Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments.

Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

If you want to succeed faster, get my 51 helpful marketing ideas. You'll get a steady stream of them. People love them - maybe because they're free.

Just signup using the form on the right.

When the blind lead the blind, where do you end up?

One reason why your copy may fail is simple.

You didn’t pay enough.

That’s not because you’re stupid. Why pay more than you need for anything?

And there are two seemingly logical reasons why people don’t pay enough for copy (or content as they call it now).

1. You and your colleagues write stuff every day to people – and they reply. It’s not exactly nuclear physics. So why pay others to do it.

2. There are so many copywriters around that many offer amazingly good deals.

I saw a good example today. It is an offer to pay what you want for a course called “Build Your Brand More Effectively by Mastering the Art of Copywriting”. It usually sells for $69.

Well it took me about 5 years to learn to write good copy – and even then I was nowhere near perfect.

Now read how the course is described:

Copywriting is an essential component to building a brand. Many businesses may outsource their copy to ad agencies, but if you’re small and growing, this may not be such a cost-effective measure. A better option would be handling your copy needs in-house, and this is the foundational course to start you off on the right foot. If you’re looking to take on copywriting as a career, this course will make sure you the skills to succeed. With an all-encompassing examination of what makes good copy and exercises to help you practice, you’ll soon be getting any brand the attention it deserves.

Do you know what’s wrong with that? Maybe you do, but just in case:

1. It’s 101 words long.

That really puts readers off. It’s like a long thirsty trek through the desert to the nearest oasis.

My old boss David Ogilvy suggested the ideal opening paragraph is 12 words long.

2. It’s full of dreary, uninvolving jargon and guff – like essential component, outsource their copy, cost-effective measure and so on.

3. It’s sloppy: there’s a word missing in make sure you the skills.

You really can’t hope to get an essential part of your business sorted out for $69. And what I didn’t tell you is this course takes a year.

Can you wait that long?

If you want to get better results – as over 97% of our clients do –click here and Gerald will get in touch.

Do it now. We can only take on so many at a time.

Best,

Drayton

 

Costly, Catastrophic, Mistake I See Every Day

Sometimes I feel like a broken record: saying the same old things, over and over.

But you know, I only say them because they are important and worth saying.

Take this for example.

Many people have never even thought about it. Most don’t do it.

You probably know it. Or perhaps you know it and have forgotten it.

Either way, you need to be doing it.

Have a look here right now and make sure you are.

Best,

Drayton

The Triumph of Drivel: An Antipodean View

Don’t know I missed this hilarious comment on the kind of tripe that’s being purveyed by marketers

My friend Ryan Wallman of Melbourne has come out with another cracker. 

It reminded me of Hemingway’s remark: “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof bullshit detector”

The Emperor’s New Clothes Conference 2016

Marketing by the cynical, for the gullible

 

Time

 

 

 Topic

 

7.30 – 8.30

 

 

ENERGY SUPPLEMENTATION EXPERIENCE (FORMERLY ‘BREAKFAST’)

 

8.30 – 9.30

 

 

Making the simple complex: how to baffle people for profit

 

9.30 – 10.30

 

 

Emojism: storytelling in the age of illiteracy

 

10.30 – 11.30

 

 

Completely deluded: taking virtual reality to its logical conclusion

 

 

11.30 – 1.00

 

 

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITY (LUNCH PROVIDED)

 

1.00 – 2.00

 

 

Beyond brand love: how do you get customers to actually have sex with your product?

 

 

2.00 – 3.00

 

 

Advertising is dead: why hypercontextual data-driven programmatic gamification is the future

 

3.00 – 4.00

 

 

Rectal insertables: the next generation of wearable technology

 

 

4.00 – 5.00

 

 

Buzzword innovation: what’s next in the bollocksphere?

Over £18 million: the reward for failure. Nice work if you can get it – but you can’t

Year after year Marks and Spencer fails. Their ads give you a clue. Their marketers haven’t got one. Why?

60 odd years ago I applied for a trainee’s  job at Mark & Spencer – at that time and for long after a safe first step on the road to success.

I wasn’t chosen – just as well, as with my fatal inattention to detail I would have been a failure.

Mind you, not as spectacular or costly a failure as Marc Bolland.

Bolland spent 6 years trying to resuscitate the firm – and failed.  I guess he’s not that bothered, though. By the end of this year (he’s currently being paid for doing nothing) he will have had about £18 million for his efforts.

Yesterday I went into M & S in Bristol and noticed what I am pretty sure is a chief reason why he and they have failed at everything except selling food.

Not a single person in there looked even remotely like the trendy models they’ve been featuring year after year.

The person who’s been taking the pictures is one of the world’s most famous (and expensive) photographers: Annie Leibowitz.

I wonder how much time that lady spent looking to see who actually shops in M & S. I wonder how often the grossly over-rewarded Mr. Bolland did. I wonder if the clever young marketers who commissioned the ads did.

If they did, would they have seen any cool bearded young men in there? The kind they were using in their online ads not long ago – and their female equivalents.

I wonder if – as I did in my first copy job for a retailer  –  they watched the Monday sales like a hawk to see of my weekend ads had worked. I suspect they were too busy having meetings and talking guff about social media, strategy and content to do something so fucking obvious.

In fact I wonder if they have the vaguest idea what they’re doing.

You can’t sell to the customers you want but don’t have. You have to sell to the ones you’ve got. Get out there and watch them.

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But as I once heard my friend the late Mani Ayer – one of the smartest people I ever met, and much admired by David Ogilvy – say: the obvious is always overlooked.

A footnote about Trump & Corbyn. When ordinary folk see people like Bolland and their U.S. equivalents obscenely rewarded for failure whilst their own wages and savings lose value, what do they do? They turn to extremists on left and right who promise simple – but infeasible – solutions

Cheese-paring insanity at the Marriott

How not to run a rewards scheme (or a hotel)

Recently I stayed at a Marriott hotel.

I quite looked forward to it. They are a premium group, so I expected something a little special.

What I got was something more than a little stupid.

This was not the staff”s fault. They – as usual mostly immigrants (where would our service industries be without them, Brexit fans?) – were polite and helpful.

No: it was head office or wherever they cook up their offerings.

First I discovered that wi-fi was not free. Are you taking the piss, Marriott? It’s free pretty much everywhere now.

But the helpful Czech lady on reception said all I had to do was join their rewards scheme – which is free.

So I wasted time filling in a form (they had my details. Why?)

Then when in the room I found I couldn’t get movies. I rang down. Oh, I could get movies – if I joined the rewards scheme. I already had. But it hadn’t been validated, or something.

Then I found I had to pay £10 for wif-fi … which I would get back.

WTF is going on in the heads of the bozos running the show?

A great way to lose potential customers.

What they need is someone to come along and disrupt their dumb marketing arses.

 

Why Theo felt aghast – the answer to a great conundrum

A copywriter asks why so much copy doesn’t even try to sell: here is the answer

Theo has been working in a job where he has to get sales. As he was pretty good at it, he thought he’d try freelance copywriting.

So like any intelligent person he did his research, to see what sort of copy people are running.

He was puzzled and wrote to me at AskDrayton.com with this question:

Hi! Is it normal to feel aghast to see ad agencies that seem to be more focused on winning awards or to see ad competitions done for “the most creative and strategic blah blah blah” with absolutely no mention of how much sales they brought in for their client? I almost feel like a fish swimming against the flow.

This is a slightly longer version of my reply:

OK, Theo, you have stumbled on one of the great truths – and ironies – of the ad business.

The only time most agencies worry about the results is if the client worries about the results.

In many large organisations people don’t. And if they do they may measure the wrong things.

Wondering why? Wonder no more.

Here is my favorite research over recent years, based on a survey of billions of $$$ worth of marketing, worldwide

90% of marketers are not trained in Marketing Performance & Marketing ROI
67% don’t believe marketing ROI requires a financial outcome
64% use Brand Awareness as their top marketing ROI KPI
58% place “Likes”, “Tweets”, “Clicks” and/or “Click Through rates” in their Top 5 marketing ROI KPIs
31% believe measuring audience reached is marketing ROI
“Every Tom, Dick & Harry is a Marketer” lacking scientific and financial knowledge.
—  Fournaise Marketing Group Global Marketing Effectiveness Program Report, 2014

What do Fournaise know? Well, they measure the effectiveness of over two and a half million advertising strategies each year all over the world.

KPI is the abbreviation for one of those pompous phrases that make marketers think they are doing something important. It stands for Key Performance Indicators. The only KPI you should care about is simple: does it make money?

ROI means Return On Investment. How much money you get back for the money you put in. The more you get back, and the faster it comes back the better you are doing.

The truth is that unless a client’s business depends on measurable results – money in, money out – agencies don’t care. They want ads that look good, or are clever. The kind that win awards. The kind they can boast about.

They never get round to learning about that really works in terms of ROI – unless their jobs depend on it.

Well, the people they deal with at their clients are also interested in their jobs. They tend to be most interested in getting promoted. And they get promoted if their bosses – who are as ignorant as them – see them running clever ads. So they end up running showy stuff that doesn’t necessarily sell.

You don’t want people saying “What a great ad”. You want them saying “What a great product – I must buy it.”

 

Congratulations to an idiot at the helm of an important business YOU are engaged in

You may not realise it, but this affects you – and it really upset a friend of mine

I don’t suppose you spend much time thinking about it, but everything that goes on in the world’s most pervasive and perhaps most powerful medium is based on direct marketing.

The medium is the internet.

Every communication on the internet is direct.

Either you write or talk to someone directly or they respond to you directly. 

That is how back in 1982 I defined what direct marketing is all about in Commonsense Direct Marketing– a book still selling today under a longer title with lots more pages and in lots of languages.

That is why what you’re about to read is important. It’s an email sent today by a very able copywriter called Andy Owen. Here’s what he wrote.

The Death of Direct Marketing

04 July 2016 09:36

In 1936 in the USA, Hank Hoke created a magazine that was to become the bible for the DM industry.

It was called Direct Marketing.

When I first got into this crazy business in the 80’s, I soon became aware of it and was an avid subscriber. 

It was a marvellous read and hugely educational, with most of the leading DM minds regularly writing for it.

A lot of them have become legends – Murray Raphel, Ray Jutkins, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Jim Rosenfield, our own Drayton Bird – and many others

The Hoke family were trailblazers and led the way, in what was an incredibly fast-moving and inspirational industry.

I can still recall the buzz I got from it in those days. I still crave that feeling.

Well, as we all know, things have changed.

And quite dramatically in recent times.  Direct Marketing magazine officially closed its doors many years ago.

Now, I believe, the direct marketing industry has done the same.

I am in regular touch with Hank Hoke III, who is the grandson of Hank who started it all off.  He shared some information with me on Friday, that cut me in half.

As you would expect, The DMA USA had a huge library of DM material – a lot of it compiled from Hank’s Grandfather’s time, all the way through to some present-day material.  

It was priceless stuff.

Well, listen to this:

The past President of The DMA – Linda Woolley – decided it would be best to throw out all the history, before she left.  

So, she did.

Can you believe it?   Really?

Did that crazy woman lose her mind?  And why didn’t someone stop her?

I would have bought every item.  And I know a few others that would have been interested, too.

It’s a criminal act in my view.  All that wonderful history lost forever. 

But, it’s just another example of how no one cares anymore. Even a past head of The DMA USA – the biggest DMA in the world. 

What was a vibrant and inspirational industry, is now finished.  It’s dead in the water.

Of course, those of us old liggers that are still in it, know it died many years ago.

And the final irony is, that the work we all see these days, both traditional and digital, is the worst quality ever in our business.

It has never been worse.  Total tosh, most of it.

Today’s marketers, writers and creatives, could learn so much from the greats of our business. And a lot of that education was in those archives, that this crazy woman dumped.

The greats that are no longer with us, must be rolling in their graves.  Because, what they left to us, is as relevant now, as it was then.

And it will always be so.

How you communicate with customers and prospects to get a response, is an art.  And the same techniques that worked eight decades ago, still work today.

They will always work.  Because times change, but people don’t.

All of today’s marketers, writers and creatives, could learn so much from the greats of our business.

But, they have no interest at all. They’ll have even less, now that this valuable material has been trashed.

It is simply impossible for a simple boy like me, to understand.

For the handful of us left, that still have a passion for DM, it is very, very hard to take.

Another few years and all that will be left of this once-great industry, will be a Wikipedia page.

I feel sick…

Well of course, as I pointed out above, Direct Marketing lives on – and always will.

Truth is, the principles I apply every day online are identical to those I applied in direct mail and direct response advertising all those years ago.

But what crass, arrogant, stupidity of Linda Woolley – if this is true – to destroy such an important part of its history – that so many could learn from – but never will.

The Curse of the New and the Triumph of Ignorance.

Which marketing weapons do you use? And why?

The other day I went to SpecSavers to get new glasses. Outside the shop was a man giving out leaflets. They have someone there every day.

They also send me regular letters telling me it’s time for an eye test.

On my way there I passed a vet’s. A big banner on the front of their establishment tells people to join their Pet Health Club.

I must declare an interest; I’ve been involved in such a Club. And I can tell you that the way it is promoted to vets and their customers is via direct mail and the telephone. I can also tell you that perhaps the biggest marketing challenge is to get the vets’ phones answered intelligently when prospects ring.

SpecSavers are hugely successful. The vet makes a fortune. Neither are blinded or muzzled by the endless river of guff about social media.

This polluted river drowns one important fact.

You must use the media that work best for you. Not the ones that are most fashionable or most profitable for those who promote them but the ones that do best for you.

I’m sorry to disillusion those who think they just have to follow the latest fad, but this means you must think. Even worse, you must think what marketing tools might work for you – regardless of fashion.

This means you must understand what is available. Hardly any marketers do. In large organisations most are far more concerned with how to ingratiate themselves enough to climb the next step of the corporate ladder.

Besides the man handing out leaflets and the big banner on the front of the vet’s, here are the marketing weapons I listed a while ago for the seminars I do for the Marketing Agencies Association.

You should understand a little about all of them. Do you?

Research
PR
Advertising
Point of sale
Sales promotion
Direct and interactive
Product placement
Word of mouth (viral, MGM)
Sales people
Experiential
Pack design
Sponsorship
Workplace marketing
Cause related marketing
Guerrilla marketing

By the way, did you notice I didn’t mention social media or emails?

ALL media are social. Emails (and everything on the internet) are direct and interactive.

Why do I mention all this. Because, as Mark Twain observed, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

You need to consider how and when to use many tools, not just the ones that are fashionable.

Simple stuff Ollie, my Plumber, can teach you

What makes people choose you rather than someone else? Ollie knows

The other day a lady called Raluca from Romania wrote asking me about marketing plans.

She runs a travel agency called BeyondDracula.com. They organise tours of Transylvania where Dracula came from. Isn’t that great?

I’ll tell you more about her in another post, but I told her this:

“Marketers think they’re professionals like doctors or lawyers. Absolute rubbish.”

I quoted an authoritative report which ends: “Every Tom, Dick & Harry is a Marketer” lacking scientific and financial knowledge.

And I added: “It’s a great business to be in because almost all your competitors are useless.”

This brings me to Ollie, my plumber.

For some time the boiler in my flat has been on the blink – no surprise as it should have been replaced about 10 years ago – maybe more.

Why haven’t I haven’t done so?

Because I’m as cheap as chips and I’m selling the flat

Ollie could probably have sold me a new one but he’s kept it going, sometimes without charging anything, as he did the other day. He just told me what to do on the phone.

Ollie is a better marketer than most of those with fancy titles, like Worldwide Chief Bullshit Officer.

When we move I shall always use Ollie.

He knows stuff far too many marketers don’t.

Your best prospects come from two sources.

  1. Your current customers. They are 3 – 8 times as likely to buy from you as identical people who aren’t customers.
  2. By recommendation from your current customers. I shall tell the new owners the boiler is f**ked and they should use Ollie because his prices are reasonable and his service is excellent.

Also he’s a nice guy.

That helps. Don’t you prefer to do business with people you like?

 

What Donald Trump understands that the others – including Hillary – don’t

You’re probably just about Trumped out … but you really can learn a lot from him

The reason why he’s done so well is that – unlike most politicians – he really understands people and the art of persuasion.

Here’s something he said :

“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves but they can still get very excited by those who do.  That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration and a very effective form of promotion.”

 And here’s what he told people selling the Trump University – currently under legal investigation:

The first thing you really need to know about persuasion is that people make decisions on emotional grounds.

That is the first pillar of persuasion. We are driven not by logic but emotion. This applies to all our decisions, but those who find it hardest to understand often sell to businesses.

Almost everyone selling to businesses starts off thinking decisions are made for logical reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many of us spend more waking time at work than at home.

Many of us work with people we don’t like, sometimes even hate.  Look at the following research I found a few years ago:

%age of UK people wanting to physically assault a work colleague in 2008:

–  41% in Wales

–  38% in London

–  38% in the North East

–  16% in the South East

–  50% of over 65’s

When you get down to it business is about money, and people kill for money every day. Right now people are being slaughtered in the Middle East not just because of religion but because of oil money.

The second pillar of persuasion is gaining agreement.

In the quote at the top Trump explains how he tells people something they want to agree with whether it’s true or not.

If I say something to you that you want to agree with, I’ve got you taking the first step way towards agreeing to buy something or do something.

All I then have to do is take you step by step to the order form.

Let’s look at Donald Trump’s appeal to voters.

Let’s assume you are in America today.

Let’s assume that you are out of work or you don’t have a job you like.

Let’s assume you see other people doing extremely well whilst you do badly.

Or let’s just assume you think the whole system is rotten.

This is bound to arouse deep emotions.

You look around for someone to blame, which isn’t hard because you will see others doing far better than you.

You see top executives are making millions, even billions – no matter how they perform. You think they are not working as hard as you. You may conclude the system is rigged (and you’d be right).

You may think they are doing unreasonably, unfairly well compared to you. You certainly won’t think it’s your own fault. It’s the system

Who is at fault? Who can you blame?

If someone can tell you who to blame they will gain your agreement.

You see the tide of immigration.

There are people prepared to come into your country and work for less money. I need hardly explain to you how that works.

Trump tells you you’re getting a raw deal, and the Mexicans are to blame. You can see how there seems a lot of logic to that.

Suddenly Trump’s got you to agree to something you feel very emotional about.

So there you are – two pillars of persuasion.

(And I might add that when Trump starts pointing out that Hillary – who seems to be evading the truth at every turn – is part of the system, things could get very interesting).

Appeal to people’s emotions and start by saying something that seems true to your prospect and you cannot fail.

It doesn’t have to be true at all, it just has to be what people want to believe.

I don’t know how interesting you found this, but I do know that very few people really understand the power of emotion and the power of gaining agreement.

I have found it infallible. If you’d like to put it to work for you, drop me a line.