And what continues to surprise me is how few newbies know about not just three or four but even ONE of the five main individuals I had followed during those 11 years prior to starting in IM. Even today I encounter people who haven't heard of Dan Kennedy. It's shocking. Instead of following some IM guru--or even me--learn about these five people and what they've done: you'll get a lot better business sense.
Why? Because they're proven. They build real businesses that have stood the test of time. And a couple of them, to my knowledge, never even heard of IM...but they sure knew how to run an operation and make a profit.
So here's my list of the five genuine experts you should be studying:
- Jay Abraham
- Dan Kennedy
- David Ogilvy
- Tom Peters
- Peter Drucker
Jay Abraham is amazing at Joint Ventures, starting businesses with other resources than cash, and the strategy of preeminence. He is big on ideas and energetic on strategy. Any time I need a solid process for positioning, I go straight to Jay Abraham. He is the "newest" of this bunch for me...I've only been following him for six years.
Dan Kennedy is a direct response copywriter I've been studying since the mid-90s. In my college days we had a 3-hour break Wednesday afternoons, and I went to find anything other than operations management to learn about! This lead to setting up old film projectors to watch black and white Desmond Morris animal behavioral videos...learning about physics and chaos...and discovering copywriting.
At the time, Dan had not joined forces with Bill Glazer yet. He was putting out big yellow-bound workbooks and tiny contrarian hardbound volumes, but there was no Inner Circle--what would be the membership component of his business and the source of his take-off. Sometimes the notion that I've been following Dan for over 20 years gives me a bit of a shiver lol. But he's definitely had the most influence on my serious B2B copywriting style.
David Ogilvy is one of the founders of modern advertising. He passed away in 1999, so I don't know how much online marketing he got into...but much of the stuff that is taught about headlines, bullets, and point of view in advertising has him as one of the main sources. If you haven't read Confessions of An Advertising Man, you should pick that up right away.
Tom Peters is one of the two experts I'm going to mention specifically from my operations management days. I was a factory manager at 25 and Tom is part of the reason why. He's about process improvement, wowing your clients with amazing projects and their results, and being crystal clear on who you are and what you stand for.
You may have heard of "In Search of Excellence"...that's one of his early books. For a high-speed, wild ride on personal branding, get his "Brand YOU!50"...which I am on my third or fourth copy of as I keep giving them to people.
And finally, Peter Drucker. Much like another factory management guy I was taught about in Opman, W. Edwards Deming--only the father of how we manage Quality today--we never hear about Drucker in IM. But you would do well to learn about process, management, and futurism from him.
These are the five genuine experts who have influenced me the most in my 20+ year career. If you haven't heard of some of them, I encourage you to start googling right now. Rather than relying on "gurus of the month" for fancy funnel tips that won't work in the time it takes to ripen a strawberry, you'll learn foundational skills that will let you build the funnel properly yourself.