The Promise


I got a new catalog from The Great Courses yesterday in the mail.

What struck me was the main header on each page wasn’t the title of the course.

They were statements like these:

  • Learn How to Cook from an Expert Chef at The Culinary Institute of America
  • Forever Change the Way You Listen to Music with This Brilliant, Critically Acclaimed Course
  • Discover the Secrets of Good Nutrition
  • Improve Your Writing by Rediscovering the Lost Art of Crafting Sentences
  • Gain New Tactical and Strategic Chess Insight

These are all amazing promises for what the courses are going to deliver. They all focus on touching the felt need of the customer and what will get them to buy. Theses lines of copy remind me of subtitles on books and the kind of promises we are trying to offer.

The verbs they are using are particular too. Learn. Discover. Improve. Gain.  Each action points at the changed person you will be after taking the course.

To create enough variety across the whole catalog, they used other words in other ads but sometimes missed being active and urgent.  “Encounter the Rich Variety of Yoga Traditions…” “Comprehend the Rules of the Universe.” These statements feel more passive.

Positioning and selling books have a similar challenge. Take time to think hard about the language you are using. For The Great Courses, they understand they are selling learning and discovery. The marketers at the company are doing a good job portraying that in their ads.

The wonderful follow-up question is…does this style of copy sell courses?

P.S. I bought one 🙂

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