"Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!" ~ B9, Lost in Space
We just looked at the difference that a distinctive position and well-crafted message makes in marketing an emerging brand. Now let's look at what occurs when the marketing message is lost in space - buried in the content of an ad, brochure or web page.
I can probably find hundreds of examples of this mishap in current magazines and online; however, I dragged out a sample from my print files because I can attest to the results.
When this fledgling software company asked me to write some direct mail letters, they provided the ad below as reference material. I asked if they were happy with their results. Sad shake of the head, "not so much."
It took all of three seconds to see why results were disappointing. Trite, boring headline aside, the most important benefit was buried three paragraphs deep.
Strategic rewrite. Prominent promise of a big benefit. 300 percent improvement in results.
The first sentence of a news story, a book, a brochure or an advertisement is the lead. (Some writers use the spelling "lede" from the archaic English to avoid confusion with the printing press type formerly made from the metal, lead, or the related typographical term leading.)
Thank you, Wikipedia.
To "bury the lead" means that you have begun your narrative with less important details. This forces readers to read deeply into an article in order to discover the essential point(s).
Boring in news stories and books. Deadly in marketing communications.