average up

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Feb 17, 2008
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Student or Learner
can u please tell me what average up means in this context?

Anyone who keys ads will be amazedat the difference. The appeals we like best will rarely prove best, because we do not know enoughpeople to average up their desires. So we learn on each line by experiment.

David L.

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Nov 7, 2007
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One of the preceding paragraphs of that (very intersting!) article is important in clarifying this:
The writer has before him keyed returns on nearly two thousand headlines used on a single product. The stories in these ads are nearly identical. But the returns vary enormously, due to the headlines. So with every keyed return in our record appears the headlines that we used.
This is enough to suggest the importance of headlines

Hence, by 'keyed returns', he is referring to some cross-referencing that allows him to see at a glance, the amount of sales generated by each of the different articles, (and its associated headline), all advertising the same product.
...and as he says, if you look at the difference that one headline makes compared to another, you would be amazed. But why this difference? The headlines they thought would be most appealing and chalk up the sales turn out not to be - they "rarely prove the best" - one of the other headlines they didn't think was as good actually brought in more sales.
As I understand what the sentence you quote means:
There are so many factors that go into the decision making as to why people choose to buy a particular product. Headlines, advertisements, try to appeal to those factors, those wishes, desires, needs that people have that this product promises to fulfill. But there are so many people, and it seems we all have different desires and wishes and needs. They would need to find out from a lot of people what all these factors are that come into the decision-making process when people choose to buy a particular product; and then weigh up across the whole spectrum of these factors just what the most important ones are. If they did that, they might be more accurate in being right on target when they write adverts, and know that 'this headline will really bring in maximum sales'.

So, by 'average up', he means 'on average, how many people rated "this product will make me more beautiful' as the number one wish/desire versus 'this cream will keep my skin healthy'. By listing all possible reasons, he would be able to say, on average, 75% of people agree that "make me beautiful" is the most important desire, while 66% all agree "keep me looking younger' is important...and so on. then 'averaging up', if they take the two or three most highly rated of these desires and wishes, they will have a sure-fire ad!!
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