stone.

(1) Identify the strongest need your offering fulfils. (2) Provide the most direct and simplified proof that you are the best provider. (3) Guide the consumer to the fulfilment using the easiest path possible. (4) Reassure the consumer their needs will be fulfilled.

Whatever the research provides, go with it and don’t waver. Develop a centerpiece image and/or headline that easily takes up 1/4 of the advertising real-estate. Make sure the message is so clear and immediate, one glance from the consumer engages their need. Without an engaging centerpiece, they will not be interested enough to react. Use the remaining advertising real estate to close the deal. Make the enticement as obvious as possible. Then make the support information as direct as possible.

With every advertising effort, make sure the hierarchy of enticement is clearly established before engaging the campaign. Please visit our website for a few suggestions on what kind of message fits well with different business types and marketing situations.