“Half my advertising doesn’t work. I just don’t know which half!” John Wanamaker, American retail legend
I’m constantly amazed by how many supposed marketing experts give out horrible advice. It almost seems like they’re making it up rather than carefully testing and proving something works before sounding off about it.
For example, last week I saw an article by a well-known expert recommending that you take a full year to implement an unbelievably complex social media plan in order to start seeing results from various social media sites. Really? Invest a year’s worth of effort before seeing a tangible return into media that’s constantly changing? Good luck with that.
The experts fall flat again
Or I’ll never forget a few years ago when I was selling a training program that used four free videos packed with valuable content as the lead-up to the actual sales piece. Each video was released about three days apart.
When it came time to release the sales letter, my headline was “This is it!”. Then the sub-head elaborated on the benefits of this program.
Well, I immediately received emails and calls from 8 or 10 different experts all telling me I was committing marketing suicide by using such a meaningless headline. But here’s what they didn’t get. Whenever you’re doing any marketing, context is always a vital component.
You see, without any prior warm-up, that headline would have indeed been meaningless. But within the context of the highly compelling warm-up that proceeded it, the people who had joined my list explicitly to receive these free video trainings were waiting in eager anticipation to get the details on the complete training course. So “This is it!” made perfect sense to them.
The proof, as always, is in the results. And since we sold out the entire training and grossed $320,000 in just three days, the results prove that this headline – within the context of who it was aimed at – was a powerful winner.
Re-enrolling in old school
As a lifetime student of marketing, I’ve discovered in talking to many experts, that they haven’t really done their homework. A high percentage of them rely heavily on knocking off each other as their major form of marketing education. That’s why when you see one “guru” using some new gimmick, within a few weeks, it seems like they’ve all switched to this new gimmick.
So let me give you some advice you can’t go wrong with. If you want to build a solid marketing foundation, it’s time to re-enroll in old school marketing fundamentals. You see, times change and technologies change, but human nature doesn’t change much. So simply by reading a handful of classic marketing books, you can get a powerful education that will let you dominate your market.
Here are my recommendations for getting this kind of education. All three titles are available on Amazon.com
>>> My Life In Advertising / Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
>>> Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
>>> How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
You can’t go wrong with these three classics. All are reasonably quick reads, as well. So within just a few weeks, you’ll know more about effective marketing than most self-proclaimed experts could ever hope to know.
Am I nuts? Am I right on target?
Feel free to let me know – or share your own experience with this topic – by leaving your comment below.
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