The Generic Determination Rule

The Generic Determination Rule is one of those small but too often overlooked response- improvers many marketers ignore: The generic determines reaction more than the number.

While this may seem abstruse, it isn’t: What it means is that, in numerical evaluation, a key word has more impact than a total. For example, one mile seems to be a greater distance than 5,280 feet. For the marketer, the Generic Determination Rule can apply both ways. If one wants a quantity to seem to be less, it would be one pint; if that marketer wants the same quantity to seem to be more, it would be half a quart.

So to suggest fast shipment, one says, “We’ll ship your order within 24 hours” instead of “We’ll ship your order the next day.” To show greater length – to suggest a worthier

inspection time, for example – the option would be for “one full month” rather than for “30 days.” The power stems from the generic, month or days, rather than from the number, one or 30.

Thus, 12 months seems to be a shorter time than one year. So “Guaranteed for one full year” suggests a lengthier guarantee than “Guaranteed for 12 full months.”

Proof? If that television show were called “One Hour” instead of “Sixty ftinutes,” ratings would plummet.

Source: Herschell Gordon Lewis

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