September 8, 2018

The response to last week’s post, “Your smart phone will not reverse aging” got more in-depth response than almost any post I have sent in the last four years.

And while most of the responses supported the premise that marketing to an “older demographic” is nothing to be ashamed of (and that it might be a more profitable strategy too), there were so many other insightful comments I want to share with you.

Overall, I think the big theme was “diversification rules”…take any and every opportunity to show up differently than your competition whether you show up in a mailbox or an in box, whether you appear on TV or on You Tube, or whether you sell in a magazine space ad or through online display.

Other big themes:

Avoid commoditization at all costs.

Always think specialty over commodity.

And of course, “lists are people too”– everyone on your list should be treated like family—and no matter how you communicate with them or where you communicate with them, their age only matters in relation to how you customize and personalize.

No market is “better” than another based on age.

Here are some fascinating shares from you, my online family…which may inspire some marketing ideas no matter what you sell, where you sell, or who you sell to:


Someone under 30 appreciating paper 

I’m forking over cash for Dan Kennedy’s print newsletter every month (I’m in your “under 30” group). 

I also have one of the LAST physical copies of “John Carlton’s Simple Writing System” before he caved and went digital. 

It doesn’t run out of batteries, it comes in the mail, it accumulates in a pile, and it doesn’t sit as a file on my desktop named “May18_newsletter_FINALCOPY03.pdf” 

I would pay for MORE newsletters if they sent me an ACTUAL newsletter.  


If I got a cheap, branded USB stick with a bunch of videos in it every month, I’d pay DOUBLE the price than “come to my site and deal with my crappy LMS I got someone on Fiverr to build” 

I’ve also cancelled many POTENTIALLY GREAT subscriptions because they locked the content down and didn’t allow me to download the material I was paying for. 


Let your product, not the media you choose, dictate your market (from another “under 30”)

One of my clients sells a product that caters primarily to millennials (or so they think). 


They’ve been running Facebook and other online ads to short landing pages for a number of years, and it’s worked okay, but nothing spectacular. 

I came into the picture 2 or so years ago with offline ads…newspapers, radio, TV, direct mail, etc. 

Well it’s pretty cool to see that now the company’s best performing channel by far is newspapers (reaching 55+ year olds). 


Radio (another “dead” medium as some people my age would say – I’m 29), is a close second in terms of CPA, and drives the most volume overall. 

TV is off at the moment, since the company wasn’t up for dong a more DR-driven infomercial style…and the more brand-based ad had CPAs a bit too high to stomach. 


And we round it out with direct mail…in a plain white envelope, with handwritten addressing and post-it note (also handwritten font) on top of our letter! This one is going to lookalikes of the overall buyer list, so it’s getting into a TON of millennial homes…and works like gangbusters. 


Best part is, we’re spending roughly $400k/month on offline ads and bringing in over $1.6 million! (Lifetime revenue, to be fair, but still a nice return). 

Online ads on the other hand are having trouble scaling above $250K or so in monthly spend, and only at a 2.5X ROAS. So much for digital-only advertising 🙂 


Playing with someone my own age 

I’m 61 and while my memory isn’t totally shot as yet, I cannot recall a single email as packed with actionable and thought-provoking information as this one. Thank you. 

And if you promise not to tell anyone, your principles here will likely apply as much to online content creations (i.e., the non-fiction, non-sales type) as to e-marketing. 

I’m grateful, sir! 


A 30 year old without a mailbox…but parents who love her 

Great discussion of Millennials today. 

My step daughter just turned 30, and we still get her snail mail and packages at our house, then she either comes over or we carry them to her like when we got together for dinner last night.  So I get to observe how she loves to receive packages (Amazon, etc.) which she has ordered on her smart phone, and how she tears ruthlessly through the rest of her mail, keeping the good stuff (credit cards, driver’s licenses, discount coupons, etc.) and trashing the rest.  Takes about a minute.  Then she goes back to the smart phone!  There must be a good marketing message in all of this! 


Not everything online is about mobile phones and tablets (yet) 

Great read…and I’ll add, looking at our google stats…about 75% of our leads that come to us through the internet come to us via a desktop, the next is mobile and very small percentage is a tablet. Our avatar is 45-65 – typically engineers, lawyers, doctors, executives. Although we do have several that are 70+, they’re retired. Most on social. Some very connected – more than we are!  But we do radius mailings, blogs and lots of social. We are working on a printed “magazine” too. 



If you watched the video in the P.P.S. last week (click here if you missed it), one of our fellow family members shared an “apology” from the singer on that video…I had no idea he insulted anyone… 


Micah Taylor apologizing to Millennials for his video that went viral:

New artist Micah Tyler was asked to intro Watermark Church’s leadership conference talk on Millennials so he made a parody song that opened a talk about seeing past the stereotypes and recognizing the unique potential that millennials have. 


Several days after the video was posted online it has gone viral with 20+ million views and 400,000+ shares on Facebook. 

Read the open letter below and watch the video from Micah Tyler! 


Dear Millennials, 

I am one of you. I turned 33 years old 2 weeks ago while emceeing Watermark Community Church’s “Church Leader Conference 2016.” 

As a millennial MYSELF, I was tasked with making a video highlighting the way other generations see US. It was followed by a talk about how WE are so much more than the stereotypes and that WE are a hope for the future. 

It was a fun satirical video to open up that session and it went great, really laying out the misconceptions about me and my peers. Jonathan Pokluda (a fellow Millennial) did an amazing job of charging other generations to reach out and stand with us. He also passionately encouraged Millennials to not get trapped into believing our own stereotypes because we have worth and importance both today and in the future of this country. 

Watermark Church is the ONLY place I gave approval to upload the video because they agreed to accompany it with context about why it was made and how it was part of a session that empowered MY generation (which they did). 

It has since been taken by other media outlets and pages and uploaded independently without my consent. At first I thought this would be ok because of the presumed over the top fun, lighthearted nature behind it. It has since been used as a tool to bash Millennials which was not AT ALL my intention and has saddened me deeply. In context, it was a part of something more than just the joke it has become. I can’t control the other outlets that have taken it, even though I wish I could. 

I want to apologize to my generation for any hurt this video may have caused. The past 5 days have taught me a lot more about the division this country has between its generations. 

At the end of the day WE NEED EACH OTHER. This country is made up of so many different viewpoints, backgrounds, and passions that can either divide it more deeply or can be used to create something powerful. As the dad of 3 young children, my hope is that future generations will be able to look at how we overcame our differences and fought as hard as we could to break down the barriers created by negative attitude, easy excuses, and pointing fingers. 

I believe in us – ALL OF US. 

God Bless, 

Micah Tyler 


Like Micah Taylor, my post last week was not meant to insult anyone or create stereotypes–and I also apologize if anyone took it that way.

I wasn’t even saying to forget about this cohort and only market to older folks (who have more time and money) either—there is gold in younger markets too, of course.

Regardless what you thought, pro or con, it was rewarding and educational to receive so many positive responses from quite a few Millennials and “elders” alike–and I hope you found the shares useful.

I hope they triggered some ideas for you too. 

“Multi-channel marketing” is not just a “buzz phrase”…it should always be top-of-mind when marketing your products and services.

And don’t try to steal my URL:

Whether you market to Millennials or seniors, or anyone in-between, being painfully aware (all the time) of the language you use, and the formats you present on (and all formats available to you, obvious and not-so-obvious), are the key lessons I learned from your shares. 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s “better” to target one group over another…the best group to target is the one who can benefit most by what you have to offer.

But always make your offer irresistible and unique–and always meet your customers where they want to be met.







P.S. Writing these posts the last two weeks, and hearing from so many of you, I can’t help but think of all the lessons I learned from my mentor, Gene Schwartz—and how everything he taught (and still teaches through all he left us with his books and his writing), applies to how we must talk and write so that we will be remembered.

I actually think of Gene every week when I write…specifically about his enduring truths of  finding “mass desire” in the marketplace, understanding your prospects “state of awareness,” and constantly studying the  “sophistication of your market” (which are the 3 opening chapters in Breakthrough Advertising. 

Those of you who have bought this must-own masterpiece already from me read in my cover letter attached to the book that I recommend you read the first three chapters multiple times before moving on to the rest.

The book is a dense read and a must read for everyone who claims to be a marketer of anything.

Today I want to make sure Gene is a constant guiding light for you in the decades to come as he has been for thousands already.

When I wrote the subject line and post a few weeks ago, “Everything I told you is wrong,” I couldn’t help but think about Gene’s Schwartz’s classic line, “Grammar is overrated” (which I also used in a previous blog post as well).

I remember getting some hate mail from linguists in my online family for that one…but grammar being overrated (or, put in the context of my previous subject line,  “everything you learned in school was wrong”) is just another way of saying,  “Question and test everything”—whether it’s an eternal truth of marketing, language…anything.

Gene Schwartz was one of the best copywriters who ever lived because he lived his entire life questioning everything.

If you have not added his classic books, The Brilliance Breakthrough, How To Talk And Write So That People Will Never Forget You and Breakthrough Advertising to your library, now is the time.

I have re-published both (as many of you know)…and used copies on Amazon and eBay start at double what I charge for each.

Today’s check of Amazon had the highest price for Brilliance Breakthrough at $3,950 and the highest price for Breakthrough Advertising at $5,101.69. 

I partnered with Gene’s wife Barbara to bring these masterpieces to a new generation…and to save you lots of money too.

These are both authoritative editions, new, hardcover and the least expensive you will find anywhere.

And yes, you need a mailbox rather than an in box to receive them.

You can read about Brilliance Breakthrough hereand order here.

This book also comes with a workbook.

And you can read about Breakthrough Advertising here…and order here.

Re: Breakthrough Advertising, I just found out that we have only 20 books currently left in inventory so we will be ordering more (our third printing!)  of this new, classic edition—but the wait could be about a month if you don’t grab one of these books from the second printing today.


Gene was always going left when everyone was going right his entire career…and he always knew exactly where he would end up (and believe it or not, without a smart phone or GPS).

Imagine that.

These books will be your GPS to do the same…although you will have to tolerate a real book with a hard cover and paper inside too. I know…ugh!

And you will have to own a mailbox in addition to the in box where you received this email to take delivery.

However, based on what I read from so many of you this past week, I think you can handle it—even if you are under 30. 🙂

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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