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Robert
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Well, since others have commented well on the critique, instead let me be the first to say... "Welcome to Apple" We've been waiting for you. :) A mind like yours is a terrible thing to waste - on a PC. Robert P.S. Check out a free trial of Nova Mind. And for research try Devon Think. Or Circus Ponies Notebook. Surf and clip - all stored in files underheadings in a notebook format. Sniff. (Dabs corner of eye with Kleenex).
Peter, Thanks for the snack. Enjoyed your thoughts on the formatting. Of course, I'm trying not to notice that in critiquing copy about excessive sweating, you were also talking about "heat maps".
Peter, Great critique. Loved your emphasis on Theme Unity. As the old timers used to say, "Unity = Force". I recently read a letter that jumped around like a grasshopper in a frying pan. No fun for the reader. And speaking of the reader... I once again have to commend you for your focus on the reader, where their mind is in relation to the product/theme and your trained intuition over what they will or won't understand and what may repel them. Robert
What resonated for me was Peter's focus on the readers and making sure the copy elements met them where they were. "Not sure a business owner calls them promotions..." "Not sure an entrepreneur is going to know the significance of this... "I think they will react better if we move this up front..." Etc. When my clients write their own copy, it's often the customers perspective they often leave out. Great job.
Peter, It was a good 10 years ago I was using the maps as an illustration to sales people that when people use a word like "success" they don't all mean the same thing. And as sales people, they would be well served by exploring the individual maps with prospects. Looking back, what stood out as curious is some of the maps were "Do, Achievement" (I've climbed Mount Everest, got my MBA and am running a $10 million business) and some of the maps were "Have-Possess" maps (I have a house with a white picket fence, am driving a Mercedes 560sl, and have a vacation house in Tahoe) if that makes sense. It wasn't till I saw your copy primer here I realized people were probably actually showing the conversations in their mind as you've demonstrateed. And I'm sure if you repeated this exercise there would be a dozen other elements that you would catch that went right over me. Interesting stuff.
Loved this point... "Some unsolicited advice to writers: Save the sensitive, anxiety-ridden and difficult personality for the novel and just do your job well." In my copy-youth I ended up in a legendary clash with a client. "Rabid" would be an apt description. (Hey, they still deserved it - but it wasn't calm, professional and determined.) :) Live and learn. Robert
Peter, This is a belated thanks for putting the video up. Great stuff. It's actually getting "beyond conversation". It hits at core processing. Love the mind-mapping approach to showing the structure. Once upon a time I used to pull two people out of an audience, write "Success" in a circle, then have them mind-map their unique map of it. 90% of the time they were radically different. Thinking back, I now realize that it would often demonstrate what you shared here. (I am only now realizing people were mapping out their "success" conversations" Doh!) And the point you made in your response above about approaching the reader with their conversation..."I know you think life is random" instead of the Howler Monkey promises is another gem. When I see you approach the mind of the market like this, I'm reminded that Mastery is often a subtle touch. Forgive me for repeating an oft told parable here - but it makes the point. An old ships mechanic was called in to fix a problem with a ships engine no one else had been able to fix. He mucked about a bit, poked on this, poked on that. Finally, he pulled out a small hammer and made a few tapes on a pipe cock. Then engine immediately began working. He submitted the bill for $10,000. The ship's owner demanded an itemized bill "You only tapped for 30 sec. with a hammer!" His itemized bill, "tapping with hammer $2. Knowing where to tap, $9998. Here Peter demonstrates his mastery of "knowing where to tap." Robert P.S. Disclaimer: The above should not be implied to read that Peter is old. And yes, that story is so oft used it is beyond cliche. Nor does it escape my notice that the old ship's mechanic should have negotiated the price up front. Nor am I ignorant of the fact this story is often told about a New York electrician that returned power to the city - nothing against New York, but my preference is for the nautical.
The conversation in one copywriters mind... "Sheesh, will Peter hurry up and finish this - it's like been...12 hours since he's posted this. What's the @#$% hold up? Has he like got a real job or something? I love his insights usually good, occassionally he knocks it out of the park though, I hope this Collier thinger is out of the park, Collier has had a huge impact on my writing ever since I "stole" a copy from ____'s private stash (and had his daughter sneak me his copy of Breakthrough Advertising out of his home study so I could photo copy it) - though that's not as time I climbed into a dumpster to get an advance copy of Carlton's work. Anyway, I'm growing more conviced the older I get that the master-stroke in copy is the headline or opening phrase that touches the prospects conversation and can't wait to see Peter's take on this to see if agrees with my own take and experience on it, though if his is better than mine I'll never admit it. I love his blog cause it's not the ravings of some noob wannabe that uses howler-monkey copy not realizing he's got crediblity lower than a used car salesman. No, Peter's insight is more seasoned, aged, like a fine bottle of wine like that stuff I had in the castle on the cliffs of Vernaza in Cinque Terra... Is it posted yet? No. Dang. C'mon Peter...."
Loved the link. I have to fight those battles about once a month. My tolerance for them is growing razor thin. After a split-testing death-match, one of my clients decided that lead generation and sales pieces to outside customers that were direct response design in nature were clearly the winner, but the heavy pretty html, reverse type, brown text on a brown background look wold be used for their customer communications and main land pages on the website. (In the test I sold 1200 magazine descriptions in a single email – an email their design and marketing people all declared wouldn't work, wouldn't be read and would damage their image - their piece sold nothing) Okay, end of rant, on to the Psych lessons... I would encourage you to password protect them. I remember back in the day putting on joint ventures with Jay and the venture partners would suffer from paroxysms over the phrase "ethically exploit the hidden opportunities you your customer data base". One of my clients is having to eliminate the appeal of "increase the size of your commissions" from their marketing because their industry is undergoing heavy media and regulatory scrutiny. Making higher commissions for more value provided is seen as evil. So, sometime in the future you have a $78,000 gig on the line and someone internally who's queasy about this outside guru coming in pulls up your post on the truth about human nature... The truth will set you free...or get you crucified. Doesn't seem to be a middle of the road when it comes to truth.
Great post, My wife and I hold to the principle of NOT doing business with friends. We have friends that are accountants, Realtors, haircutters, financial planners etc. But, past experience has shown that using a friend means being willing to lose the friendship if things go wrong. On the other hand, I've had two clients for over 16 years. Is there a friendship there? Yes. But it started as business.
I've been away from reading the blog for a while - so the colors in the post about the opera singer in the UK and this one sort of got blended together. Makes for an interesting brew.
Perhaps. I am getting the sense that internet marketing, banners, etc. are so trackable that it has created some cracks in the traditional marketing dike. It's a trickle now - but could become a flood. A recent book aimed at general advertisers did A/B type testing on $300 million in advertising for companies like P&G, Ford, and 30 others. They discovered that $125 million of it was out right wasted. (I'm going off the top of my head - the numbers may be up or down by a few million). Their comment was that no where else in business was that amount of money allowed to be unaccountable to results. So, yes, perhaps the corporate world is stirring in its sleep.
I'm still waiting for the research study showing copy with pun ridden, cutesy headlines, lifeless verbs and skinny nouns, written in complex sentence structures, the passive voice and full of five syllable words pulls best. Given the overwhelming evidence against the readership and sales success of this type of copy, I am daily amazed at it's hypnotic draw to most of corporate America - even to entrepreneural clients I've "educated" for years find themselves helpless victims to its siren call. I often have to duct tape them to the mast as the profit ship sails by the sirens.
This gets to the heart of much of the Image over Response debate. What on earth makes someone think if they create a gorgeous ad - that no one repsonds to - that they've actually built a little relationship? But, if you run a "ugly", black and white ad that generates 200 leads - well, that is crass and hurts the brand? Um... you might ponder that "response" = "affinity" of some kind? (Sorry, bad experience two weeks ago and I'm still tender. Of course, the 6000+ leads it generated caused a strange silence from the detractors.)
Toggle Commented May 18, 2007 on "Selling ..." at Copywriter :: Peter Stone
This reminds me of a quote I saw somewhere that "relationship building" was a term created by someone trying to sell sales training to bankers. "People have always hated sales people"... But, then there is Steve Jobs. The man is worshiped in some circles. Go figure.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2007 on "Selling ..." at Copywriter :: Peter Stone
There are 101 blogs on copywriting. This post explains why Peter's blog is one of the few I consider a must read.
I love Clayton's stuff. However, this campaign bothered me. Nothing wrong with the first letter to the EWC. Nothing wrong with the second to the general lists (though I was surprised there was still a copy left to sell). But, this morning when it was sent out again...this time with the excuse that the electrician severed the electricity right in the middle of people calling in to order...well... the fish started to smell. "We had an electrician running new phone and cable lines in the office yesterday and he knocked out our phone lines for two whole hours!" And there it was. The same move a hundred internet and old DM guys have done a thousand times before. The plausible reason to extend a sale another day or two. This happens when two things are happening. 1) The promotion sucks. So, it's run again. That of course is an amateur move because pros kill losers. A pro would re-write it, alter it, change headlines etc - not keep rolling it. 2) The promotion is smoking hot... Why not keep a winner rolling? This of course cast doubt on the "only 20" limit. Limits are a marketers dream when they are the truth. But this promotion - for the first time - caused me to doubt the truth flowing from Clayton's digital pen. That doesn't reproach the quality of the goods. He's got some of the best stuff I've ever seen. Nothing but satisfaction over here. It just cast a shadow over the believability of future promos. It made me take a close look at the "reason why" for resending the promo - "We had an electrician running new phone and cable lines in the office yesterday and he knocked out our phone lines for two whole hours!" Um... Electricians don't run phone and cable lines. Phone and cable guys do. Niggling detail? Perhaps. Am I getting too cynical in my old age? Probably. Does it diminish the quality of the material? Not in the least.
I love Clayton's stuff. However, this campaign bothered me. Nothing wrong with the first letter to the EWC. Nothing wrong with the second to the general lists (though I was surprised there was still a copy left to sell). But, this morning when it was sent out again...this time with the excuse that the electrician severed the electricity right in the middle of people calling in to order...well... the fish started to smell. "We had an electrician running new phone and cable lines in the office yesterday and he knocked out our phone lines for two whole hours!" And there it was. The same move a hundred internet and old DM guys have done a thousand times before. The plausible reason to extend a sale another day or two. This happens when two things are happening. 1) The promotion sucks. So, it's run again. That of course is an amateur move because pros kill losers. A pro would re-write it, alter it, change headlines etc - not keep rolling it. 2) The promotion is smoking hot... Why not keep a winner rolling? This of course cast doubt on the "only 20" limit. Limits are a marketers dream when they are the truth. But this promotion - for the first time - caused me to doubt the truth flowing from Clayton's digital pen. That doesn't reproach the quality of the goods. He's got some of the best stuff I've ever seen. Nothing but satisfaction over here. It just cast a shadow over the believability of future promos. It made me take a close look at the "reason why" for resending the promo - "We had an electrician running new phone and cable lines in the office yesterday and he knocked out our phone lines for two whole hours!" Um... Electricians don't run phone and cable lines. Phone and cable guys do. Niggling detail? Perhaps. Am I getting too cynical in my old age? Probably.
" "My conversion rate?" Bye!" LOL. Wonderful. It seems he "Bye" part takes two of three elements... 1. A steady stream of prospective clients coming your way. And if you don't have that... 2. Courage. And then finally the the gift of time in the trenches... 3. Discernment I remember a conversation with Jay. He was lecturing me... "Set ups, Set ups, Set Ups!" Sadly, It took me another 10 years to fully understand that. My hope and hunger and weak prospecting and lack of experience kept blurring my vision. I think we would all profit more if we kept your "Turn away" paragraph pasted on our mirrors. Robert
" "My conversion rate?" Bye!" LOL. Wonderful. It seems he "Bye" part takes two of three elements... 1. A steady stream of prospective clients coming your way. And if you don't have that... 2. Courage. And then finally the the gift of time in the trenches... 3. Discernment I remember a conversation with Jay. He was lecturing me... "Set ups, Set ups, Set Ups!" Sadly, It took me another 10 years to fully understand that. My hope and hunger and weak prospecting and lack of experience kept blurring my vision. I think we would all profit more if we kept your "Turn away" paragraph pasted on our mirrors. Robert
Imagine my shock and horror as I discovered my logical, Master's degree, HR manager of a City wife had a secret fetish for people magazine. She once told me she didn't buy "those" magazines. Technically, no - she got others to buy them for her. There's a marketing nugget in there somewhere.
Wow, that's close to a technique I use. I'll take a Paragraph and arbitrarily break it up like this sometimes then re-write it and see how it looks. Usually breaks along phrases but seems to trigger the same gizmo in the mind that your periods do. I'll have to try the periods. It's refreshing to drop in here and peek into the mind of a craftsman (comments about screaming hacks with blunt instruments – and minds – deleted).
Meret..Meretri...Mereritiou... Okay, no shame here - I had to look it up in the dictionary. Funny, my two digital dictionaries don't exactly agree on things - well...except one... Both have the archaic meaning of the word as "like or relating to a prostitute". Well...I am a freelancer... But the difference is here - One has it defined as loud, showy, flashy, garish. Cool. The other has a different take: "Apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity." Not cool. Thanks for today's vocab lesson! Tomorrows? On point: I've seen conservative companies (who's idea of a good time is a full page of passive voice copy) just about have a heart attack at the site of an actual, real-live, red-blooded action verb. "How Hyperbolic! That's not how WE talk with OUR customers!" (Said as they clutch their corporate chest and reach for the glycerin pills).
Meret..Meretri...Mereritiou... Okay, no shame here - I had to look it up in the dictionary. Funny, my two digital dictionaries don't exactly agree on things - well...except one... Both have the archaic meaning of the word as "like or relating to a prostitute". Well...I am a freelancer... But the difference is here - One has it defined as loud, showy, flashy, garish. Cool. The other has a different take: "Apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity." Not cool. Thanks for today's vocab lesson! Tomorrows? On point: I've seen conservative companies (who's idea of a good time is a full page of passive voice copy) just about have a heart attack at the site of an actual, real-live, red-blooded action verb. "How Hyperbolic! That's not how WE talk with OUR customers!" (Said as they clutch their corporate chest and reach for the glycerin pills).
I only knew Gary from a distance, through his work. But even from a distance his brilliance warmed me. During my 29-year-old-mid-life crisis back in '90, I walked country roads and railroad tracks listening to he and John Carlton teaching "Gun to the head" copywriting. Their lessons changed the trajectory of my life. For those who knew him well, I can only imagine how much colder the night.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2007 on "Gary Halbert..." at Copywriter :: Peter Stone