Market Sophistication | What Stage Is your Market At?

Your markets sophistication depends on how many similar products, and how many competing ads.

There are 5 stages of market sophistication:

Adapted from Gene Schwartz, Breakthrough Advertising, 1966.

First stage is being first to market: Prospects have no sophistication about the product at all. So be simple, be direct, and don’t be fancy. Just tell it like it is. Name either the need or the claim in your headline – nothing more. Dramatize the claim in your copy, then bring in your product, and prove it works.

Second stage exists in early competition – copy the successful claim of the first to market, but enlarge on it. Eventually claims become unbelievable or lose meaning, like washing powder that cleans ‘whiter than whites’. At this stage you are into the

Third stage of market sophistication: Now you must distinguish a new mechanism to prove the difference in effectiveness of your products vs the competition. Here you will bring identification of the mechanism into the headline. Avoid the competitions claims. Shift from what the product does, to how it does it. Then the claim can be stated. So here in the 3rd stage, the promise itself is subordinated to the mechanism (the process) by which it is achieved.

In the 3rd stage, new people enter the market, the desire for fulfilment never fades, and dissatisfaction builds up, so the 3rd stage can be near perpetual, fluctuating into the 4th stage.

Fourth stage of market sophistication: Elaborating now on the mechanism itself. Embellishing the mechanism with greater clarity, proof, or augmented aspects of the process.

Fifth stage of market sophistication:Here your market no longer believes the ads. No longer wishes to be aware of your product as it doesn’t satisfy. The fifth stage problem is a problem of identification. You must create a sense of identification between the product and the prospect himself. Often through visual appeals.

Check out my ‘5 Degrees of Consumer Sophistication‘.

Posted by Gavriel

Providing digital marketing services to launch, scale and maximize your campaigns.