August 29, 2021

Today’s post is an attempt to bring two concepts together:

1) Sometimes there’s something to do with marketing connections and data.


2) Sometimes there’s nothing to do with marketing connections and data.

When there’s something to do with marketing data

This past week I was handed some data regarding a copywriting site that was responsible for referring a huge amount of organic traffic to Breakthrough Advertising…resulting in many buyers over a short period of time…without any preplanning on my part, or knowledge of the site, or setting up an affiliate link.

As most of you know, I don’t dabble in affiliate marketing with Breakthrough Advertising based on my agreement with Gene Schwartz’s wife Barbara…and with a price point of $125 (the lowest price available anywhere), the royalty to Barbara, and the printing and shipping costs, there isn’t much left for an affiliate to make much money.

But that didn’t stop this site– “Soy Copywriter”–from doing something that triggered so much interest in this magnificent book.

I can’t speak to the claims they make, including that they have, “…the proven way to make a living from writing and creating a life for you through copywriting (even if you have no previous experience in digital marketing, sales or advertising).”

All I know is that they have good taste and good sense to recommend books (at least one!) to do just that. 🙂

And they aren’t alone.

People like my good friend Ramit Sethi (“I Will Teach You To Be Rich”) and new friend, Derek Johanson (CopyHour), among many others, have recommended Breakthrough Advertising to their online families with no promise (or even a request) to share in any compensation…and I even had to find out from others that they were recommending it.

Their goals align with mine: To share the most valuable marketing and copywriting resources, materials and books with our respective tribes whether we make money on those recommendations or not.

And despite not exchanging cash, there is priceless value gained on both sides of these relationships.

My good friend Michael Fishman just said this about the concept Lifetime Value (which is relevant here):

The term “lifetime value” [LTV] is about what you can GET from the customer [mostly in terms of money or something quantitative].

[A better definition]: To indicate value to and for the customer for as long as you have them, which restores congruence.

While I never thought of LTV solely as a “calculation” inside of what Michael goes on to call “marketing economics,” the fact is that most marketers only think of Lifetime Value that way.

But since Life is Long, so too are the monetary and non-monetary calculations of Lifetime Value.

Back to “Soy Copywriter” …whose founder, Javi Pastor, was probably blindsided by my email letting him know about the organic traffic he was sending to me.

Not only because he wasn’t expecting anything in return for recommending the most important book on copywriting ever written (as a service to his online family) …but also because I don’t think he speaks English all that well (i.e., “Soy Copywriter” is a copywriting training program for the Spanish speaking world).

No matter. The language of copywriting has no boundaries or borders.

His English-speaking assistant responded to my email with a polite, “we don’t understand what you want from us” (my words) …and that the referrals were a result of a launch they did…to which I responded:

I am not looking for anything in particular from you but a lifelong friendship, a reciprocal acknowledgment of our obvious synergies…and to explore things we can do together in the future if that is in the cards.

And…to express my gratitude for promoting Breakthrough Advertising to your audience with no benefit except to make available this masterpiece to your very special online family.

Spreading the gospel of Gene Schwartz around the world (we have sold books in over 50 countries!) is now a lifelong ambition for me…so thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me with that mission.

I then suggested that she and Javi take a look at my site with all of the free content on copywriting and marketing…and I invited them to use anything on the site freely (even my weekly blogs) if applicable to their training and coaching programs for their students.

I also offered my other products at no charge like the Bill Jayme and Jim Rutz swipe files…and I even hinted at the possibility of translating Breakthrough Advertising into Spanish (since I have recently made a deal to have the book translated into Italian).

Just getting the “LTV calculation” in motion I guess… 🙂

Even if nothing comes of this relationship after my follow up, nothing would surely have come of it by just calculating the revenue from the referrals that “Soy Copywriter” sent to Titans Marketing.

Well…there would be a few dollars made by me, but the money is irrelevant in the context of playing the long game we are both playing.

The lesson?

You must be in action all the time…not simply to make more money (which is nice) …but to create friends for life, give what you have with no expectation of a return…and to quote Michael Fishman again, “…let’s continue to bring equal rigor in framing what we do, [with] our focus on lifetime impact to the customer [rather than on lifetime value with value representing an amount of money or something quantitative].”

When there’s nothing to do with marketing data

Now I will give you a contrarian example of “marketing data that requires no additional action on the part of the marketer” …not the norm…but it happens.

Many years ago, I was handed some data about Bride’s Magazine…not because it was the demographic I was going after…but as a lesson in renewals from a wise mentor.

The lesson centered around “when renewals are an afterthought.”

After all, most brides only subscribe for approximately a year to the magazine and then they are done…that is, brides subscribe before their wedding but not after.

I guess with a 50% divorce rate there could be a reengagement campaign to those going on a second marriage and wedding…but that doesn’t seem like a productive use of our marketing talents. 🙂

The lesson continued by using Bride’s Magazine as somewhat of a non-renewable product…but not letting our marketing engines go silent because of that…by creating products and services for newlyweds once their subscription expired.

(Note: This is similar to the Sesame Street magazines in the children’s market, which developed different publications to keep kids and parents engaged with age-appropriate content.)

Then I read a peculiar statistic regarding Bride’s Magazine:

It was discovered that there was a large number of newsstand (i.e., single copy) sales among inner city, teenage girls…repeated year over year…with no ongoing subscriptions.

The data also showed that most of these girls were young teens, not planning a wedding, but buying the magazine a “dream book.”

What would you, as a shrewd marketer, do with this information?

What if I said you should do nothing (except continue to make sure the urban newsstands were stocked with the latest issue of Bride’s)?

I know this sounds like blasphemy from a marketer who never left a potential customer to die on the vine.

But in this case, by doing nothing, it’s a way to reap the benefits without throwing good money at an opportunity that was attained with more luck than skill.

More specifically, it is probably a waste of money and time trying to find this new universe of readers on a responsive list…and then coming up with appropriate copy to sell the magazine to these readers with a completely different copy platform and offer.

I’m all for developing new copy platforms and offers for new audiences…but this one seems more difficult to reach, whether online or offline. And with a limited chance of success.

Turning these single copy buyers into multi-year subscriptions only sounds like a good idea.

But I fear it is a bad idea, and to quote Macbeth, an idea, “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”

These girls are buying Bride’s as a “dream book” (for the most part) rather than planning a wedding—and the single copy buying behavior is consistent with that. They are not typical long term (i.e., one year in this case) subscribers.

The odds of getting any of them to subscribe for a year (or more) …assuming you could compile a list of them…seems like a dead end.

Does that mean you ignore these newsstand sales?

Of course not. Based on the size of the market in key areas where this demographic resides, you double down on inventory. That’s what the publisher did.

Single copy sales, in the days before digital content, were more profitable per copy and the publishers always gladly accepted those sales.

But was there any extravagant marketing plan developed to penetrate this newfound demographic further?

The good news was that the answer to that was “no.”

The publisher wisely accepted the windfall from this surprising and enthusiastic audience…and chalked it up to a happy accident of content meeting a new universe of buyers that they never could have predicted in advance…with no additional follow up.

And…no elaborate marketing funnel needed. 🙂

Sometimes marketing works this way.

Not every action needs a reaction.

However, don’t use this example as an excuse to begin getting lazy exploring marketing opportunities anywhere and everywhere.

You must always have your antennae tuned into your current audience and potential new audiences…but be aware some new audiences have more potential than others.

You’ve heard this before but it bears repeating:

Not everything we do, in marketing (and life), is a revenue event…but everything we do is a relationship event.

While most relationship events require intentionality, not all relationship events are created equal.

Some simply require showing up and being there.



P.S. One of the highlight events every year (when there isn’t a pandemic) is the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) Bootcamp…THE event for copywriters, designers and business owners in our industry…covering all things direct response…for experts and novices alike.

While the Bootcamp still can’t go “live and in person” for 2021, they have set up a virtual event like none other…actually two events in consecutive weeks…and if you go to this special page, you will receive a $1,500 discount for both.

But that offer expires on August 31st so grab your ticket right now.

AWAI has its roots planted in the soil of copywriting royalty…from its founders…to the hundreds of speakers who have graced the stage at Bootcamp over the years…and inside their course and seminar offerings.

This year, beginning on October 12th, AWAI will hold two events in one over two weeks:

October 12-15 is the full Bootcamp experience with presentations from the best-of-the-best…


October 20-22 is an additional 3 days of a more interactive/workshop experience with many of the same speakers…individually and on panels…where you can ask anything and share your own genius too.

You’ll not only hear from and access presenters and marketers, there will also be numerous opportunities to access jobs and assignments from top shelf clients.

And I will be participating throughout, delivering a presentation on October 15th (tentative date and time TBD) and sitting in on other selected events on October 20th.

Go to and register right now to get $1,500 OFF the regular price for all six (6) days of AWAI’s 2021 Bootcamp.

This is one you won’t want to miss.

Hope to see you there!

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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