- No comments
Wait … Who is Joe? A former CIA agent turned copywriter, Chairman and founder of BluBlocker sunglasses, was the first to use and pioneer the use of toll-free numbers to take credit card orders by phone, introduced the first pocket calculators, author of 6 books, awarded Direct Marketing Man of the Year and the Maxwell Sackheim award.
Plus, he is an all-around nice guy, who has allowed me to pick his brain for many years. For that I am forever grateful to him. He kindly agreed to answer the following questions for me.
Question 1: We live in a digital, mobile age. So aren’t print communications old fashioned and out of date? Do they work any more?
Joe: “If done right with a winning product, print can be an excellent way to reach your market. So if you have a winning product on the internet, chances are it will do well in print.”.
Question 2: What is the secret to your success in selling people products that are nice to have, but that they don’t actually HAVE to have?
Joe: “You make the product interesting and a way to solve a problem they may have. Mix in a little curiosity and appeal to their desire to be the first on the block to own the item. Since each product is different and has a different appeal zero in on the strongest appeal that product might have for your customer.”
Question 3: What is the advantage of sending someone a snail mail letter vs. an e-mail?
Joe: “People receive so many e-mails that they spend little time bothering to read them all. Whereas with a direct mail letter you can target the recipient, cause them to open the letter and get them involved with the message. If a product sells well via e-mail, chances are it will do even better with direct mail if all the direct mail principles are followed.”
Question 4: Given that every business has a web site, do companies still need printed marketing materials? If so, does the design and quality of the printed piece matter?
Joe: “I always back up any successful website offer with a printed piece. The design of the piece does matter. If you are selling an expensive product, you want a high quality piece that reflects the nature of the product you are selling.”
Question 5: What were some of your most effective ads and their headlines?
Joe: “One of my favorites was the headline ‘Laser Beam Mouse Trap’ which didn’t sell a thing. One of our best selling products the headline read, ‘Miracle Fuzz’ which sold like crazy. What I found out was that if the product is a good one, it doesn’t matter that much if you have the right headline. Product is key.”
Question 6: What was your method of picking so many products that turned out to be winners?
Joe: “The key was testing. Out of ten products I tested, very often only a few were winners. In fact I had so many more failures than winners. Direct marketing is often counter-intuitive. What you think works, often doesn’t and what you think shouldn’t work does. The key is testing.”
Question 7: Was everything you did successful or did you have failures? What if I do a marketing campaign and it fails? What should I do – rework it?
Joe: “I have had more failures than you could imagine. If I ran a test and it failed chances are the product would not succeed even if I tweaked it. Product is king and your tests are simply to figure out which ones work and which ones don’t and to focus on your winners and discard those losers.”
For any person in a position of marketing Joe’s books are must-reads, offering valuable principles that stand the test of time. You can find them on Amazon.
Joe’s four most popular titles:
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word
Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick