September 5, 2021

With my Titans Mastermind coming up this week and a vacation coming up the following week, I went into my archives to find two previous posts that got more engagement than most over the past few years…and I’ve updated them for your reading pleasure for this week and next.

Today’s post includes a story that inspired the subject line “Facebook didn’t invent everything” …but please note that I am not a Facebook hater by any means…and in the P.S. and P.P.S. I’ve added an interview I did with Perry Marshall (a pioneer in the world of Facebook advertising) and a special link/offer to the new and enhanced version of the “bible” he wrote on the subject.

All to prove that I don’t hate Facebook. 🙂

A lot of people are on Facebook.


Many are on it…a lot. 

Sharing their most recent meal…offering up advice (whether you want it or not) …showing before and after pictures of their incredible weight loss… how they achieved shiny new 6-pack abs in 6 weeks…or just ranting about something you may agree with…or not. 

Then you either like their posts…ignore them…or unfriend them. 

Of course, there are useful things about Facebook too. 

Those include finding a long-lost friend…or avoiding a long-lost acquaintance who thinks they are your friend. 

And…even selling stuff to a large and (somewhat) targeted audience. 

That last one is why I participate…and I don’t even sell that much. 

On a recent Titans Xcelerator group call, we had a master’s degree level presentation from a Facebook savant…all of the current opportunities to use it most profitably as an advertising medium …and the traps to avoid…in order to take full advantage of this ever-expanding platform. 

I must say I was amazed at what is possible right now…and I am 100% certain that I don’t want to try any of it at home (i.e., it’s not a do-it-yourself project for me). 

Why bother when I have a checkbook (and a network of experts) as the key items in my marketing toolbox? 

That comes from the training of having only a checkbook in my literal toolbox (the one for hammers and screwdrivers)–I can “install” a lightbulb but that’s about as far as it goes. Let’s just say I am not Mr. Handy around the house. 

So, what about that checkbook in my marketing toolbox? 

I can read results from a Facebook campaign to determine if it worked or not and act on it accordingly…but I hire a professional to get the job done. 

In both instances–whether buying Facebook ads or fixing anything around the house–I suck at these tasks and they actually give me headaches (which then cause problems). 

But as Dan Sullivan, the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world, says: 

“If you have a problem and can write a check to resolve it, you don’t have a problem.” 

For many of us, that goes for cashing in on the opportunities and challenges of Facebook advertising. 

I know many of you are thinking of sending me proposals now for all sorts of media buying opportunities—I’ve given you an implied invitation: 

A blank check from a serial direct marketer has your mouths watering, right? 🙂 

But it’s not as lucrative as you think so don’t bother. 

However, when it comes to things I don’t do well and things I don’t like to do, that’s how I roll. 

It’s all part of my retirement plan:

I’m retired from things I don’t do well (like buying Facebook media); I’m retired from things I don’t like to do (I can finally “not do that stuff” after over 40 years of toiling in the marketing trenches); and I’m (mostly) retired from people I don’t want to hang around with anymore (present company excluded of course). 

But still…no proposals please. 

Where am I going here? 

I want to tell you today where babies come from and here’s a story to illustrate just that: 

Two years ago, I was on a podcast and the interviewer got me talking about lists and list segmentation and he coerced me to take a deep dive into the topic of “regression modelling.” 

“Regression modeling” is one of those things I wouldn’t do well and I wouldn’t like to do it even if I could do it. 

However, it was a building block of our marketing operation at Boardroom (where I worked for 34 years) and one of our not-so-secret secret weapons. 

And when I say the podcast host did a deep dive, he kept digging and digging until it got way too granular for the audience…but hey, it was his show. 

Simply put, so as not to bore you, regression modelling is the technique used to statistically predict response rates before mailing names on large databases (and large individual lists), sometimes modelling millions of names at a time with incredibly predictable results. 

It’s a technique I used throughout my career (with the help of a top-notch statistician who was worth every penny) …and a technique that has been around a very long time…yes, even before the Internet. 

It’s also one of those things you shouldn’t do yourself ..although you still need to know how to apply the results. 

I was not equipped to build the models but I could apply them with expertise I had learned from experts, leading to great results. 

And it still works. Imagine that. 

I was surprised the interviewer decided to go down this path in our discussion since I was sure we had lost the audience. 

But it was an interesting discussion and a topic so few people in the online world today ever ask me about so I went with the flow…and then he posted the interview on Facebook. 

At least one person listened to it…and his response was both flattering and telling: “

Wow! This interview with Brian Kurtz is fantastic. In it he talks about this incredible modelling technique he used earlier in his career. And I thought Facebook invented lookalike models. Mind blown!” 

I am not sharing this with you to make light of anything or anyone…but it illustrates an important point. 

That is, having a deep understanding of something like regression modelling techniques which are far more predictable than “lookalike models” (a topic for another day), can only make you better as you buy ads from lookalike models created on Facebook. 

This is not a conversation about the “good old days.” 

It’s about seeking the original source of everything you work on currently to create new mental models for the future. 

Pun intended. 

In the above example, knowing where babies come from (i.e., modelling on lists)–which goes back to at least the 1960’s at Reader’s Digest–will enable you to ask different (and more probing) questions of your Facebook agency/media buyer on the models they build for you. With better results as well. 

And it will lead to ideas you never would have thought possible. 

Stuff like this happens every day with my own clients and members of my mastermind groups, and with some of the greatest online marketers I know and love. 

Having historical perspectives on the fundamentals of direct marketing always leads to new insights (and higher levels of success) while implementing a current, state-of-the-art technique. 

It’s not nice to know. It’s need to know. 

It’s why chapter two of my book, Overdeliver, is titled “Original Source,” which is the setup chapter for everything that comes later in the book. 

(Listen to the interview in the P.S. where Perry Marshall and I go deep on this subject.) 

It’s also the most repetitive chapter according to one of my one star reviews on Amazon. 

I guess I wanted to emphasize it…but I agree with her criticism. 

I will also wear it like a badge of honor…because haters gonna hate…so love them. 

And repetition leads to retention…if you don’t believe me, check out all of these “scholarly articles” on that subject. 🙂 

I am dedicated to this mission because I am often the elder statesman in most places I roam in this awesome industry (i.e., I am often the oldest person in the room). 

If my mentor Marty Edelston was still alive, he would chime in with this (which he told me when he turned 80): 

“I love getting old because I get so smart.” 

I don’t assume I am as smart as Marty or any other 60+ year old direct marketer. 

But I can tell you I have paid close attention to everything I’ve done and everything I’ve learned over 4 decades which makes me valuable to many…or at least a curious relic to others. 

It’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Or…maybe some see me like this (which I am OK with):

For whatever reason, I get into those rooms with a “golden ticket,” because I am seen as a “wise sage” by some (or an “older gentleman” which is how someone referred to me at an event I spoke at a couple of years ago).

Or maybe I get in simply because I can tell a joke or two.

And once I am in those rooms, I am a sponge for knowledge and I spend my time being a fly on the wall to the state-of-the-art first hand…and bringing it all back home to my mastermind groups and consulting clients.

Throughout my career, it has been my duty to share all I have learned in direct marketing by teaching it…to be the bridge that connects all of that accumulated wisdom to the present…and let folks smarter than me connect the dots and create “one plus one equals three.”

I finally realized that it was not the stork who brought us direct marketing fundamentals.

And my parents didn’t play a role in this part of my education either. 🙂



P.S. The idea for Chapter 2 of Overdeliver on original source came to pass from this interview I did with Perry Marshall shortly after my first book, The Advertising Solution, came out.

Click here to take a listen…Perry takes it further than I ever could have…and together we come up with some neat perspectives on the importance of original sources.

P.P.S. Speaking of Perry, do you know that he published the original “bible” on Facebook Advertising?

Warning: This is a long P.P.S. but it’s definitely worth reading, especially if you are interested (or concerned) about the future of Facebook.

To show that I hold no grudges that Facebook didn’t invent everything, and that I still have a healthy respect for everything Facebook represents, I participated in the awesome reboot of The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising, by contributing a chapter.

This new edition is written and compiled by my friend and rock star media buyer Bob Regnarus (under the watchful eye of Perry of course).

But Bob didn’t need much supervision.

It’s less a reboot and more a total overhaul, which includes the most bleeding-edge tactics and strategies for using Facebook as a marketing solution for so many products and services.

With many broader insights into all other media from industry leaders.

Other guest chapters were written by Jeff Walker, Ryan Deiss, Molly Pittman, Perry Marshall et. al.…and we all gave interviews (including me) which is part of the bonus package for buying the book here.

Bob enlightened me regarding the history of Facebook (which was not the convincer to get me to participate)–he had me at “hello” for that.

But what he told me added to the intrigue (and original sourcing of Facebook) and gave me more reason to be involved with this excellent new edition.

Not everything below is good news…Facebook as “big brother” comes with lots of responsibility…from them and also for us as marketers.

I like his perspective as food for thought.

Navigating this medium is essential in marketing today and this book tells you everything you need to know to take advantage of its phenomenal engine…but also not to abuse its power.

Here are Bob’s intriguing and potentially controversial thoughts…I’d love to know your thoughts too:

Facebook did not build their site for advertisers. They built it for regular users and for themselves.

The hottest young college grads Facebook hires from the world’s top universities don’t say, “I want to work at Facebook to help them maximize ad revenue.”

Please know that even despite Facebook’s massive gains in the ad department, the company doesn’t exist simply to send you customers.

Regardless of why Zuckerberg built Facebook or what high ideals his staffers may hold, the personal demographic information Facebook collects is tremendously valuable to advertisers.

Facebook is not stupid. It is more closely connected with its advertisers than any other platform on the planet. Facebook visionaries already have years’ worth of additional ideas to implement.

How do we know this?

We see the ideas publicly volunteered every day on Facebook Pages by Facebook Advertisers.

Facebook knows more about you than your husband or wife.

They know what sites you visit; they know a great deal of what you buy; and they have bought data from all kinds of other companies and appended it to their database so they know what you respond to.

Facebook even has suicide prevention tools, and A.I. (artificial intelligence) which may detect depression way before doctors or parents.

They know the one million other people in the world who are most like you, like the same things you like, and buy the same things you buy.

Adult supervision on Facebook is minimal, which is probably why it is so absolutely brilliant.

The company aggressively hires fresh college graduates—the brightest college grads on the planet—but still fresh graduates.

These are the smart kids—smarter than you, smarter than us.

Some have never had a “real” job outside of Facebook.

They have never tried to live off revenue generated by an ad. They do not feel your pain.

Remember that. It is really important.

To use Facebook’s paid advertising tools effectively, it is important to understand just how much its creators and designers are not really trying to help you.

Fortunately, they do need cash, and we do need clicks, so we can get some great work done together. We focus on the clicks and they focus on connecting the world.

Facebook has the potential to be highly relevant for decades to come.

Our rule of thumb is the founder’s rule:

When you have a dynamic and visionary founder running a business, it is better to bet on that business continuing to be a success for as long as you see that founder at the helm.

We suggest that as long as you see Mark Zuckerberg engaged at Facebook, you should plan on Facebook being a dynamic and growing, competitive place to advertise.

I really appreciated Bob’s insights above especially since it’s somewhat counter to what many believe (re: Zuckerberg in particular) …but it’s a positive spin that I want to believe…for now anyway.

I certainly thought they were worth sharing as part of this post.

That the “…creators and designers are not really trying to help you…” feels right for the most part…but high ideals among inventors and innovators are not always 100% pure and they don’t last forever in most instances.

But that has nothing to do with why you need this book.

Whether Bob is right or wrong…or somewhere in-between…getting this book is a no brainer and belongs on every marketer’s bookshelf.

There are fundamentals of direct response marketing in it that go way beyond Facebook…while letting you settle into this medium with integrity.

You should plan on Facebook being around as a “…dynamic and growing, competitive place to advertise…” for a long time to come; but even if it went away tomorrow (note that Dan Kennedy says it won’t be around by 2025…or some such date in the near future), I would still recommend this book because of those fundamentals of marketing contained within it.

I don’t see any downside in that…only upside.

Note that I get nothing for this “pitch”—no affiliate commission, no additional recognition beyond donating my time to the chapter I wrote (and the interview)…and I am proud to be a part of this unique book.

I suggest you grab a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising.

Click here:

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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