March 22, 2019

Chapter 2 of my new book Overdeliver: Build a Business for a Lifetime Playing the Long Game in Direct Response Marketing is simply titled “Original Source.”

This is a topic I’ve spoken about before and it is one that I think is super important for all marketers, copywriters and entrepreneurs…and that’s why I devoted an entire chapter to it in the book. 

And it’s not just because I have been doing this direct marketing “stuff” for almost 40 years and I like talking about the past.

The chapter begins with one of my favorite quotes:

Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist

And today I would like to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Overdeliver with some additional information I have not shared with you previously:


This chapter’s opening quote is often attributed to Pablo Picasso . . . and the Dalai Lama. . . and Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. It’s ironic, when we’re talking about the importance of original source, that we can’t attribute the quote to its original source (i.e., the person who said it). 

Every lesson I learned throughout my career at Boardroom, and everything I’ve done since (including running high-end mastermind groups and consulting with companies to help them implement direct response principles in their marketing), has been based on original source material from the greatest marketers who ever lived. My first book, The Advertising Solution, profiled six of those greatest marketers, and their fingerprints are all over this book too. Believe it or not, all the marketing you’ve ever done is probably based on something they pioneered, even if you’ve never heard of them before. 

When you recognize and understand the fundamentals of any field, you’re better equipped to innovate and break the rules of the particular game you’re playing. Marketing is no different. If you don’t know the fundamentals, you might accidentally break the rules and get lucky, but you can’t rely on getting lucky.


Building a business that will keep its customers for a lifetime requires much more than the occasional successful fluke. And when you have a deep, intrinsic appreciation of the principles and strategies that were developed over the years by the titans of direct marketing, you get to stand on their shoulders. Taking what they learned (and proved over and over again), you build on foundations they laid, and what you create will be much more solid because these principles are timeless. They are still 100 percent relevant to today’s marketplace.


This might be obvious to you, but just in case it’s not, having a deep understanding of the fundamentals of direct response marketing from the pioneers who first implemented them will enable you to achieve better results with any and all marketing programs you work on today and into the future. You will be able to serve your customers in powerful, profitable ways without having to repeat the painful learning curves and costly errors that these entrepreneurs and marketers suffered before you. 

Rosser Reeves, one of the greatest ad men who ever lived (he developed the idea of the unique selling proposition (USP) and coined the unforgettable M&M’s “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” slogan), wrote about why it’s so important to under- stand the fundamentals in the introduction to his landmark book Reality in Advertising:

This book attempts to formulate certain theories about advertising—many of them quite new, and all of them based on twenty years of the most intensive research. 

Before the ink is dry, some man will sit down and write a campaign that ignores every word contained here. What is more, this campaign will work. 

However, this does not invalidate this book. 

The croupier at a roulette wheel knows that at some moment a player may violate all the rules of probability. If the wheel spins long enough, some number (say, thirteen) will come up twenty times in a row. 

But roulette wheels, in the long run, do not lose money on exceptions, nor do advertising agencies or their clients, in the long run, make money on them. Agencies and clients, like actuaries, must invoke the laws of probability and determine (out of hundreds of campaigns) how they can make these laws work to their benefit. 

As you will see, when the laws of probability are observed, it is possible to add a heavy percentage to every advertising dollar. Nor will this procedure rule out genius or fail to give genius full room to exercise its rich and golden talents. 

Reality in Advertising was written in 1961, which makes Rosser Reeves one of those original sources of innovation and wisdom. When The Advertising Solution was published, I did a long inter- view with marketing icon Perry Marshall [please see the P.S. of this blog post], and unexpectedly, we got into the weeds on original source as a core concept, not just talking about the legends who came before us but about what they taught us for today. While the six legends I profiled are considered the fathers of modern advertising, in reality they were all direct marketers (i.e., they understood the importance of measuring everything), even if they were trapped in the bodies of what we thought were general advertisers (those who only focus on image advertising). Perry’s insights on Rosser Reeves, and how he thinks about learning from the best, are worth sharing here too, since Perry agrees that all marketers today owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who came before us:

[Reeves] was the first person to define the unique selling proposition [USP]. If you go read his book, it’s relatively short, but it has so many dense ideas and says so much in such a short space of time that you really need to know. . . . It’s like eating a bunch of pecan pie. You feel it’s a bit much; you can’t eat giant chunks of it; you need to absorb it. 

This is not the way most people want to consume information, but if you want to be a master, you’ll seek out the original source and you’ll really be a student of that original guy, not a student of a student of a student of the guy.

To become a world-class marketer, to master the art and science of building businesses for a lifetime, you must first and foremost be a student—a student of human psychology and of the core principles of direct response marketing. 


If you want to go deeper on this subject, you will be able to do that when you have my book after April 9th. The excerpt above is only the first few pages of Chapter 2. 

However, I encourage you to pre-order the book today so you will be among the first to have it after it is released–and you can immediately access the amazing bonuses and resources at: 

You can also go to a previous post I did about this subject of “original source”–and if you scroll down on that post, you will see a play button to an interview I did with Perry Marshall where I gathered a lot of the information for Chapter 2 of Overdeliver.

Click here for that post and interview. 


I hope you agree after going deep with me on the subject of “original source” that this is an exercise that is worth your time and effort as you continue to explore all that is new (and state-of-the-art) in the future. 






P.S. Did you know that “Overdeliver” is not a word? 

I think that is what attracted me most to it as the title of my new book. 

I have no delusions of grandeur but since it’s not a word, I’d love to make it a mini-movement. 

Since telling you last week that the resource page went live, I want to thank the hundreds of you who have already pre-ordered the book–and grabbed the unprecedented package of content at 

You should definitely buy the book there—just follow the instructions on the page so you will have the book as soon as it is released after April 9th—and you will also be able to download the bonuses today. 

You will feel overdelivered to…I guarantee it. 

Also: Many of you asked me after you saw the page and then downloaded the 11 bonuses why I created such a page…where the “extras” seemed like “way too much” for simply buying a $17 book. 

In response, there are two reasons: 

1) I felt it was important to “over deliver” with the additional content for buyers of the book…to be congruent with the title and also with my business philosophy. I also want to reward my online family for their loyalty…and hopefully they will pay it forward by inviting more great people into my online family (see P.P.S. below).        


2) The www.OverdeliverBook.compage ended up being the perfect way to honor so many of my mentors and share their brilliance with you. Most of the folks who contributed to the resource page are mentioned in the book too.  (In fact, “Bonus #9” of 11 is video of a full day live event I did with the aforementioned Perry Marshall, where attendees paid $2,500 a seat…and it’s yours free on the resource page when you pre-order the book). 



P.P.S. If you like the resource page (and if you don’t, I might have to unsubscribe you!), can you please share it with your own lists, online or offline families, your groups on social media–anyone who you think might benefit from the book and all hard-to-find and useful content I have made available?: 

While I don’t have much margin on a $17 book to do affiliates (understatement), I think you will make some friends in your respective online families when you let them know about this content–content available to them, in exchange for the purchase of what I think is very valuable book–100% overdelivered (also not a word!), all free…and just for them. 

Let me know what you think too…and what you hear from your respective tribes once you offer it to them. 

I may not keep all 11 bonuses available once the book is launched after April 9th so please share the site as soon as you can.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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