Viagra At Work

by The Guy January 10th, 2008 

Sometimes, things don't work out exactly according to expectation… and that's not always a bad thing, providing untold rewards to the proverbial upside.

Take Viagra for instance… Millions of dollars of research money was devoted to creating the little blue pill as a drug for hypertension. Er, make that, Angina. Er, make that, well, you know…

Ooops number 1. But as the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make hard lemonade.

And then millions of dollars in marketing money was spent on targeting gentlemen of a certain age until it was discovered that men significantly younger had a much higher incidence of usage. (Those of an age clearly not afraid of drinking and thriving.)

So What, Exactly, Does Viagra Have To Do With SEM?

Recently, we were invited to test a hypothesis with a client and they in fact were willing to provide not insignificant dollars to the test campaign.

The results? Not exactly what we expected. In fact, not at all what we expected but more than enlightening in ways we hadn't expected.

Key Learning #1 – Headline Copy Makes A Difference

And everyone's eyes have just glazed over because that's not new.

Well, not quite. Said client has an existing clickthrough rate north of 6% (Branded terms perform at about 16%; broader keywords at about 3%).

Using that as a model, we created a series of ads with the goal of arriving at 5 headlines to test.

Essentially three groups: Brand focused headlines; offline campaign focused headlines; needs/benefits focused headlines.

The results were astounding:

What was even more astounding was that contrary to popular belief, it wasn't the brand ads but the needs/benefit focused headlines that compelled the most attention.

To protect client confidentiality, I'm not at liberty to disclose the brand or market segment, but I can tell you it is a nationally recognized and offline active brand.

Having arrived at our test headline group, we commenced our test campaign.

And pretty much made every mistake we possibly could.

Key Learning #2 – Learn From Your Mistakes

Thankfully, the client respected the "test" nature of the campaign and collectively we made allowances for mistakes. As the adage goes: The better part of success is borne from failure.

Ego prevents me from elaborating any more than that.

I will however, more than happily share more key learnings….

…in my next post.

Have a good one.

~The (SEP) Guy

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3 Responses to “Viagra At Work”

  1. Mark Dykeman says:

    I'll be looking forward to the next post!

  2. Good post. Hope to see your next one.

  3. Mike says:

    Very interested on whats to come of the test. Thought the headline of this post got me to click on it.