“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist”
I’ve shared this quote with you previously…it’s from Pablo Picasso…and it’s truer today than ever before.
As I continue my adventures as “T Rex in the wild, wild, west,” it becomes more apparent every day that knowledge of the fundamentals of direct marketing will only make all of us stronger, no matter what medium we use to sell our products or services.
Dan Sullivan, the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world, teaches that looking at our businesses quarter by quarter is often far more powerful (and effective) than doing 3 or 5 year plans…and I want to share three (3) observations from the last quarter which all support the Picasso quote…and what you might be able to apply in your own business from these observations.
1. The world is a very big place
One of the things I always regretted during my time at Boardroom was that creating a global presence for our books and newsletters was never a priority…and probably not a great use of our time and resources either.
Our products were very “U.S. centric” and even when we ventured into Canada, we saw lower renewal rates due to the content not resonating the same way.
But over the last two years since leaving Boardroom, as I am in the infancy of my second career as a direct marketing educator and coach, some of the greatest insights I’ve had about marketing have come while speaking to audiences from foreign countries.
The fundamentals of direct response marketing–and how to apply all we do here in the U.S. as standard operating procedure—are often not as widely known to many audiences abroad.
And they are incredibly eager to learn all we know.
This may be obvious to many of you, but I see this as an incredible opportunity for all of us to teach a lot more…and as we all know, we always learn when we teach. Which then can create many new partnerships opportunities with all kinds of entrepreneurs and marketers, all over the world.
Much of my online family, the readers of this blog, come from many different foreign countries–and all of them (you know who you are!) are interested in learning more about the fundamentals of direct marketing based on the interactions I have had with many of you.
It is always the highlight of my day when I have an opportunity to email with you, offer advice and resources, and then hear how grateful you are that so many people in the U.S. (and elsewhere) are willing to share all we know and all we do.
I have members in my two mastermind groups from Germany, Romania, and Canada…with possible new additions from Finland, Australia, England, Malaysia and elsewhere.
And in 2016 I had the privilege of speaking to audiences in Hungary, The Netherlands, Germany and France (for the second time).
The message that resonates “over there” is one that needs to be preached over and over again whether at home or abroad:
“Marketing isn’t everything…it’s the only thing.”
For some audiences abroad I need to make the case that “marketing is not evil” (and to make distinctions between “selling” and “marketing” and define “congruent marketing” and why everything we send, online or offline is a relationship event and not necessarily a revenue event.
Once their fears are alleviated that marketing is not evil, we can have a much deeper conversation about why they must understand marketing at its core…and specifically measurable (direct) marketing.
My goal is to teach anyone who will listen that without marketing they have little or no chance of truly sharing their wisdom and genius with millions (as opposed to dozens).
And with a true understanding of marketing, the world grows exponentially.
Regarding this global explosion of marketing, I’ve also had the privilege of watching best-in-class thought leaders and marketers from around the globe–who are brothers and sisters in the mastermind groups I am a member of–coming to the United States to learn and share and teach.
And then they go back to their respective countries, where there is such a hunger to learn, and they create game changing events, educational programs, books and courses for those who cannot get the exposure to world class marketing as easily in their native language from top experts.
The unbelievable tidal wave of marketing intelligence going global gives me so much joy since thousands more entrepreneurs, inventors and marketers will get to share their super powers in bolder ways.
I’ve seen this happening in Brazil, France, Hungary, Australia, the U.K., Norway, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Portugal…and I know I am leaving out many other countries that which are on a fast track to marketing at an entirely new level.
2. There are books worth reading which were written before the Internet
The appetite for learning the fundamentals of direct marketing is huge.
Way bigger than I ever imagined.
And this is true both internationally and domestically.
While I know my sampling of the marketing world is only a small slice of everything out there, the hundreds of people who are now on the “back order list” for Gene Schwartz’s classic, Breakthrough Advertising (I’m working hard to get them printed!) tells me that there are some amazing students who want to learn as many rules as they can… like pros….from the pro’s pro.
There has also been an outpouring of support for my book, The Advertising Solution, which profiles 6 of the greatest advertising men of all time, all of whom are no longer with us, and all of whom did their ground-breaking work pre-Internet.
Their portfolios are 100% relevant to all we do today–which is another indicator that there are lots of folks out there who don’t simply want to throw marketing messages and programs against the wall to see what sticks.
I’ve heard from many readers of the book who are using it as a checklist for their sales letters, headlines, subject lines, offers.
This is so gratifying and keeps me focused on bringing those eternal truths of direct marketing forward.
I have a feeling that there are many more books about the fundamentals which are out of print and begging to re-published.
I welcome your suggestions. I have some already that may be in public domain that I can bring back to life.
And as I mentioned above, I am hard at work re-printing two Schwartz (Picasso?) masterpieces, Breakthrough Advertising and The Brilliance Breakthrough.
If you are not on the “back order list” for those, send me an email with “get me on that list!” in the subject line.
3. What about this “new medium” called direct mail?
My third observation in recent months is getting this question from quite a few very successful and large marketers who are exclusively “online”:
“How would you structure a test for us in direct mail (and other offline media)?”
And how smart is that?
You wouldn’t put all of your money into ONE thing (stocks, bonds, real estate, insurance, commodities etc.) would you?
A diversified portfolio is what almost every responsible financial planner recommends…so why would you put all of your marketing dollars into only one medium?
I have heard too many horror stories over the last few years where companies were beholden to one medium (or even one source in the medium called “online” like Facebook, Amazon or AdWords)…and when the folks who own the platform stop liking you for some reason, you are out of business.
Diversifying into direct mail is an “AND” not an “OR”…and I promise I will talk more about the resurgence of direct mail in the coming months.
What I am learning from the best online marketers using offline media to spread their mission even further and to a wider audience are lessons for a lifetime.
And some of the early results are very encouraging.
What’s also been neat taking online marketers into the offline world is that all of the assets they have created digitally (content and promotion) are usable and adaptable offline.
The added special sauce of specific expertise and knowledge from decades of successful marketing campaigns that is all readily available (but not known) to these newer marketers will now create many new ideas and platforms to get their messages to a new audience—perfectly appropriate for that new audience.
This might seem old school to some; but what I am seeing is that it is actually state-of-the-art for those who are boldly testing–and these top online marketers are powerfully becoming multichannel marketers.
My core premise in forming my two mastermind groups–and committing to direct marketing education for the rest of my life–is that multichannel marketing is not a choice but a necessity…and the strategy of having all media working together is as exciting as anything any of us can tackle.
I still own the URL SingleChannelMarketingIsSoBoring.com so don’t try to steal it…it’s on auto renewal just in case you had some evil plans…
So that was 4th quarter 2016 in a nutshell.
I’m off and running breaking many more rules in the 1st quarter already.
I encourage you to do the same.