Paul Hartunian, like Gene Schwartz (and precious few others in the world of direct response) is a “Renaissance Man” of marketing…because he is so much more than just a marketer.
Sure he developed the quintessential program on publicity…and he also taught thousands how to sell on eBay (out of their RV or from anywhere) before eBay was part of our marketing nomenclature.
But he also has…
- …taught medical school
- …appeared in many Broadway shows
- …attended law school specifically to get involved in The Innocence Project
- … become a roller derby referee (in his spare time)
- And he currently runs “Aunt Mary’s Doghouse” which supports overcrowding in shelters by housing unwanted dogs on a farm and then placing hundreds of dogs who are at risk.
However, at his core, Paul is a marketer…and at Titans Mastermind a few weeks ago, he decided to make his final presentation after 55 years in the marketing world.
He spoke about How To Create a Powerful, Profitable Talk in 4 Easy Steps (see the P.S. for a free PDF of that)—and of course he talked about Publicity (that gets response and leads to profit)–and also how he still runs a six-figure business on eBay for less than an hour a day.
There was even a lesson on how he still loves direct mail, uses it regularly and successfully, further dispelling the notion that it is far from dead.
Having this final presentation in the Titans Mastermind portal will be a prized video–and I may make it available at some point to folks who join Titans Xcelerator (my new virtual mastermind which I will be announcing in the next month or so at a charter rate of $1,500 a year). Stay tuned.
I met Paul in January of 2000 at an event called the “Billion Dollar Internet Strategy Setting Summit and Custom Marketing Makeover Process”.
Quite a title and claim…but it wasn’t hype.
The information that was shared and adapted from that event has exceeded a billion dollars a few times over already.
It was hosted by the late Audri and Jim Lanford, marketing superstars I wrote about in, What are your non-negotiables.Their loss was way too premature but they left us a lot from that event and with their pioneering work.
The “Billion Dollar Summit” was also the first big event in the new millennium and it was clear proof that the world didn’t end on January 1, 2000…and more importantly that this “Internet thing” was worth taking a closer look at.
Paul was my favorite speaker at that event and I made it my business to meet him which was the beginning of an almost 20 year friendship…that eventually led to his “farewell to marketing presentation” at Titans Mastermind last month.
There were many web pioneers speaking at the “Billion Dollar Summit” over 4+ days.
Whether you have heard of these people or not, I dare say that you owe them a debt of gratitude for many of the techniques you employ today. Speakers included:
Andy Bourland, Dana Blankenhorn, Declan Dunn, Ken Evoy, Rob Frankel, Cliff Kurtzman, Jakob Nielsen, Eva Rosenberg, Corey Rudl, Jim Sterne, Ralph Wilson.
Not household names as much today but Google some of them (and not just for a stroll down memory lane). You may have to dig a little to get to the right person…add “marketing” after their name or you will, for example, get an English soccer player for “Declan Dunn”. 🙂
Paul did two sessions at that event…one was on how to make a living on eBay.
The other session was how he really sold The Brooklyn Bridge–and the story is nothing like the many scam artists selling to gullible tourists with the line, “Boy do I have a bridge to sell you.”
I want to tell you this story to illustrate how a world class marketer’s mind works…how yours can work like this too…when you believe ideas are everywhere if you are mindful and paying attention all the time.
In 1983, when The Brooklyn Bridge was celebrating its 100th anniversary, Paul was watching TV and saw a report on the news that the walkway of the bridge was being torn up and being replaced.
He also noticed piles of discarded wood being placed next to a truck that had a readable phone number on it–so he dialed the number and asked a million dollar question:
“What are you planning on doing with that wood?”
The response was that it was being discarded…to which Paul told them he would give them $500 for all of it.
The guys with the wood were so happy…they even offered to deliver it to him…and I guarantee that Paul was happier, and not just because they delivered it.
That wooden walkway is the gift that keeps on giving.
Paul cut the wood up into small 1 inch squares, attached them to collectible certificates designating that these were pieces of the original bridge, and he has sold, and is still selling, thousands of them.
In addition, Paul used his publicity skills to get on shows like To Tell The Truth and to have his “Man Sells the Brooklyn Bridge” press release read on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
You can’t pay for that kind of exposure…and Paul didn’t but got it.
Then, 25 years later, he celebrated the “25th Anniversary of the Sale of The Brooklyn Bridge” (an event he created!) by issuing a limited number of these:
Paul admits that he’s had many terrible ideas…but he also believes that it only takes one good one to make up for all the terrible ones.
This was clearly one of the good ones…and he’s had many more than just this one.
Selling the Brooklyn Bridge one square inch at a time, like so many other “good ones,” happened because he is always paying attention.
In the words of Gene Schwartz, when he defined Mass Desire:
It is the public spread of a private want
One day in 1983 did people get up in the morning and say, “I want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?”
But once you know there may be an element of mass desire in the marketplace, you must then go to the State of Awareness of prospective buyers (i.e. the way buying the Brooklyn Bridge would satisfy that desire).
And then determine a State of Sophistication (i.e. how many times the The Brooklyn Bridge has been offered to them before), and in this case without satisfaction.
“This time it’s for real” was a core premise of Paul’s approach to create satisfaction.
I’m only scratching the surface from the first three chapters of Breakthrough Advertising and how it applies here; but Paul knew these principles well (and a whole lot more).
Just another reason to compare him to Gene Schwartz.
More importantly than how he did what he did, Paul’s eclectic interests were part of the success formula too (much like Gene too).
He was multi-faceted, he loves the human race, and in turn, the human race loves him.
And he always had fun with all he did, and will do, in the future.
What a way to make money, find happiness and enjoy life.
P.S. How To Create a Powerful, Profitable Talk in 4 Easy Steps is a handout that Paul gave out at the Titans Mastermind and I’d like to share it with you here.
It’s got an overview of the system he uses and then the versions he created.
I hope it’s helpful to you when you prepare your next talk.
P.P.S. It may not be the “Billion Dollar Summit” from January 2000…but it is the closest thing to it that we have today.
The Genius Network Annual Event in Phoenix, Arizona November 2-4 brings together 300 of the most dynamic entrepreneurs, marketers and business leaders in the world today in one place sharing their mastery freely over 3 days.
I’ve been a member of Genius Network, Joe Polish’s one-of-a-kind mastermind, for 8 or 9 years…and this year, at the annual event, I will be on a panel with John Carlton, Parris Lampropoulos, Craig Clemens, Richard Viguerie…and I’d love to see you there.
Other speakers include Dr. Andrew Weil, Keith Cunningham, Peter Diamandis, Dave Asprey, Chris Voss and many others.
I don’t get any compensation for telling you about this event…only the satisfaction that I am recommending a place for you to learn and grow.
If you want to see if you qualify for this event, go here now.