September 3, 2022

Dan Kennedy is recognized as one of the most iconic marketing gurus over the past half century…he’s still going strong…and with his latest book being released on September 6th, I had the privilege of interviewing him for both my Titans Xcelerator and Titans Mastermind members this past week.

It was 45 minutes of brilliance, with important reminders and lessons regarding the rules of engagement for all direct response marketers.

Note: He was off the phone before we got to the 46th minute…see the item below about “ruthless management…”–he’s not only going strong but he remains 100% consistent with all of his personal rules of engagement. 🙂

Titans Xcelerator member Eric Bakey–a genius at visualizing spoken content–created this “doodle” during the call…and it’s hard to believe what was covered in less than an hour (i.e., less than 46 minutes):

If you can’t read everything in Eric’s masterpiece, I can arrange in a future post to get you a larger and more readable version.

So I can gauge the interest level, let me know if you would like a more readable copy by sending me an email.

Below are my thoughts about the topics we covered (with references to my own writing).

These core principles…and hundreds more…are all in Dan’s new book.

Click here to purchase The Best of No B.S.: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Anthology.

It’s not an affiliate link…just an Amazon link. 🙂

And read on as I dive into four key areas from the book which were discussed in my interview with Dan.

Social media is just media

When it comes to direct response marketing, whatever media you buy, exchange (e.g., affiliates) or beg for, it all needs to eventually pay out with an acceptable return on investment (ROI)…and I emphasize the word eventually for a reason.

You can’t wait forever for media to pay out but you also don’t need to make money immediately either.

And this is true for social media as it is for every other kind of media, online or offline.

Irony: Dan doesn’t (directly) partake in social media (more on that below) …he uses it with others handling the details…but don’t underrate him or underestimate him on being able to teach direct response marketers how to make money with it.

He can even teach us how to use Facebook most effectively, while predicting its demise in the near future…and the jury’s still out on that one.

Simply put, his skillz are universal. 🙂

In fact, once we learn (as direct response marketers) to “do the math” (as Dan always says), any medium, offline or online (which includes social media) can pay out…or can be ignored…as the numbers dictate.

I’ve written a lot about this over the years…please read these two blog posts to dive deeper into social media as…well… media.

And not as a panacea for everything:

  • “LTV is not a YouTube Channel” is about how much you can (or even need to) lose on your first order, subscription, membership etc.  to create a business for the long term…and how “The Bogey Man” taught me this before online marketing was even a gleam in anyone’s eye.
  • “Facebook didn’t invent everything” is another spin on how fundamental direct response principles always rule the day…whether you are advertising on Facebook or on a page in a newspaper (yes, some of those are still around). 

Dan and I also had a meaningful side conversation about the importance of becoming a multichannel marketer (i.e., “the most dangerous number in business is ONE,” in this case marketing only in one medium/channel)…which Dan quickly corrected me by calling this “integrated marketing” rather than multichannel.

I stand corrected.

The difference is subtle…but I believe it is important…because multichannel feels passive while integrated feels active…and I always prefer being active with my multiple, integrated channels. 🙂

I wrote about this in my book Overdeliver in the chapter titled “Multichannel Marketing (I was so naive back then!)…under the heading of, “O to O to O”…online to offline to online etc…and here’s a blog post with an excerpt of that piece from my book.

Ruthless management of time, people…and profits

Dan Kennedy has turned this into a religion.

Many folks who love following Dan hate this about him…but he would maintain it’s also part of why they follow him, learn from him and value him.

And it’s the key to his success.

Whether you are familiar or unfamiliar with Dan’s ruthlessness about how he protects himself and makes it difficult to connect with him directly or personally (like many other gurus), you may not know that he doesn’t own a cell phone, doesn’t use email…and the only way to communicate with him is via fax.

Maybe a Federal Express envelope now and then.

It’s not about him hating people or being averse to technology…although he readily admits that anything to do with the Internet in his business gets handled by others in his virtual organization.

It’s about protecting himself from “noise” that can only disrupt his productivity.

While I could never have the discipline to shut everyone off in my marketing family until they took various steps to connect with me, learning from Dan’s principles of creating a moat around your castle are instructive as an extreme…and implementing some form of protecting yourself is a very good policy.

And he emphasizes that until you know exactly what your time is worth, you can’t practice any form of this ruthless (but often necessary) way of teaching your clients, customers and students how to deal with you…rather than the other way around.

I admire how he does it…although I am not comfortable taking it as far as he does…but he’s taught me a lot about protecting myself from folks who are only “takers” and don’t deserve to be part of my life.

My approach is dictated by creating “relationship capital” over a long period of time (which Dan does as well) … but let’s just say that the interest on his relationship capital account compounds differently.

Not better or worse. Just differently.

My approach comes with some calculated chaos when I let too many potential relationships into my world, most of which are beneficial, while some of which are distractions.

And sadly, some end up being burdens that need to be discarded.

But the goal for me is to never ask something of someone that is not “appropriate.”

I talk in depth about this in “Never ask from nowhere again.”

This philosophy didn’t get me to Dan’s exalted state…but I like to think it got me to a happy place just the same.

Branding is bulls%$t?

“Branding” within a direct response marketing business (or mindset) has been a dirty word forever.

With other dirty words including “publicity,” “public relations,” “awareness advertising” too.

But Dan has a spin on this that puts these potentially non-accountable advertising and marketing terms into perspective.

He said (and I am paraphrasing):

“I would never spend a dime (penny?) on advertising that doesn’t promise a return; however, I will use whatever brand I have (or am establishing) on the measurable advertising I buy.”

The best way I can show you how this works is in this blog post which I titled:

“Branding without getting hives…”

It’s about following the advice of another mentor of mine—Jay Abraham—who says “get everything you can out of all you’ve got.”

And it’s consistent with Dan’s take that you should use your brand to its full potential–especially with people who are already aware of you–rather than throwing non-accountable (i.e., brand awareness) dollars to build it.

Profit is not just cash

When Dan poses the number one question that he believes is the only question to ask in life and business— “Where’s the profit in THAT?” –most people who know Dan from afar assume that his definition of “profit” is “cash.”

Even those who study Dan closely—like me when I was first exposed to him—assume that he is always about the money and little else.

I’ve learned over the years that Dan is often inaccurately viewed as a mercenary but he doesn’t fit the definition of one because his ethics are always the gold standard.

Then again, he always has his eye on the prize…which usually is about a payday.

I always say that I am not a non-profit business…but profit defined as monetary reward is not the only (or ultimate) goal.

Dan made sure during the interview to say that “profit” is not only financial profit; and that you must always deliver on what you promise above all else.

My take on “profit” as something far bigger than cash has been what my career has been all about…and while I have been accused by some as being a “Director of Sales Prevention,” I am proud of how I have marketed by interpreting profit in many other ways.

In “The five ways we get paid…and the fifth is cash” I use a concept taught to me from two other icons of entrepreneurship and marketing, Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish, to express my marketing philosophy.

If you haven’t read it before, I encourage you to read it now by clicking on the title.

Dan Kennedy is one of many Titans of Direct ResponseI’ve had (and still have) the opportunity to work with, share the stage with, learn from…and I hope all of these Titans who I stand on the shoulders ofaren’t getting tired of me borrowing their eternal truths to make sense of this wonderful business.

Like Dan, I’m still going strong too…and if you want to be in the room where it happens the next time a marketing icon tells all, check out the offer in the P.S.

Yes…it’s an offer to send me cash…but both of us will profit well beyond whatever you pay me and whatever you make by paying me…on into the future…by creating a life in addition to a living.



P.S. Who has been a guest at my Titans Mastermind and Titans Xcelerator mastermind meetings over the past 8 years?

Here’s a sampling:

  • Dan Kennedy (but you knew that already) 🙂
  • Jay Abraham (you could have assumed that)
  • Perry Marshall
  • Jeff Walker
  • Russell Brunson
  • Ryan Deiss

But those are only some names you might recognize.

There have been dozens of others you may not have heard of…who are equally dynamic and influential in the world of copywriting and marketing…and you can open yourself up to my world (and 40 years of my relationship capital) …for less than $2,000 a year.

Simple offer:

Go to this page and take a look at Titans Xcelerator, my virtual and very affordable mastermind.

You’ll see that it’s currently closed.

But if you would like to join, simply send me an email with “TXL” in the subject line and I will open up a seat for you (and send you a link to join).

This offer is only available for the next week (until September 10th) and it will not be open again until we run our launch at the end of the year at a higher price.

While Kennedy is one-of-a-kind, so is everyone else I bring on to present on the Titans Xcelerator calls.

And there’s a lot more than just the most impactful speakers presenting.

The coaching, camaraderie and connections inside Titans Xcelerator define this mastermind as one where you come for the information and stay for the inspiration.

Along with concrete ways to build your business.

I know I am not objective but this group is absolutely the best value in masterminds anywhere.

I hope you will check it out here…and join.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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