Through the years, I've witnessed a perennial discussion among veteran copywriters.
A client refuses even to test the marketing copy written for him, for instance, objecting to the hard-sell style and saying it would damage his company's image. A chorus of copywriter colleagues then chimes in, calling the client a traditionalist idiot for refusing in advance to submit to the verdict of testing. After all, whatever wins in testing deserves to be used.
A person or two in the chorus remains bewildered, however. What is in clients' minds when they call the direct-response style of copy—which to the copywriters has been proven supreme again and again—"embarrassing"?
Balking at over-the-top headlines and bang-bang arguments makes sense to me, though, because I've had clients email me: "Please, can you write something for my website I won't be ashamed to use?"
Theirs is not an anti-marketing mindset so much as a desire to maintain the trust of customers who disdain fast-talking infomercials, raw appeals to greed or fear, and tabloid-style promises. Rather than hot air and hoopla, clients want substance, practicality, and dependability coming through in their approach.
Here is the face-off between hype and no-hype copywriting—in infographic format: