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Marketing case study: Panadol – Sell them what they want, then give them what they need

Panadol featured image

Wondering why people might be ignoring your marketing? Here’s an important lesson from Panadol.

There’s a common saying in the marketing world you might have heard before:

“Sell them what they want, then give them what they need.”

This is a powerful idea once you get it and apply it correctly.

To paraphrase one of my mentors,

“You’ll need to meet the client where they’re at in order to take them where they need to go, otherwise they’ll resist your efforts.” 

This is why a great copywriter, case study writer, or content writer is worth their weight in gold. They’ll do the necessary digging to understand your ideal client and write copy that uses the right language to connect with your audience.

To demonstrate this concept, consider how Panadol changed its messaging over the years in its advertising.

This is an ad they produced in 1983:

The message focuses on the science of the product, i.e. “contains paracetamol.” which is a feature.

Now watch one of their ads from 2014, and see if you can spot what’s different about the message:

What did you notice?

You might have observed how the message shifts to “when pain goes away, life takes it’s place“, and how they don’t even mention the key ingredient anymore. (If you got that right, go you!)

Panadol’s research showed that customers didn’t care about the scientific ingredient, they just wanted their pain to go away so they could focus on enjoying life.

Once they changed their messaging, their sales went up. Surprise, surprise!

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Panadol has learned to sell a benefit instead of a feature.

If you pay attention to other advertising around you daily (TV, FB ads, etc.), you’ll also see this concept in play there. Take a look one day and let me know what you discover 🙂

Now take a look at your marketing…

  • Are you meeting your customers where they’re at?
  • Are you selling them what they want and then giving them what they need after they buy?
  • Are you selling features or benefits?

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