By Steve Olenski March 13, 2019

A self-proclaimed massive coffee-imbiber, Steve has been writing for Forbes via his own column for 10 years. His diverse background—ranging from creative director and copywriter on the agency side to director of marketing and other roles on the marketing side affords him a very unique perspective on the world of marketing today. No one is more attuned to the state of marketing than Steve. On top of all this he is one of the most prolific content marketers and writers today.

Marketers have their own language, particularly when it comes to acronyms. From CPC to CRM and SEM to SEO and on and on and… you get the idea.

Thankfully, this piece will not introduce a new acronym into the mix. We have more than enough of those, but rest assured, new ones will be coming along any day now. However, you won’t get them from me.

What you will get from me are my thoughts on a very interesting piece of research recently conducted by Persado.

As per the release announcing the findings: “Persado examined more than 8.3 million marketing messages across four key industries (retail & e-commerce, financial services, technology and travel & hospitality), which reached a combined 2.4 billion customers through six marketing channels (web pages, social media, display ads, SMS, email and push notifications).”

Needless to say, it was a pretty wide-in-scope study.

Among the findings were the following, again, as per the release:

  • Consumers are more likely to engage with messages that vaguely convey product pricing (“get it for less”) compared to messages that call out specific prices (“get it for $25”). Additionally, using the word “complimentary” instead of “free” can increase engagement by as much as 21 percent.
  • When encouraging consumers to act quickly, messages about limited quantities (“while supplies last”) are more effective than those about limited time (“before it expires”). However, phrases like “ends today” can generate as much as 49 percent more engagement than “online exclusive.”
  • When sharing promotions with consumers, quantitative offers (“discount”) perform better than words about qualitative offers (“deal”). Further, using percentages (“45% discount”) drives on average 23 percent more engagement than specific dollar amounts (“over $100 savings”).

What’s It All Mean?

Great question. Glad you asked.

The answer is… it depends. No, that’s not a copout; it’s reality. What I mean by that is any time — and I do mean ANY TIME — I come across research such as this I always like to remind readers and digestors of said research of a very famous ad slogan:

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL!

Far too often, marketers want to pore over research such as this and run right out and make sweeping changes across the board based on the findings, which would be a colossal mistake.

Remember the famous ad slogan above.

And if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the words directly from the research paper itself: “In general, we say that emotional appeal accounts for 60% of a message’s success. But this can vary greatly, and it is vital that brands take the right approach for the right channel.”

Did you catch the words “vary greatly?”

The translation to ALL of this can be put into one succinct word: Test.

Research like this is always fascinating and marketers love a good stat/finding. But you cannot make assumptions based on one piece of research. You can, however, get inspired and motivated to test new things out on YOUR database.

The results will speak for themselves.