Intimacy is much more important that salesmanship. True words from a Marketing genius.
I have been in the marketing, pr and advertising business for more than 35 years. And in all that time, I’ve read my share of books on advertising.And guess what, now with the internet on the roll, I’m at it again. That’s why I get a bit miffed when I end up in conversations with some young punks who have never even heard of the greatest minds in the industry such as David Ogilvy or Claude Hopkins, let alone aspire to read what these truly great innovators had to say. I love confident people, but I despise arrogance based on ignorance.
Claude Hopkins wrote a little book called “Scientific Advertising around the time my dad was born in 1923; 89 pages of pure unadulterated wisdom and perception of the human condition. He wrote about original stuff, not about the corporate protocol that has any marketing person repeat the words of his bosses.
Even among educated professionals there is an alarming lack of specific knowledge about the principles and practices of direct-response marketing these days.
And honestly, you will fail as marketer if your decisions are based on hand-me-down protocols. The first thing you need to do is understand the science behind what you are doing. Claude Hopkins’s Scientific Advertising was first published in 1923 and even though you might wonder whether a book published more than 80 yeas ago has anything relevant to say to the marketer of today, but believe me this book is the brainchild of a super master marketer, the accumulation of a lifetime of experience boiled down to 89 fast-reading pages.
Hopkins was a mentor to legendary Madison Avenue advertising guru David Ogilvy. Ogilvy is often called the father of modern advertising. But he learned most of what he knew from Hopkins.
Hopkins was the first one to argue that advertising has only one purpose: to make sales. Clever and entertaining advertising might win awards, but the company that pays for such advertising is wasting its money.
Hopkins was also the first one to preach the importance of knowing the customer and emphasizing customer benefits rather than product features. The public doesn’t care about your product or about you, he boldly asserted. What they care about is themselves.
He was also one of the first to argue that long copy will almost always perform better than short copy. That was a revolutionary thing to say at the time. And even today, many marketers – including Internet marketers – have a hard time believing it. We keep telling ourselves to keep it short and to the point, yet survey upon survey proves that long copy outsells short copy every time.
Hopkins also recognized the power of advertorials – advertisements that have the look and feel of editorial. This is still one of the most powerful and least understood techniques of direct-response marketing. Hopkins had it figured out 90 years ago.
One of the major problems with the advertising on the Internet is the proliferation of fancy layouts and eye-popping graphics. Hopkins explained why that is likely to diffuse the message and reduce sales. Yet advertising professionals today continue to make this basic mistake, because they have a hidden artist complex. Flash websites have all but lost the war on conversion and sales.
Another gem Hopkins elaborated on was the importance of plain language. And yet another one: When writing advertising copy, never write to a group of people (even though you are writing to thousands). Imagine that you are writing to a single person and make the copy feel like it is personal.
And the one that hits the nail squarely on the head, was Hopkins’s comment on intimacy. “Intimacy,” he said, “is much more important than salesmanship.” I am willing to bet that nine out of 10 people who read that have no real idea what it means.
But I can tell you with certainty that the most important page on any website, is the one that says “ABOUT”. It’s where eyeballs congregate and get intimate before hard earned money is exchanging hands.