59 replies
#1 - Common mantra of most internet marketers is "the money is in the relationship with the list"

#2 - Common mantra of most copywriters is that branding is expensive and largely ineffective

#3 - The definition of branding is "The relationship between a customer and the company"

#4 - Every top Fortune 100 company in the world uses branding

#5 - Amazon and Google are two of the most widely recognized brands online, and are also two of the most profitable companies

#6 - Google has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever

#7 - Amazon has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever

#8 - The top performing online retailers and sellers have almost no copywriting

#9 - Marlboro cigarettes, the most popular cigarette brand in the world, uses almost entirely images to sell their product.

#10 - Coca Cola, one of the best selling products in history, uses no long form sales copy

Let me ask you something, if copywriting worked so well...

Why arent direct marketers ruling the business world?

You could say, its because institutional corporations are run by idiots but if thats true... WHY arent those who stick to direct marketing the top entreprenuers in the world? Why dont products done via direct marketing stomp the piss out of companies doing branding?

Why doesnt a DM come along and take away cokes market share? Why doesnt someone with direct marketing experience take down McDonalds tomorrow?

Its because they cant. Otherwise they would have done it already.

Theres a reason why the top companies in the world, the richest ones all use branding. Its because it works. If it didnt work, then direct marketing companies would be ruling the business world. But they dont, because money talks and bullsh*t walks.

At the end of the day, the richest, most successful companies in the world all have powerful brands and dont need to use one ioda of sales copy to sell their products. If you dont believe me, ask yourself the last time you read a salesletter that brought you into walmart or starbucks.
#couple #things
  • Profile picture of the author feedtherightwolf
    Nott sure what I am going to get out of this, but I sure am glad tthat I've read it. Subscribing for future comments.
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  • Profile picture of the author seoed
    hm, most of the long sales letters cover products or services which are not directed to the broad market. so, at least because of this there is a certain need to clarify why that certain product shall benefit us.

    branding is of course of high value but you can only "brand" people your brand if you have your pockets full.

    colas or hamburgers dont need to clarify what they are. we already know it. so, the only possibility to sell us their products is to convince us (or sometimes subliminally manipulate us) with their "emotional" ads. thats how branding works nowadays.

    but you cannot evoke emotions if you want to sell the new backlink strategy
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    Oh man, when I read that title "You've been lied to" I thought I was in for another bad network marketing pitch :-0
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    • Profile picture of the author betteseo
      Originally Posted by Vincenzo Oliva View Post

      Oh man, when I read that title "You've been lied to" I thought I was in for another bad network marketing pitch :-0
      i wish this forum had a "like" button rather than a "thanks" button cuz I like this very much.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
    Wow, there's a bunch of these "lies" I can take apart.


    Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

    #4 - Every top Fortune 100 company in the world uses branding

    #5 - Amazon and Google are two of the most widely recognized brands online, and are also two of the most profitable companies
    Almost every Fortune 100 company... Google and Amazon... they are all publicly traded companies. Completely different animal than privately owned companies as investors can drive up the value of a company simply by driving the share prices up.

    Case in point: Amazon's IPO was in 1994 but they did not turn their first profit until the fourth quarter of 2001: $5 million or 1¢ per share, on revenues of more than $1 billion.

    7 years to turn a profit wouldn't fly with most stocks but Amazon's share price kept climbing and climbing as more and more investors kept buying their shares.

    Google's IPO in 2004 raised over 1.6 billion in revenue alone... which makes it a bit easier to do some branding. Yahoo buying and then shutting down the #2 search engine around the same time (Overture) also helped increase Google's popularity.


    #6 - Google has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever

    #7 - Amazon has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever
    Wonder what their investor prospectus packages might have been before their IPO? Maybe a salesletter to sell the idea of investing their company?

    #8 - The top performing online retailers and sellers have almost no copywriting
    Got any proof on this one?

    Here's one you've overlooked... Hop on Ebay and take a look at all the auction ads written using copywriting. That's a multi-billion dollar company who gets a big chunk of their revenue for people buying and selling stuff on their site... transactions fueled by ads... written using basic copywriting skills.

    #9 - Marlboro cigarettes, the most popular cigarette brand in the world, uses almost entirely images to sell their product.
    Ever hear of the Marlboro Man?

    Courtesy of Wikipedia...

    "The Marlboro Man is a figure used in tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. In the United States, where the campaign originated, it was used from 1954 to 1999. The Marlboro Man was first conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954."

    The TV networks banned all cigarette ads in 1970 so Marlboros were primarily advertised in magazine PRINT ads and advertising billboards.

    And Leo Burnett... only one of the most famous admen ever. If you ever read David Oglivy's book On Advertising, Burnett was profiled in it.


    #10 - Coca Cola, one of the best selling products in history, uses no long form sales copy
    Publicly traded company that sells a caffeine and sugar-laded product, two substances that have been scientifically proven to be addictive.

    Add in licensing/partnership deals with fast food chains, restaurants, pro sports teams, and more... they don't have to rely on any form of advertising to drive sales.

    Let me ask you something, if copywriting worked so well...

    Why arent direct marketers ruling the business world?

    You could say, its because institutional corporations are run by idiots but if thats true... WHY arent those who stick to direct marketing the top entreprenuers in the world? Why dont products done via direct marketing stomp the piss out of companies doing branding?

    Why doesnt a DM come along and take away cokes market share? Why doesnt someone with direct marketing experience take down McDonalds tomorrow?

    Its because they cant. Otherwise they would have done it already.

    Theres a reason why the top companies in the world, the richest ones all use branding. Its because it works. If it didnt work, then direct marketing companies would be ruling the business world. But they dont, because money talks and bullsh*t walks.

    The richest companies in the world are publicly traded. So a big part of their riches is in people buying their stocks.

    They use branding because they have to show some type of marketing to appease their shareholders... but they don't know which of their marketing actually works because brand marketing is almost never TRACKABLE.

    That's why big companies like Burger King have hired and fired every major Madison Avenue ad agency... and gone back and hired some of them again.

    Yet, they can't put together an ad campaign that makes sense or makes people want to buy their product.

    As for why a DM company hasn't come along and overtaken Coke?

    For starters, Coke's been around since the late 1800's, so they got a bit of a head start on all of the other soda manufacters out there. And according to Coke's website, they sell over 1.7 Billion servings per day of their products (500+ of them) worldwide.

    So you're talking about a HUGE amount of sales to overtake Coke or any of the other blue-chip companies. Like hundreds of billions per year in sales.

    Even if they do, they could still be bought out by a bigger company (same industry or another industry entirely). Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Disney and GE have bought alot of businesses outside of their core niche as a way to diversify their business.

    If memory serves me right, 7 Up and RC cola were both companies that used DM... and were eventually bought out by larger (and older) companies.

    At the end of the day, the richest, most successful companies in the world all have powerful brands and dont need to use one ioda of sales copy to sell their products. If you dont believe me, ask yourself the last time you read a salesletter that brought you into walmart or starbucks.
    Courtesy of Starbuck's website: 100% Kona Coffee | Starbucks Coffee Company

    "There are a few places on Earth lucky enough to have perfect coffee growing conditions, and Hawaii’s Kona coffee district is one of them. Blessed with mineral-rich volcanic soil and a uniquely mild climate, Kona produces some of the most exotic beans on the planet.

    Our 100% Kona Coffee is an astonishing cup. We use only handpicked premium extra fancy beans—the biggest and densest beans, which make up less than one-fifth of the entire Kona crop.

    Once brewed, these beans produce a coffee with floral and caramel aromas and flavors of citrus and nuts that capture the island’s true essence. As exquisite as it is rare, Starbucks Reserve™ 100% Kona Coffee is indeed a coffee unlike any other.

    This remarkable coffee is available for a limited time in select Starbucks stores and online."

    Hmmm... looks like some sales copy to me. They just need to work on that call to action.

    My 3 cents,

    Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author WebRank1
    Mike, your 3cents, I like it buddy...
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Mike, your post is what we refer to as an "epic win".
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      As noted by Mike Humphreys, large corporations don't make money just by selling products - they also sell stocks. Some of the stock money goes into other, more feasible investments.

      In addition, take a look at old Kellog's ads. That's some of the best long sales copy ever written.

      Now, many of these companies can afford to run at a loss for many years - you and I can't.

      It's very simple to be slim - why are so many people fat?

      It's easy to to save money, why do so many people choose to stay in debt?

      Large corporations bombard people with advertising. They don't just put a little ad on a site and wait for people to buy. You are welcome to try that though!

      Finally, long sales copy is not the only way to sell a product. However, for many of us, it's the most effective.

      When you can't appear in your prospects face every five minutes, or have sales people running around town like hound dogs, do you suggest that I just put a cute little ad on my site?
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    This thread belongs in the Apples and Oranges Forum.
    ^^ This.

    And what Mike said.

    You can't compare any company to Coca-Cola. They have MASSIVE distribution chains set up. You can go anywhere, any store in the world, any restaurant, and buy a Coke.

    The same with McDonald's. They're not a restaurant. They're simply a distribution system.

    How many airports have you been to where your food choices are a $12 crappy sandwich or a McDonald's value meal?

    How many restaurants can you think of that you'll generally see one of every 2 miles in almost every major city on the planet?

    McDonald's doesn't need to sell me on the fact that they have a $1 menu and there are 5 locations within walking distance of my house. I'm well aware of this.

    Direct marketing is a completely different ballgame.

    But just for fun, let's think of some big companies who use direct marketing...

    Victoria's Secret was launched via direct mail and catalogs.

    "At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock"... Followed by long copy.

    Do you know why Google is so successful? Because they revolutionized online advertising with Adwords/Adsense.

    Do you know who their primary customers are? Direct marketers.

    Amazon doesn't use long copy? Bull****, they get it written for free. How many purchases have you made where you read thousands of words of product reviews before deciding to buy a product?

    If you're like me and millions of other people, a lot.

    In fact, the review system is why Amazon exploded. There is no sales material more credible than unbiased reviews of customers who've actually purchased the product.

    Mike gave an awesome answer.

    My answer is you're looking at this like you can even compare corporate branding with direct marketing.

    That's like a mechanic trying to fix a car with brake problems by working on the engine.

    You have to step back, look at what you're trying to sell and who you're trying to sell it to.

    And a lot of the time direct marketing, using long copy, is the best way to sell a product.

    It's used all of the time when appropriate in the corporate world...

    Thank you for suing us.

    Here's the truth about our seasoned beef.

    The claims made against Taco Bell and our seasoned beef are absolutely false.
    Our beef is 100% USDA inspected, just like the quality beef you buy in a supermarket and prepare in your home. It is then slow-cooked and simmered in our unique recipe of seasonings, spices, water, and other ingredients to provide Taco Bell's signature taste and texture.

    Plain ground beef tastes boring.
    The only reason we add anything to our beef is to give the meat flavor and quality. Otherwise we'd end up with nothing more than the bland flavor of ground beef, and that doesn't make for great-tasting tacos.


    So here are the REAL percentages.
    88% Beef and 12% Secret Recipe.

    In case you're curious, here's our not-so-secret recipe.
    We start with USDA-inspected quality beef (88%). Then add water to keep it juicy and moist (3%). Mix in Mexican spices and flavors, including salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, sugar, garlic powder, and cocoa powder (4%). Combine a little oats, caramelized sugar, yeast, citric acid, and other ingredients that contribute to the flavor, moisture, consistency, and quality of our seasoned beef (5%).

    We stand behind the quality of our seasoned beef 100% and we are proud to serve it in all our restaurants. We take any claims to the contrary very seriously and plan to take legal action against those who have made false claims against our seasoned beef.

    Greg Creed
    President, Taco Bell
    That was printed on fliers and put into Taco Bells all over the country. They took what could have been horrible publicity and spun it into an opportunity to talk about the high quality of their food... I wouldn't go as far as saying Taco Bell tastes like real food, but I think it was a smart way to handle the publicity at the time.

    Long story short...

    This thread belongs in the Apples and Oranges Forum.
    -Scott
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      #10 - Coca Cola, one of the best selling products in history, uses no long form sales copy

      But did it work for them?

      Not according to their former marketing head Sergio Zyman. To quote "branding doesn't work to increase sales". He wrote about it in The End of Marketing As We Know It and The End of Advertising As We Know It.

      #4 - Every top Fortune 100 company in the world uses branding.

      But does it work?

      What you and most others fail to see and hear about, is the guys who go in to fix these companies that fail to meet their quarterly earnings. Here's a list of companies that one guy went in when the branding wasn't working... American Express, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Pac Bell, Estee Lauder, Thomson International, Merrill Lynch, Solomon Brothers, W.R. Grace, Citibank, Cosmair, Banker's Trust, Xerox. Chet Holmes was the guy who went in. He sent money to their bottom line...without working on their branding.

      Bob Fifer went into many of the the Fortune 100 companies to send more money to their bottom line. No branding done to achieve the result.

      Another guy who has gone in and worked with these big companies, Jack Trout, says it's suicidal for a small company to use big company branding.

      You are free to commit it, but you have been warned.

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    The more awareness a prospect has of the product or type of product, the less copy you need to sell it.

    Amazon.com deals with highly aware prospects. And if you're a customer, notice how they send you emails pitching products you've recently viewed, put on a wish list, or are similar to product you've purchased.

    That's because they're aiming to sell you products that are high in your awareness.

    Other products the average customer is highly aware of: soft drinks and cigarettes.

    And as Mike pointed out, most of these companies do you use sales copy to advertise their products. It just doesn't have to be as long as copy selling a new solution to a new problem to a new audience.

    And finally, branding and sales copy are not mutually exclusive.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
    Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

    #1 - Common mantra of most internet marketers is "the money is in the relationship with the list"
    I'm not sure what you mean.

    Do you disagree that the money is in the list?

    I would comment further, but... I honestly don't know what you're saying.

    Should we ignore the list?

    Is list building unimportant?

    Should we not send emails/build relationships with our list?

    Should I only go for one-shot sales?

    I don't think Agora, Health Resources, KCI, Motley Fool, Guthy-Renker and others would agree with you if the above is your premise.

    Cheers,

    Angel
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    • Profile picture of the author maximus242
      You have GOT to be kidding me!

      Mike, your post is ridiculous.

      Walmart has the largest amount of sales ON THE PLANET and they do not use direct marketing copy.

      And furthermore, Walmart was profitable long before they went public.

      Not to mention websites like Staples.com which has one of the highest conversion rates online and also uses no long form DM style copy.

      You know its easy to say everything is copy and while the written words are indeed copy they are not from the DM copy world.

      Doesnt matter if Marlboro was banned or not THEY ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TOBACCO COMPANY IN THE WORLD

      Same with with Coca Cola - oodles of people have tried to bring coke down in the past

      Same with McDonalds - countless franchisers have taken their stab at the McDonalds empire

      These companies do NOT make their money from inflated share prices - McDonalds franchises are one of the most profitable franchises in the world. In fact banks will loan you up to 90% of the money for a McDonalds franchise because it has such a strong track record of success.

      Mike the idea that Branding is totally ineffective and that they are only getting sales through distribution channels is rediculous. ALL competing products have the same distribution!!!

      Look at the IPhone!

      IPad!

      Disney!

      Star Wars!

      Star wars gets the same distribution as any other major motion picture - but they sell a lot better.

      If corporate advertising and marketing is soo ineffective then why do we see the IPhone selling in droves?

      And what about Gillette? Plenty of companies are on the shelves the same as Gillette is, but yet they outsell their competitors like crazy.

      Furthermore, why is it that some of the smartest, wealthiest people in the world all advocate branding? Why do entreprenuers like Richard Branson, a self made billionaire - say things like "I consider my brand our most valuable asset"

      If your so smart, why is it that Branson is the billionaire and not you? If you know so much about advertising and marketing - why does Bransons companies generate billions of dollars in sales while yours dont?

      By the way, Virgin is a private company.

      Why does Warren Buffet say that a companies Brand is a major factor in whether or not he buys a company? Why does he say things like "its not share of market, its share of mind"

      Why do the smartest, wealthiest businessmen on the planet - who have built up billion dollar companies and own them PRIVATELY advocate the use of branding?

      Why do Harvard Phd's and self made millionaires all build their companies with a strong brand in mind?

      If you know so much about generating sales then why are you not the one getting a couple billion dollars in sales instead of them? The internet is a fairly level playing ground, you can get the same traffic sources, etc. as any other company.

      Yet we see companies like Staples and Office Depot absolutely murdering it online. Both use heavy amounts of corporate advertising.

      And where did you first learn branding was ineffective? Was it from testing it out like scientific advertising dictates? Or perhaps you followed some guru whos voice boomed "Branding Is Ineffective" and then simply believed what he said?

      If branding is so ineffective, why do so many people buy Nestle chocolate when they can choose a different type. Why do they long for the Apple computer?

      Youve been buying brands all your life and here you say its ineffective at getting sales, open your eyes. You buy more things based off branding than you do based off of DM.

      And once again you can say that Reviews are the reason for an online companies success but COMON! The first thing you think about when you want to buy a book online is Amazon

      Furthermore all of the online companies and bookstores use reviews! Its not just one of them, they all do it. Amazons dominance comes from its relationship with its customers.

      If you still really, really dont believe me. I just want you to look in your house.

      What kind of computer do you own? What kind of TV do you own? Where did you buy these things from? Was it a piece of DMing copy that motivated you to do it?

      What kind of clothes do you wear? Where did you go buy these clothes? What kind of advertising do they do?

      What cereals do you have in your cupboard? what kind of advertising do they do?

      What kind of alcohol do you drink? what kind of advertising do they do?

      You need only look at your own purchase habits to see that branding is plenty effective - if its not, why dont you own all no name stuff?

      Why is it that branded medicine outsells non branded medicine even though they are EXACTLY the same pill?

      Why do branded cosmetics pull in 5x the price on a consistent basis even though the cheaper stuff is IDENTICAL except for the packaging. In fact almost all cosmetics are made in the same factories, of the same materials, then packaged differently. The $1 lipstick women buy is the exact same as the $5 lipstick except for the package and the name on it.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
        Maximus... do you really want me to shred this post of yours?

        There's even more holes in it than your original post about branding.

        Okay, I'm game... let's rock.

        Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

        You have GOT to be kidding me!

        Mike, your post is ridiculous.

        Walmart has the largest amount of sales ON THE PLANET and they do not use direct marketing copy.
        The company was founded by Sam Walton (brilliant entrepreneur. His biography should be required reading for every entrepeneur) in the early 1960's and publicly traded since 1972.

        Walmart forces their supplies to give them the lowest wholesale cost in order to get their products on their shelves.

        Vendors are also given priority on shelves based on the deal struck with Walmart

        And furthermore, Walmart was profitable long before they went public.
        Courtesy of Wikipedia...

        "For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2009, Wal-Mart reported a net income of $13.6 billion on $404 billion of revenue[90] (3.4% profit margin)."

        3.4% profit margin is okay.

        But let me ask you a few questions:

        If they were using more marketing and advertising where they could track what was working and what wasn't, wouldn't they get more bang for their marketing buck?

        And knowing what wasn't working... couldn't they replace it with some other marketing?

        Wouldn't their optimized marketing produce more sales, waste less marketing budget, and increase profitability?

        The answer to all of these questions is YES.

        Not to mention websites like Staples.com which has one of the highest conversion rates online and also uses no long form DM style copy.

        You know its easy to say everything is copy and while the written words are indeed copy they are not from the DM copy world.
        Funny you should say that.

        I just went to Staples.com and saw these benefit-driven headlines on their home page:

        "Fast and FREE DELIVERY on all orders over $50"

        "Get deals delivered right to your inbox! Sign up for emails now."

        Both of those are direct response marketing tactics (benefit driven headline, call to action).

        There are plenty more DM tactics (and copy) in action on their site if you take the time to review it more closely.

        Doesnt matter if Marlboro was banned or not THEY ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TOBACCO COMPANY IN THE WORLD
        Their product has been scientifically proven to be addictive. Courtesy of a nutrition class I had in college... Nicotine is 4 times more addictive than Heroin.

        So once the majority of their customers start using their product... they are addicted and they stay a customer for life.


        Same with with Coca Cola - oodles of people have tried to bring coke down in the past

        Same with McDonalds - countless franchisers have taken their stab at the McDonalds empire.
        So what's your point here? That their brand is why they are #1 in their respective industries?

        That taste of their product didn't matter?

        That McDonalds has the fastest delivery time for their food in their industry... doesn't matter?

        Wake up already.

        People don't buy a meal at McDonalds because it reminds them of mom's home cooking.

        They buy it because 2-3 minutes later they can be eating it. McDonalds has also been sued over the additiveness of their food too.

        These companies do NOT make their money from inflated share prices - McDonalds franchises are one of the most profitable franchises in the world. In fact banks will loan you up to 90% of the money for a McDonalds franchise because it has such a strong track record of success.
        Maybe you should brush up on how the stock market works then. Companies that sell any of their stock do make money that way.

        Mike the idea that Branding is totally ineffective and that they are only getting sales through distribution channels is rediculous. ALL competing products have the same distribution!!!
        All competing products have the same distribution, huh?

        Go into any sporting arena or fast food restaurant and see how many different soda brands are being sold there.

        One.

        And it's because the soda company locked up exclusive distribution rights there.

        Look at the IPhone!

        IPad!

        Disney!
        What do you want me to look at with them?

        By the way... Apple and Disney both have brokered exclusive distribution deals for their products more than once.

        Star Wars!

        Star wars gets the same distribution as any other major motion picture - but they sell a lot better.
        My dad took me to see the first Star Wars movie at the drive-in movie theater when it debuted in 1977.

        That first movie has spawned FIVE additional Star Wars movies... a cartoon series... video games... action figures... fan conventions... books... lunch boxes and zillion other licensed products since then.

        Star Wars has an immense rabid fan base built up over 30+ years.

        So if they announced a new Star Wars movie... do you think they're going to be given the same distribution and number of movie theater screens as any other major motion picture?

        No freakin' way.

        Every movie location is going to want to show as many screens of it as they can because it's a slam-dunk winner.

        When Phantom Menace was released in 1999 (16 years after the last Star Wars movie), other major motion pictures MOVED their release dates so they wouldn't get creamed at the box office.

        And that movie proceeded to do over $900 million in worldwide sales.

        If corporate advertising and marketing is soo ineffective then why do we see the IPhone selling in droves?
        Hmmm... maybe people like them, see their coworkers and friends using them and decide to get one for themselves?

        Of course, that would be VIRAL marketing, not branding in action.

        And what about Gillette? Plenty of companies are on the shelves the same as Gillette is, but yet they outsell their competitors like crazy.
        One of the first disposable razor companies on the market. The founder of Gillette was the first one to figure out that the bulk of the money could be made on selling the replacement razors and not the entire razor set.

        Gillette is very well diversed in other product lines too.

        Personally... There might be other shaving products on the shelfs but I haven't found any of them to work better for my face than the Gillette Fusion razor and their Edge shaving gel.

        So you can't discount the fact that Gillette offers very good products... which fuels repeat business and word of mouth (viral) marketing.

        Furthermore, why is it that some of the smartest, wealthiest people in the world all advocate branding? Why do entreprenuers like Richard Branson, a self made billionaire - say things like "I consider my brand our most valuable asset"
        Some of the smart, wealthiest people in the world recommend direct response marketing instead. Anthony Robbins, Microsoft, Amazon, and countless others use direct response marketing in their billion dollar businesses.

        John Wanamaker, founder of Wanamakers (the largest department store in the world at one time) has been quoted as saying "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

        Does that sound like someone who was happy with brand advertising?

        If your so smart, why is it that Branson is the billionaire and not you? If you know so much about advertising and marketing - why does Bransons companies generate billions of dollars in sales while yours dont?
        What makes you think that I'm not a billionaire?

        I don't talk about how much I make or have with anyone except God, my wife, and my accountant (in that order). 99.5% of the world doesn't give a rat's a$$ how much I make or have either.

        As for Branson... he's 20 years older and been working a lot longer than me so gives him a bit of an advantage on building up net worth, especially with the power of compounding interest on monies saved.

        By the way, Virgin is a private company.
        So is every company I've ever founded or co-founded.

        Why does Warren Buffet say that a companies Brand is a major factor in whether or not he buys a company? Why does he say things like "its not share of market, its share of mind"
        Where does he say that?

        Buffett is probably the most quoted investment guru ever. Do a search on Amazon on his name and see how many book titles alone mention his name.

        But here's a Buffett quote about the tobacco industry for you:

        "I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s fantastic brand loyalty.
        —Buffett, quoted in Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco"

        In other words, he liked the cigarette business in 1987 because it was a high-profit product that it's customers got addicted to and stayed addicted to that product.

        No mention of marketing there at all.


        Why do the smartest, wealthiest businessmen on the planet - who have built up billion dollar companies and own them PRIVATELY advocate the use of branding?

        Why do Harvard Phd's and self made millionaires all build their companies with a strong brand in mind?
        I've personally met and know a lot smart wealthy business people. I'm talking Fortune 1000 CEOs... professional athletes... high-level executives, etc, etc, etc.

        A good number of them have been customers of my businesses over the years too.

        Most of them will tell you that they don't know anything about marketing.

        If you throw enough millions or billions in branding, then you can get it work for your business. Of course, less than 10% of all businesses have millions or billions to spend on advertising or marketing.

        As for Harvard or other Ivy League PhD's... the majority of them have never owned or built a company of their own.

        Fred Smith was at Yale and did his masters paper on his idea for starting Federal Express. His PhD professor gave him a D and told him that it was a stupid idea and would never work.

        If you know so much about generating sales then why are you not the one getting a couple billion dollars in sales instead of them? The internet is a fairly level playing ground, you can get the same traffic sources, etc. as any other company.
        Again, how do you know I'm not getting a couple billion dollars in sales?

        And no... the internet is NOT a fairly level playing ground. I could write an entire thread pointing out all of the ways it's not.

        And where did you first learn branding was ineffective? Was it from testing it out like scientific advertising dictates? Or perhaps you followed some guru whos voice boomed "Branding Is Ineffective" and then simply believed what he said?
        I started my first business in the early 1990's on a $100 budget. I went the route of brand advertising and it did not work at all for my business. Tried to make it work for several years without luck.

        I started using direct response marketing tactics that I studied from people like Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, and Gary Halbert and applying them to my business and saw a better than 300% increase in response rate.

        I used direct response marketing, along with a number of other non-brand marketing tactics and within a year I was incorporating, opening a retail store front for my business in one of the most affluent areas in the Philly suburbs and hiring employees to work for me.

        And I did all of this before I even knew what the word copywriting meant.

        If branding is so ineffective, why do so many people buy Nestle chocolate when they can choose a different type. Why do they long for the Apple computer?
        Apple computers have never held a majority position in the marketplace.

        Ever.

        Apple started building their computers to read PC software apps... not the other way around.

        Apple Inc (name changed in 2007) makes the majority of their sales off of their music store, Ipod, Iphone, and other gadgets. It's not off of computers.

        Youve been buying brands all your life and here you say its ineffective at getting sales, open your eyes. You buy more things based off branding than you do based off of DM.
        Bzzt. WRONG.

        As a consumer, I'm more worried about the product's quality and reliability than any ad they've run.

        So I talk to friends and family members. I subscribe to Consumer Reports (100% funded by subscribers, not advertisers) to get that information.

        Restaurants... I go where I like the food or if I'm in a rush, where they can deliver the meal in 2 minutes like I need.

        Their institutional ads don't mean a damn thing to me.

        And once again you can say that Reviews are the reason for an online companies success but COMON! The first thing you think about when you want to buy a book online is Amazon.

        Furthermore all of the online companies and bookstores use reviews! Its not just one of them, they all do it. Amazons dominance comes from its relationship with its customers.
        Amazon was the first to use reviews. Amazon didn't become dominant until they diversified into other products besides books... started doing order form upsells (direct response marketing)... started doing suggestive sales (direct response marketing) like "other people who bought this book also bought..."... started doing targeted follow-up email campaigns where they offer similar products to what you previously bought from them (backend marketing, yet another direct response marketing tactic).

        If you still really, really dont believe me. I just want you to look in your house.

        What kind of computer do you own? What kind of TV do you own? Where did you buy these things from? Was it a piece of DMing copy that motivated you to do it?

        What kind of clothes do you wear? Where did you go buy these clothes? What kind of advertising do they do?

        What cereals do you have in your cupboard? what kind of advertising do they do?

        What kind of alcohol do you drink? what kind of advertising do they do?

        You need only look at your own purchase habits to see that branding is plenty effective - if its not, why dont you own all no name stuff?

        Why is it that branded medicine outsells non branded medicine even though they are EXACTLY the same pill?

        Why do branded cosmetics pull in 5x the price on a consistent basis even though the cheaper stuff is IDENTICAL except for the packaging. In fact almost all cosmetics are made in the same factories, of the same materials, then packaged differently. The $1 lipstick women buy is the exact same as the $5 lipstick except for the package and the name on it.
        In the interest of not boring the hell out of anyone else reading this post, I won't bother to repeat myself for each one of your one line questions here.

        I don't buy based on a product's advertising. I buy based on the recommendations of friends and family and my personal experiences with trying a product.
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      • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
        Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

        You have GOT to be kidding me!

        ...
        Furthermore, why is it that some of the smartest, wealthiest people in the world all advocate branding? Why do entreprenuers like Richard Branson, a self made billionaire - say things like "I consider my brand our most valuable asset"

        ...
        I think there is a little semantic issue over here.

        When we, and our favourite marketing experts, talk about "branding" what we mean is "brand-image advertising".

        Now, what Richard Branson is referring to is "brand-building".

        You can simply define it as the product, or it's representation, being recognised as a source of a consistent set of results expected by it's consumers.

        So that's our working definition.

        As far as I'm concerned, there are only three ways to effectively build a brand:
        • Consistently deliver and over-deliver on expected and promised results
        • Create channels (free and paid) and encourage people to use them to spread information about the product via word of mouth
        • Use effective marketing to get customers to use the products in the first place.

          When you look at cost vs time vs results direct marketing is the most efficient way to sell products.

        As I clearly illustrated in my earlier posts in this thread, both Google and Amazon may have used "brand-image" tactics to create "brand-awaress".

        This effectively put zero dollars in their pockets from front end consumers.

        Now, to actually sell and receive money from their top products, including Adwords (Google) and the Kindle (Amazon) they rely on direct marketing tactics, including long-form sales copy.

        You can clearly see these on both company's websites.

        -Jean Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Okay, so... what now?

    Let's suppose that you have now effectively persuaded
    everyone that brand advertising is how real companies
    get results and that direct marketing is a waste of time.

    We've all been lied to... alright. Let's assume that's true.

    Should everyone ditch direct marketing?

    What's the point of your rant(s) besides catharsis?

    "Insert Call To Action Here"
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    I think what you're not getting is that you're talking about two different worlds.

    We aren't selling Iphones, but just for laughs...



    We aren't selling phones, or TV's, or computers or clothes...

    We're selling investment newsletters, martial arts training, health supplies, supplements, self-help books, marketing training, etc etc...

    Different markets.

    Different products.

    Different strategies.

    /thread

    -Scott
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by Scott Murdaugh View Post

      I think what you're not getting is that you're talking about two different worlds.

      We aren't selling Iphones, but just for laughs...


      As I said, a lot of huge companies started out using long form, direct sales copy.

      It's not that branding is ineffective - you need the right infrastructure to use it.

      Besides, the most successful ads do have a direct response element to it.

      For most businesses, you have only one shot with your ad. With a huge budget, you can repeat your sales message several times.

      Besides, the best selling products still use direct sales methods when you get into the store - limited offers, sales, etc.

      Showing your brand over and over again, doesn't work.

      Even McDonalds puts prices and offers in their ads. Plus (at least here in the UK) they have coupons that give you discounts - with people going out on the street, doing the good old direct sales to get people in.

      Now, the Apple ad above reminds me of the computer mags I used to read when I was more geeky than now (17 years ago). All them had some sort of long copy for the big brands.

      Look it's simple, create a product, with a cute ad on your website. See what happens.

      Big corporations killing it online? Well, it's only because of the years of effort that it took to establish themselves, including early direct sales.

      By the way, when these guys are going for huge B2B deals they ALWAYS use long sales copy.

      Read a few trade journals or see the literature sent to businesses.

      Heck, Fortune magazine is diluted because of the "advertorials".

      The purpose of most branding ads is not to bring customers in.

      It is to

      1. Get people to buy when people come across the product
      2. Get people to buy when people need a similar product
      3. Scare away competition
      4. Keep share holders happy.

      Again, it needs proper infrastructure and it's only one element of the process - something most people don't understand, including execs.

      The same thing in direct marketing - long sales copy is just part of the process. There are systems in place to make it work.

      Finally, on the internet you need direct marketing to make real money.

      The less someone knows about you and your product the more you need it

      I used to run a dancing school. Wasted money on branding - I could hardly get a client.

      The moment I started using direct marketing, all I had to do was to open email and there were people wanting to use my service.
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    • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
      Originally Posted by Scott Murdaugh View Post

      I think what you're not getting is that you're talking about two different worlds.

      We aren't selling Iphones, but just for laughs...


      Perfect example of a new product for a new market using long copy. As market awareness increases, copy shrinks.

      Cheers,
      Stephen
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

    ...

    #3 - The definition of branding is "The relationship between a customer and the company"

    ....

    #6 - Google has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever

    #7 - Amazon has never used a piece of long form sales copy, ever

    #8 - The top performing online retailers and sellers have almost no copywriting

    #9 - Marlboro cigarettes, the most popular cigarette brand in the world, uses almost entirely images to sell their product.

    ...
    #3 - Where did you get that?

    #6 - Wrong! When I was studying for my Google Search Advertising certification section one was all about benefits of Adwords in a very long long form, the last section teaches you all about how to sell Adwords (bullet points and all)

    Then, Adwords is sold virtually entirely using direct marketing: including video, direct mail, postcards with limited offers etc.

    #7 Wrong again! I don't know much about Amazon but they use reviews (testimonials), calls to action everywhere, discounts, and very aggressive mailing list.

    Have you looked at the Amazon Kindle page? Case closed!

    #8 The top retailers have copy on the product itself, as much as space allows it.

    ASDA cornflakes have a very powerful ad at the back,with a headline and bullet points and a deceptively simple image of a family. I may scan the box and show you how it really works.

    You see, in addition, the good "branding" ads still sell using emotionally charged images. Do a short course on media studies and film appreciation and you'll get it.

    It's not just about the logo and the slogan. The top retailers use copy, just in a different way.

    #9 The fact that the image takes the most space it doesn't mean it does most of the selling. Remember, you need to grab attention.

    In a way, I get your point because most people try to brand using their product image.

    Malboro used the image of what the smoker wants to be.

    Plus very powerful copy.



    They still have a headline and copy. Combine all the ads - it's almost like long copy scattered all over the place.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Murdaugh
    Nice...

    Mike, there are a few reasons this forum is still worth visiting.



    You sir, are one of the best.

    Good show!

    -Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    lololol Nice. good post... Thanks... and I am loling at Scotts clap which was utterly appropriate...


    clap clap clap...
    slow clap -> cheer! yippie
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Welcome to Circus Maximus
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  • Profile picture of the author William Prawira
    Good arguments here...Subscribed as well.

    Different era different competition. Companies mentioned above are all companies that make break through. Marketing is evolving. You can't just compare the way they do marketing in old days with the way we do it now. Have you put number of competitions in to the equation ?

    There are always chances that perhaps they did it big time in the old days because back then they don't have competitor.

    William
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    Thanks,

    William Prawira

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  • Profile picture of the author geegel
    First of all, it's threads like this that make me love this forum. Intelligent debate is something to be treasured.

    Now for my own 4 cents (gotta raise the stakes a bit), the issues which matter for both direct marketing and traditional advertising are perception and attention. That being said both of these techniques are tools, which means that they can be extremely useful in some situations and terribly ineffective in others. None is an universal cure and context should determine your decision to use each.

    As for brand management, I'm actually a big fan of the concept. We all use branding, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. Brand management is thus an attempt to control an image of something. That something can be anything from a person, product, company, institution, political party, ideology, technology, concept and the list could go on.

    Take DM for example. What's the image of this tool among the general population? If you live in US, you're in luck. The concept has a huge historical background and it's deeply ingrained in the popular culture. Go to any other country and the perception dramatically alters. It's associated with spam, scams and other unsavory concepts. Keep in mind that DM in itself is virtually the same everywhere, it's the image, the brand that goes though these wild variations. This is why rebranding is another powerful tool. Instead of DM, you could use other terms and basically start from scratch with the image building.

    So where does copywriting fit in all this mess? There's an interesting school of thought called semiotics. It considers virtually every type of situation, every type of human creation as being a ''text". You don't need to interpret words to "read" these "texts", what you need is to interpret symbols. If you follow the great successes of marketing and apply this logic you will see a great wealth of symbol generation and more importantly promotion. Copywriting is merely a highly specific form to convey symbols and YES, not the only one available.

    Best regards,
    George Cozma
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  • Profile picture of the author davemiz
    lol - WOW.

    Your statements have more holes in them than a piece of swiss cheese.

    coke vs. info products?

    Really?

    dude, what planet are you on?

    Coke is a multi-BILLION dollar brand.... they spend billions a year on ads.

    Coke is a soft drink, not an info product.

    Amazon? really?

    what were you smoking when you wrote this post? i need to get some of that stuff

    i could go on for hours here...
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Interesting. No. Wait. ....boring as ****.

    What would be interesting is if both sides were seeing two sides of the same thing. Dominos used to be a USP darling of the direct marketing world -- now they are not.

    You have not been lied to. It's more like the story of the blind men describing an elephant. Everyone has their own facts. Facts they can look to, check and verify. But only a subset of the whole picture.

    Same company. Two different forms of marketing. Guess what? A lot of companies -- and a lot used in examples to back one or the other position use both -- that is the first myth. When used together, they can mutually reinforce one another. (That is more difficult to do, but rewarding).

    Question: Why is it you'll get a post here that some direct response guru or another sent an email to his list -- and complain that it sucked.

    What happened there? Oh, my gosh, are they developing a brain tumor or something?!

    It's not a tumor. Rather they know they can pull good response on half-****ed letters by resting on their laurels. (A.K.A. Name recognition. A.K.A. Reputation. A.K.A. Brand).

    Quick: Name an absolutely fabulous job of branding done by an unknown; like the corner bodega run by exactly two people, selling milk for twice what you'd pay anywhere else. No hispanic versions of the Apple store in corner convenience grocery retailing.

    ...huh. Seems like every single "brand" is a success story. And a mega million one at that. Or else there is some mischief going on in brand land.

    Branding can be successful, as can low yield ads. IF you are established and upstarts are dumb enough to mount a full on assault upon entrenched competition.

    Megacorps are not dumb, but their ads are not doing what you think they are. Dominos got out of the "thirty minutes to your doorstep or its free" business for a couple of reasons.

    One is their ads now appeal to upstarts looking to steal market share from Dominos. And they see the end result and think "that's how you get big." When it is nothing of the sort. Growing business requires one strategy. Staying big requires another strategy.

    Anybody who thinks a company today is doing precisely the same thing they did when it started a decade or five ago isn't really stupid. Insane maybe. But that would be different from stupid.

    Check DM News. More Fortune 1000 companies are getting into Direct Response TV and advertising. (Returning to their roots, if you follow a convoluted history through a couple dozen mergers). Yes, it's different. Know why? Stupid doesn't explain it. Hyperventilatingly image consious and keenly aware of internal political intrigues ...that explains much.

    You may now return to the broken record you've been playing, "Either/Or" by The False Dichotomies seems to be the tune.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Rickfold
    I knew this thread will get here... I could tell...

    I think opening threads like this in a copywriting forum is just asking for it... this is like going in a bikers bar and yelling at everyone how much their bike sucks...

    it's only a matter of time...
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    I think opening threads like this in a copywriting forum is just asking for it... this is like going in a bikers bar and yelling at everyone how much their bike sucks...
    That's fine, if that's your game. ...if that is what you're trying to accomplish.

    A lot of people go into a biker bar. Yell "Harley's suck." Then they wonder why people are so mean.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    This thread is hilarious. Branding and direct response are totally different animals.

    Branding =

    "Hmm, I fancy a burger. Let's go to McDonalds."
    "Hmm, first I need to have a shave, where's my bic razor?"
    "Hmm, better check their opening times, I'll Google it"
    "Now, where are my darn Audi keys?"

    Direct response =
    "Wow, I didn't realize how serious this is. Now I understand what this problem is, and how to solve it, I better make sure I don't miss out..."
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    The basic problems with branding is that it cannot be measured
    as direct response marketing can and therefore the creators
    of 'branding ads' don't have to be held accountable for results.

    How can you tell how effective branding is if you can't measure
    response? Or maybe there is a way to measure response that
    I don't know about.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author GlobalMedia
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      The basic problems with branding is that it cannot be measured
      as direct response marketing can and therefore the creators
      of 'branding ads' don't have to be held accountable for results.

      How can you tell how effective branding is if you can't measure
      response? Or maybe there is a way to measure response that
      I don't know about.

      -Ray Edwards
      Absolutely correct. Unless we have a procedure for knowing the results of branding, it will not be fair to name it "unsuccessful". People are getting results from branding because of which we still find it around us.
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Why aren't direct marketers ruling the world?

    Hmmm...Gee, I think they are. Ever hear of Morgan Stanley, Chase, Bank of America, Geico, State Farm, Wells Fargo and 100 or so other multi-billion dollar companies in the insurance and financial sectors?

    Now open your mailbox and look at all those credit card and insurance offers.

    Yep, guess we might as well shut down WF and hang up our hats folks. This direct marketing stuff plain ol' don't work.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Look at the dead bird flying! ;p (Just an evil thing to get your attention )

    Direct marketing is not a magic pill that solves all your problems. It's a lot of hard work and you need to really understand what you're doing.

    The fact that it can bring you instant cash doesn't mean it will.

    It's like Sexy Suzy who will open her legs for everyone but you.

    She may seem cheap, but you still gotta have some moves!

    Let's put this argument in context:

    Direct marketing is only effective if:
    1. You want to make money today so you can deposit it in your bank account tomorrow.
    2. You always want measurable, predictable results.
    3. You are willing to build complex systems to create consistent income streams.


    Branding is effective if:
    1. You want your product on customers mind when they want something like it.
    2. You need to stroke egos so you can sell more shares
    3. You really want to stay in your comfort zone
    4. You really need to stroke your own ego.
    5. You want to scare competition away
    6. You want to create the perception that it's hard to enter your market (see 5. above)
    7. You can afford to run at a loss for a long time
    8. You have the money to do it.
    9. Can't afford to make a big promise due to legal implications.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
    Is it really true that branding can't be measured? Surely successful branding is measured in sales, share interest, competitor performance and other factors, or am I missing the point? Brand correctly, and you make bigger profits. Brand incorrectly, and profits fall. I agree that branding can't be measured with as much accuracy as direct marketing (you can't re-brand every year, but you can change your direct marketing methods on a daily basis within reason), but I'd like to think there's a reason why companies do it.

    Please tell me it really is that simple...
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    • Profile picture of the author geegel
      Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

      Is it really true that branding can't be measured? Surely successful branding is measured in sales, share interest, competitor performance and other factors, or am I missing the point? Brand correctly, and you make bigger profits. Brand incorrectly, and profits fall. I agree that branding can't be measured with as much accuracy as direct marketing (you can't re-brand every year, but you can change your direct marketing methods on a daily basis within reason), but I'd like to think there's a reason why companies do it.

      Please tell me it really is that simple...
      Branding is measurable, there are such things as surveys and focus groups, not to mention the sales data. The problem is that these methods can get extremely expensive.

      Nonetheless, I believe an aspect has been missed in this entire debate. More precisely, the choice of an advertising method is a message in itself.

      Direct response marketing is characterized by a low entry barrier: all you need is Notepad and a trusty printer. At the level of individual perception, following exclusively this method is likely to generate distrust.

      Traditional advertising methods on the other side requires much more consistent budgets and so are perceived as having a high entry barrier. No matter if the ad is poorly done, the simple fact that your brand appears on TV or is associated with the sponsorship of an event means that you've crossed into a more exclusive club and your target audience will perceive you differently.

      Now I'm not talking about the US advertising market. I'm trying to view this from a global angle. The US culture might be tolerant to newcomers, but in other parts of the world, the act of purchase relies more heavily on "validation" factors, rather than stated benefits. Do I know and trust this brand? Do my friends use this brand? Would they approve of my action? Does it fit with the image I'm trying to build for myself?

      We might not like it, but the direct response approach is limited by design. There's too much focus on seeing the act of purchase as autonomous and instant, while in reality it is a long term process and depends heavily on the social context.

      This doesn't mean that DR marketing is "dead" or other such nonsense. It only means that, as I've said before, it can be useful in some circumstances and not so effective in others.

      Best regards,
      George Cozma
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      • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
        Originally Posted by geegel View Post

        ... At the level of individual perception, following exclusively this method is likely to generate distrust.
        ...
        Why? How did you come to this conclusion?
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        • Profile picture of the author geegel
          Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

          Why? How did you come to this conclusion?
          Before becoming a copywriter I was for a short time involved in the distribution of DR materials. I had to deal with angry grandpas, unhelpful building administrators and at every step I felt hostility.

          This was back in 2003 and again it does not apply for US (I'm Romanian), so things might have changed in the meantime. The weird part is that by applying this assumption I obtained better results for my customers. The first part of dealing with a problem is after all to acknowledge it.

          Hope this clears things out.

          Regards,
          George
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  • Profile picture of the author brianadrian
    Mike nailed it. Not sure what Maximus has been into. Not much coherent from my viewpoint. The whole comparing info-products to food didn't fly with me. I have to eat, but do I have to consume info-products? Of course not. Totally different game.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Is it really true that branding can't be measured?
    No. What's really true is the overwhelming majority of people who would refer to themselves as branders don't want branding measured.

    Branding =

    "Hmm, I fancy a burger. Let's go to McDonalds."
    "Hmm, first I need to have a shave, where's my bic razor?"
    "Hmm, better check their opening times, I'll Google it"
    "Now, where are my darn Audi keys?"
    That is no more brand(ing) -- the process -- than an order is direct response. What you're essentially saying is brands drop from Mount Olympus and grace us with their presence. That's PR spin from the branding industry and also not brand marketing.

    It's the same purpose as saying what teachers do is absolutely impossible to measure. PR spin from the teacher's union, and a little bit of truth about the primitive measures and lack of imagination (or ambition) in measurement.

    And gobbled up hook, line and sinker by a public which as descended to the point where education = magic.

    The slipshod understanding of what Walmart is really doing is part and parcel.

    Walmart
    The bottom line is that Wal-Mart's marketing approach was not working. The retailer decided it needed to generate measurable results from its advertising and that direct marketing could help the company achieve that goal. Most traditional ad agencies are still more interested in winning awards than generating results. This creates a big opportunity for DR agencies to step in and demonstrate how their approach to marketing can help marketers to become more profitable and accountable.

    --Wal-Mart Goes Direct

    Getting to that shelf is another matter. Anyone who has ever dealt with buyers for a retail store knows that selling your product to a buyer with limited shelf space may actually be more difficult than selling the product to millions of customers. However, according to many DR industry insiders, Wal-Mart is promoting direct response to product marketers — causing other retailers to do the same.

    Advertising support is crucial to retailers looking for new products, and Wal-Mart's promotion of the DR model shows an understanding of this. "Retailers are interested in offering products that have advertising support, and they understand the impact that DRTV advertising can have in generating sales and store traffic," Sjostrom contends.

    -- Wal-Mart Changes DR's Rules
    I have a Direct Response package with a Mach 3 razor in my swipe file. The marketing campaign INCLUDES mailing to 16-year-olds on their birthday.

    Would the price point work with Bic. Probably not.

    ...And they run the TV ads the lazy think are the only thing these companies do. The idea that you just "go to Walmart" because somebody, somewhere, says Walmart has a brand is ludicrous.

    When you "go to McDonald's," can I then say the Rally's, Burger King, KFC, and all the other competing brands FAILED? My question being where are branding's failures and mistakes?

    You will never hear a discussion like what you have with sales letters here, simply because the whole reason you get into branding -- client and agency alike -- is you can never make a mistake.

    The advantage for the manager figuring out where to spend an ad dollar is direct, bottom-line, CYA.

    A Wall Street Journal article detailed, as Chiat won the Clio for the Nissan "Toys" ad, Nissan sales plunged 30%. In that article the agency came right out and said sales aren't the point.

    Brand awareness went up. And that would be right -- people were very aware of Nissan and that they were not going to buy one. The few who did come in asking about the model used in the ad found out it was discontinued years before. Strangely enough, the agency undoubtedly chose that model because it was the only iconic design anybody would recognize. (That's whole other can of worms branders don't want to discuss).

    POINT: Any Nissan manager is going to tongue-kiss anybody who gives them cover like that. THAT is the PRODUCT BENEFIT branders sell: unaccountability. You better understand nothing you have in your mega headline bag of tricks can compare.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      No. What's really true is the overwhelming majority of people who would refer to themselves as branders don't want branding measured.
      After reading that single sentence about 8 times, the penny finally dropped!

      Thanks for the input!
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    So true, and the reason why so many smaller companies may as well dump their ad budget down a sewer for what good it's doing them. Its mimicking the big guys that is keeping them small.
    That is the benefit, that's what BigCos are buying.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    @geegel

    Fair enough....

    Have you considered that the offer was not refined enough for the market?

    When I was back in Poland there were quite a few successful direct marketing campaigns.

    As far as people being upset, we all get that from time to time...
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    • Profile picture of the author BBryanB
      I agree with feedtherightwolf, not sure what to read from this, its sounds neat but how can I use it ?

      Bryan
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  • Bottom line is... Test it. Everyone can argue all day and night about it and, who cares? If you believe in branding... test it. Oh wait, you can't test it.....
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by FuturePrinceofPrint View Post

      Bottom line is... Test it. Everyone can argue all day and night about it and, who cares? If you believe in branding... test it. Oh wait, you can't test it.....
      Hahaha!

      I like this one!
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    Actually you can test it.

    I also find it hilarious that the entreprenuers who are building companies worth hundreds of millions are being blasted by a couple arrogant copywriters who make a few hundred thousand dollars a year.

    Yea your so smart with your vast sums of cash right? Your smart and the people making all the money are dumb, thats why you know so much and they dont. Lets listen to the guys trying to make $50 selling us an ebook instead of the guys who ACTUALLY make real money, not a couple million dollars online but hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.

    No, the online hectomillionaires and billionaires are all idiots and are really quite stupid compared to the geniuses on this forum who are so smart they make 1/10000th the money as guys like Trump and Branson, who both have very strong, powerful brands.

    Right Trump and Branson are stupid and the guys trying to sell you $50 ebooks on copywriting and internet marketing are the ones you should trust.

    Yea lets trust the guy who makes $2,000,000 a year selling seminars on copywriting and direct marketing and lets ignore what the billionaires are teaching for free because clearly the guru who makes all his money from selling other people money making info is the one who we should trust and not the superentreprenuers who make more money in 1 day than the gurus make in 10 years.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Maximus, first of all it's not the billionaires who are preaching branding but the ad agencies and their copywriters.

    Then you have to realize that these people make money (just like everybody else) by managing perception. The fact that they say something, doesn't mean it's true.

    Here is the key: the value of a company is decided by the stock buying public's perception.

    Look at Forbes magazine earlier last month:
    ... In total these 500 executives earned $4.5 billion in 2010, which averages out to $9 million apiece. Value realized from exercised stock options was the main component of total pay...
    Source: Show Me The Money - Forbes.com

    Notice that the pay was not according to the profit they made.

    So they create the perception of:" look we have all these cool ads and we are all over the papers, we must be valuable.... $h!t! Every time we do this they buy more stock! Let's do it again!"

    Then, my dear Maximus - if you have the money then do it! If you have a business model that supports fancy ads, such as being publicly listed, then by all means go ahead!

    However, if you really want to take your business to the next level with limited resources, direct response marketing is your best friend.

    Ray Kroc (R.I.P.) is a genius. Not because he has a strong brand - because he created a real estate company masquerading as a fast food-chain! And everybody still gets shocked when they find out how they really make their money.

    Maximus, nobody says having a strong brand is worthless - it's just that the fancy ads and logos are not what creates them.

    Having a brand may support selling but doesn't bring money in on it's own. People think it does, but it doesn't.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Trump
    The Trump secret: A rich father with high level connections and influence, playing the bankrupcy court like a fiddle from hell, and knowing when you owe the bank ten million the bank owns you -- when you owe the bank ten billion you own the bank. ...and some personal PR.


    Fred Trump (not The Donald) is who you look to for Donald's brandability. And as for the branding, a little brand literacy goes a long way. The brand is success. Ten thousand people go out to make it, then branding takes credit for the happenstance of the five billionaires who do.

    WITHOUT PREDICTING WHICH BEFOREHAND. That's an important point.

    Nobody says there are 9,995 brand failures because all anyone talks about is brand successes. Nobody says a combination of smarts, timing and pure dumb luck is behind a lot of this (Just look at the people who made a billion -- once -- then take one company after another to destruction after). Take a look at Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, Trump: The Game, Trump Casinos.

    Who's been swallowing the T&T (Trump and Tonic) and Trump martinis. I know a few folk.

    Who made the Bill Gates brand? I mean who went out and "built" Bill Gates mega success with his own two hands? Gary Kildall. How is not the stuff branders like to refer to.

    Now Gates is no slouch at brand maintenance, and no doubt would have some level of success inside or outside the computer field regardless, but the situation as it stands is attributable to what Kildall and his wife Dorothy did, along with Tim Paterson in a vital support role.

    Branson, who both have very strong, powerful brands.
    Like Virgin Cola, right? Richard's brand-Branson hype has hidden his record of failures. Do not confuse the end result with how you achieve the end result.

    Virgin Music - started amid a sophisticated purchase-tax fraud that Branson admitted in 1971 - was sold in 1992 for a record £560m. That money sustained Virgin Atlantic, the airline started in 1984 with a single, old Boeing 747. In 1999, when Branson sold a 49% stake of the airline to Singapore Airlines to relieve a financial squeeze, he valued the business at £1.2bn.

    But beyond those two outstanding successes is a history of failed enterprises, which might have cautioned NTL. Virgin Cola, hailed by Branson in 1994 as the inevitable successor to Coca-Cola, has practically disappeared. Virgin Clothes, launched on the stock exchange in 1996, folded with losses to shareholders. Virgin Money was launched with a glitzy advertisement of Branson emerging naked from the sea, but did not deliver the expected big financial rewards. Then came Virgin Vie, Virgin Vision, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Wine, Virgin Jeans, Virgin Brides, Virgin Cosmetics and Virgin Cars - none fulfilling their creator's inflated dreams.

    Other disappointments were truly painful. Virgin Express, an airline based in Brussels, was intended to rival easyJet, but the original investors on the stock market lost money. Similarly, the McCarthy brothers, who invested over £30m in V2, Branson's second music company, lost all their money and, unable even to pay the milkman
    -- Richard's brand-Branson hype has hidden his record of failures
    Branding is much to do with taking credit -- and distancing oneself from multiple failures, apparently. While I am not against branding, not disparaging of billionaires in general, you chose your examples quite badly.

    Explain, exactly, why V1 worked and V2 didn't. V2 should have been an even bigger success, based on what I only imagine you think about how branding works. (I am forced to imagine, 'cause you ain't sayin').

    I am getting the impression brands are like stars. They simply appear in the firmament. Are brands just a naturally occuring phenomenon? Do brands just happen? Is there a magic chant you say over a logo -- a membership card -- what?

    And there's the rub: Who is explaining the BRANDING PROCESS. Hey: RECEPTIVE AUDIENCE HERE. Let's have some techinque, some brand mechanics, some HOW TO.

    Let's say someone wants to defect from the direct response camp, and go to the brand camp. What steps does this person take? How does this person know they are doing "it" right?

    What are these guys selling: Stock. Not music. Not phones. Not airline tickets. Not real estate. Not vodka. To stock investors who buy into their brand, without doing their homework on the track record.

    Everything (everything) has one goal: The Stock Offering. Could be private. Could be public.

    Branding is fine. Branding can work. What you are doing is akin to having a room full of people flip a coin -- then going on and on about the one guy who flipped "heads" fifteen times in a row and neglecting the rest of the room or how it happened. (And I am being charitable, because you are actually going on about people who flip heads worse than 50-50). There are plenty of Bransons and Trumps who didn't come out on top.

    Want to talk branding? Okay, then how about somebody start talking about brand mechanics -- for a change. Because Trump and Branson are creatures of media attention to PR spin, not branding effectiveness.
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyMonster
    It's true you DON'T need a long form sales letter to sell. Marketing doesn't start and end with a sales letter.

    It's ALL about the compelling offer. If I advertise a Ferrari for $100 on eBay, do I need to write a 33 pg sales letter? No.

    All those Fortune 500 companies did was take some compelling value proposition and scale it up to the maximum.

    Google - fast, relevant web search results, free (get paid on the backend, monetise the traffic with ads)
    Amazon - almost any book you could ever want to buy, fast and in many cases free delivery
    Starbucks - consistent coffee in a 'cool' environment ie. coffee cachet into coffee cash
    Microsoft - from command prompts to gui utopia, a pc for everyone ie. turn a pc into something everyone can use, not just for the spotty geeks
    Trump - validation for anyone with bucks ie. give 'em the validation they desperately need, let them buy an exorbitantly expensive property from me so they can show the world how valuable they are... that's $10M thank you very much (oh and if you want the furniture, it's another $1M)
    Apple - (really just Marlboro for chip geeks) you don't want commodity phone/mp3 player/pc A, B or C, no you want this cool, sexy i-Phone/i-Pod/i-Mac. Apple didn't invent mp3 players, phones, computers or even tablet computers, they just added the 'cool' and the price have to pay for that.

    Underlying all these brands is a compelling offer that fit a market. Often you don't need a long form sales letter to communicate your message.

    That said, there are many instances where long form sales letters and related marketing collateral are incredibly valuable.

    Consider Agora, they do (according to figures reported) in excess of $300M a year in sales. That's not chump change in anyone's books. Dating/marketing guru Dave DeAngelo/Eben Pagan does in excess of $25M a year sales. That's not too shabby for someone who didn't start off with a silver spoon or an MBA but with a lonely ebook on dating.

    Ask guys like Makepeace and Bencivenga who mastered writing sales copy... they live pretty comfortably I bet. How about Ted Nicholas, he's sold over $600M in products in his career. Joe Sugarman is another DM legend - $20M in weirdly named sunglasses. Halbert? Carlton? How much have they made for their clients and themselves?

    At the end of the day, written copy is salesman ship in print. Nothing more, nothing less. And if you can sell in print or person, you never need to worry about money ever again.

    If you ask me though the ultimate business in terms of scalability has to be money management, specifically hedge funds. The only selling you have to do is building up your first fund (and if you're any good at what you do, it won't even be that hard). Then if you have the right idea, you take it to the bank literally, many times over (or out of the bank if that works better for you). Look up John Paulson, Greg Coffey or James Simon if you don't know who they are. IMHO these guys are the real BSD's of the business world.

    PS. Your premise that copywriters have duped people into believing branding is evil and that long copy is everything, is probably due to the mantra that many have taken up ie. branding sucks, long copy rules (or something to that effect).

    The difference and distinction that isn't often made is that for typical small businesses benefit driven copy (long or short) is better than "XYZ and Associates - all your catering needs" style marketing. For larger established businesses where marketing budgets run into the millions, branding can play a role.

    A fairly recent example comes to mind - a major oil company, spent major bucks on extensive tv ads to rebrand itself from cash hungry eco-destroying capitalist business to a more nature friendly (tree hugging) business that goes to great length to ensure it protects the environment. (But you know what, in writing this I can't even remember which one it was... I'm not kidding! Branding FAIL? Hmmm...)

    And just for your enjoyment I found this old Coke ad (I can't vouch for its veracity but it doesn't seem that coke was all branding back in the day)
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    Scary good...
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    If I advertise a Ferrari for $100 on eBay
    Do you need a copywriter to change the price? No.

    Do you need a copywriter to slash prices by 50%, 80%, 99%? No.

    Good example.
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    or not.

    Apples and oranges? Agreed.

    BUT, a point about COPYWRITING since this is that forum...

    Copywriting can be done on a yellow pad with a pen...so said the late Gary Halbert who generated millions of dollars for himself and clients. Copywriting IS the magic lantern that allows anyone, anywhere at anytime they choose to start a business or generate income with minimal expense.

    NOT everyone wants to grow a huge business. There are many content millionaires who build rather small companies with a few employees, and others who use their COPYWRITING skills to build big businesses which employ hundreds of people and do hundreds of millions of dollars in business.

    COPYWRITING affords the guy sitting at home, perhaps even in his underwear, at the kitchen table, to achieve financial freedom and take control of his life.

    For every Branson there are probably a 1000 "small potatoes" Entrepreneurs who couldn't care less if their particular brand is ever known or not.

    Others use their success from Copywriting and Direct Response Marketing to create Brands which help them to introduce more products. PatentHealth and EdenPure are two brands that began as direct response, and great copywriting, products and are now sold in retail stores everywhere.

    Copywriting allows a guy like Ben Suarez to start in his basement, deep in debt, and in a matter of months to become rich...and then he builds a business which for the last 35 years has done billions in sales and employs hundreds of people and has made him one of the truly wealthy people in America. All because of his COPYWRITING skills.

    There are many people like this.

    And, I think many are attracted to COPYWRITING because they want to achieve financial freedom or stability through their God given talents and hard work via their creativity.

    There is NOTHING...and I'm up for a debate...there is NOTHING that beats Copywriting and Remote Direct Marketing as an entry point to the pathway to freedom.

    Write a piece of copy that sells something...and you can have cashflow overnight, and for decades to come.

    I love BRANDS. Like Montgomery Wards (which started with Direct Marketing).

    And some copywriters, like Gary Halbert for example, become their own brand.

    I'd like to see ONE example of a successful Entrepreneur or company that began with NOTHING but a Brand and without an influx of capital...and allowed the Entrepreneur to become independent in a matter of months. Got one?

    As for me, sure I'll buy TIDE at Walmart to wash my clothes, but I will also buy that Homemade Milk Soap that the small Entrepreneur is offering through his website...the soap the family made at the kitchen sink, and I'll happily buy other offerings from him...

    NOTHING beats copywriting and direct response marketing for us small guys who have no desire to become another "Branson" in this world...some marketers prefer to Fly Low and Collect the Dough...and COPYWRITING is what works.

    Again, it is a copywriting forum...sounds like someone is frustrated with their copywriting efforts and can't get themselves to a place where they can make it happen. Is that the reason for the attack? Don't know. Don't care.

    But, I sure do's' like my Copywriting. You?

    gjabiz
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Selling on the net gives you a unique opportunity to blend branding techniques with direct selling.
    That would have been an interesting topic. ....Pity.
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