While I am hosting my Titans Mastermind this week, I want to share one of my favorite posts that I believe is timeless.
And in the P.S. I wanted to give you an update on how Overdeliver (and “overdelivery”) has gone global.
How did we advertise in the “good old days” when there was no email, Internet, product launches, VSL’s, Facebook and a myriad of other media?
And if you were a small mom and pop retail or service company, how would you know how to advertise if you never read a Dan Kennedy book or even knew there were other consultants who specialize in “brick and mortar” advertising?
This is not a post about direct mail, print, TV, or radio advertising—all of which were prevalent in those prehistoric times.
While I abhor general advertising (as compared to direct, measurable, accountable, advertising) marketers still sold stuff back then too.
I am sure you might think it was a miracle without the Internet or email– but they did it very successfully nonetheless.
I was reminded two years ago of my introduction to advertising, marketing (and whatever else was going on in the early 1970’s)—and it was a new revelation although it traced back to high school.
My introduction to marketing can be traced to that time and something I will label “clock advertising.”
I have often said, jokingly, that because I was voted “Most Likely to Become a List Manager” in my high school yearbook, my future was preordained.
What I actually believed as the years went on, is that I simply fell into it (like everyone else in direct marketing in the 1980’s).
That has been my story for anyone who has asked me during my 40+ years…and on over 300 podcasts…and even in my books…until two years ago.
How did I come upon this new revelation?
Because in late 2020, Stan Drescher passed away and I was reminded of how he set me up for a career in marketing close to 50 years earlier.
You do not know him but I am sure you know his son Ron Drescher (my best friend from high school)?
Ron is a creative marketer and entrepreneur trapped in the body of a bankruptcy attorney.
Well…maybe you do not know him either.
He has worked with Richard James (a Dan Kennedy protégé) which honed his skills–but I guess that is not quite enough to make him recognizable to you.
How about Stan’s brother Morty? You must know him?
He famously appeared on the TV show, The Nanny a couple of times.
Not ringing a bell?
Hmmm…well, Morty’s daughter is Fran Drescher, who did some stuff in Hollywood…she has 265 credits on IMDb for acting, writing etc. on TV and in movies–so she is obscure too. 🙂
All I know is that Fran’s claim to fame is that she bills herself as “Stan Drescher’s niece.”
I have never heard her say that but I just know it’s true.
So, in honor of Ron, Morty and Fran, and in memory of Stan, I must tell you the marketing case history of Stan Drescher and how it shaped my career…and hopefully there are some lessons you can take from it as well.
Stan was an insurance man from Spring Valley, New York.
He was successful because he was relentless when pursuing a client, which usually included a meal (which he always paid for), the warmest handshake, and if you were lucky, even a warmer hug.
And of course, he knew his stuff.
And whether he won you over to buying a whole or term life policy, accident protection, or a car insurance package, he would always present you with a wall clock which said on its face:
RELIEVE THE PRESSURE
Fortunately, just being Ron’s friend got me one of these prized clocks.
In the 70’s and 80’s, there was not an establishment in Spring Valley (or the wider Rockland County) that did not have a “Drescher Clock” in its dining room, changing room or waiting room.
Restaurants, retail stores, doctor’s offices and more were adorned with them at the time…and a suggestion to buy insurance to boot.
And of course, all of the bedrooms of Ron’s friends had the same clock (although I am not sure who we would be entertaining who would buy insurance).
The plastering of the walls of an entire county with his clock made Stan “famous” …or as famous as he needed to be in a geographical area selling a commodity…which led to a super successful business in a competitive category.
Simply put: He was always somewhere where his competition was not.
In addition, there was no call to action (CTA) on the clock (i.e., no URL’s because there was no Internet…and not even a phone number).
How is this a marketing lesson?
It is educational due to the fact he was working with what he had available, he was reaching out everywhere he could whether he could make an immediate sale or not (creating relationship events even when he could not create a revenue event) …and of course he may not have put a phone number on anyone’s clock, but he had the phone numbers of everyone who received one in his rolodex.
Database marketing…70’s style.
Disco wasn’t the only thing invented at that time.
Just in case I am speaking a foreign language (see the P.S. for more about foreign languages), a “rolodex” is like the contact list on your phone but on cards (paper).
And yes, it’s alphabetized at least.
Or it’s like an email list without email (not invented yet).
Stan was playing a long game, selling insurance like the best of us sell other products and services today.
Planting a seed (i.e., a clock) as an opt in…and then rather than waiting for the phone to ring, he made it ring.
It was a (very) active approach rather than a passive one.
It was also more of a “Mad Men” approach to advertising (i.e., “I don’t know if it’s working but look at all the insurance premiums I’m writing!”).
And there is a lot to learn from Stan’s clocks beyond its decorative and utilitarian features.
That is, they were more than a novelty and something that tells time.
I had a client recently who had a billboard company…outdated, inefficient, and “old media” right?
While I would not put all my eggs (or advertising) on billboards, they could easily be part of a mix for many advertisers (although admittedly, if I used them, I would put a website or a phone number drivers or a passerby could remember).
I have often said, “I never met a medium I didn’t like” –and even though the back of yogurt lids (too messy!) and the back of ATM receipts (not enough cash left to buy anything after a withdrawal!) were only “good ideas at the time,” I am glad I tested both.
They failed miserably as media…but testing them kept me (and keeps me) on my toes in terms of what I think about today, and every day, I am in the business of buying media and selling stuff:
Advertising opportunities are now infinite…anything can be construed into usable media.
With the corollary:
You need to go to experts to buy each of those opportunities.(Not a topic for today but I covered it in “The dangers of one stop shopping”)
That is how I construct my mastermind groups–looking for the “what” and the “who” before the “how.”
And it is also fun to dream…offline and online.
Back to Stan’s clocks:
He relieved a lot of pressure in his business by saturating his market with clocks (even without a CTA).
But he backed the giveaway with hustle and persistence in lieu of a sales page.
That was his funnel.
And, of course, a virtual (clock) hug in the present usually became a live (bear) hug in the future…with someone signing on the dotted line.
I’m sure if Stan practiced insurance today, he might have figured out how the clocks could have an alarm on them whenever the owner needed insurance, making them episodic.
That would be a big technological advance.
At a minimum he would have a URL leading to a squeeze page or he would have a phone number…just for grins.
Regardless he was willing to work hard and wait for the order…he practiced patient marketing (i.e., relationship marketing) …and he got rich slowly.
With various techniques insurance agencies (and other businesses like it) use today, the call to action would be able to moved up a bit for sure.
But I know he would never expect to make a sale through an autoresponder; and he would realize quickly that an “email handshake” can never beat a personal hug.
He was a man of his times who we can still learn lessons from.
And I wanted to pay tribute to him in some way since I realized how much he influenced me.
He was also a blast to be around…a true life of the party.
He would always take time to hang out with us–Ron’s friends–beginning in high school and until he passed.
He was always joking and interested in what we were doing with our lives while being Rockland County’s most interesting man.
And as I mentioned previously, he followed Dan Kennedy’s rule about “being the only one in a space where your competition is not.” Read “Unique commodities” for more about that.
Stan’s marketing lessons are obvious:
- Do not over automate yourself into oblivion
- Market like your audience really matters…and while your audience is not made up of perpetual buyers, they are all prospects to be treated like family
- CTAs are critical…but they are dependent on the action you take as a marketer, not the other way around (have you ever heard of a personal funnel?)
- A hug is a hug is a hug…the virtual ones are good and actual ones are better
- When push comes to shove, everything in marketing comes down to the people you touch, how you respond to them, communicate with them, engage with them…and how and when they might decide to buy from you. Whether that is today, next month or next year. All sales are accepted anytime. And opt-ins come in all shapes and sizes…it can even be a clock.
It is said that a broken clock that no longer runs (but still has a nonfunctioning hour hand and minute hand) is correct twice a day.
My “Drescher Clock” began its journey on the wall of my bedroom that I grew up in; moved to my dorms and apartments through 4 years of college; then to my swinging bachelor pad in Brooklyn; then to my apartments during my first 12 years of marriage (my wife “loved it!”); and finally, to my house in Connecticut (where my wife liked it a little less and banished the clock to my office)–where it is today.
Somewhere along the line it stopped working.
I often wondered if my wife sabotaged it– but no matter.
I always knew it did not go with the décor of our house anyway.
Then both hands broke off at some point which was not sabotage…just old age.
It couldn’t even tell me what time it was twice a day anymore.
However, it still sits on my wall, proudly (and more efficient) than if it had two working hands.
In its present state, it always displays the right time because it is a reminder that life is long…that time is a detail…and living in the present is where it’s at.
And of course, it also reminds anyone who looks at it to relieve some pressure and insure themselves for the time when life gets a little shorter, which hopefully is a long time from now.
And it will always remind me of Stan.
P.S. I received an email on the day I released the blog post above from Simon in New Zealand:
I’ve quickly read what is in “The Overdeliver Collection” and it’s phenomenal.
I can’t believe my luck.
Having paid a little over $20 for the book, I feel like I’ve ripped you off!
So thank you very much for releasing this material.
For marketers and copywriters who have or get your book, Christmas has come early this year.
And the neat thing is that the book has not been translated into “New Zealand-ese.” Yet. 🙂
I get this a lot…multiple times a week…and I respond saying:
“If I have the gall to title a book “Overdeliver” (which incidentally is not a word), I better over deliver on the bonuses.”
Which I do.
The story behind the launch of the book—one that I tell not to garner sympathy—is that it came out on April 19, 2019 and I had a near fatal stroke on April 20th.
I only mention it because I did not get to sell it as aggressively as I could have at the time…so I am on a “perpetual launch” of the book…because the principles inside (and the bonuses that Simon received to rip me off) are timeless…like the clock with no hands.
And I want you to have it all.
Go to OverdeliverBook.com and check out the book (in English and New Zealand-ese…Australian too!) …and access all the bonuses that Simon was giddy about.
P.P.S. Does the fact that Overdeliver has been translated into Japanese, Italian, German, and French add to its street cred for you?
All four of these versions never would have happened without the support of my incredible publisher, Hay House.
I just wanted to give them a shout out.
And how the Italian version of Overdeliver came to be is a neat story…it happened as a result of the Herculean efforts of two gentlemen (not from Verona but from Florence) I met while I was speaking in Italy in February of 2020.
Marco Lutzu, the top copywriter in Italy (and a speaker at the same event) and Francesco Zoppeddu, the wonderful CEO of the agency Marco founded, liked the book and wanted to bring it to Italy.
They made a deal with Hay House to translate it and sell it in Italian…and then they joined my Titans Mastermind…and now they are translating Breakthrough Advertising in Italian as well.
The beat goes on…they will be friends for a lifetime…no matter what we do together…and this story is a reminder that the language of direct response marketing is global and universal.