If you want better returns on your direct marketing dollars, you need to stand on the shoulders of marketing giants. If you do as they did, you’ll get the terrific results they got. With the changes brought about by modern technology, you might think that marketing is an entirely different art than it was years ago. But marketing is as much a science as an art, and its principles don’t change.

When we talk about the principles of marketing, we’re really talking about one thing – human nature. Today, people can come by phone or online, instead of by horse or camel, to shop from your market. But what makes them buy hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.

Modern marketing really began about 100 years ago, when people began to use scientific language to communicate what works in advertising. When we say something is scientific, that just means we can test it and get the same results, time after time. We have different tools, but if you experiment with the methods of successful marketers, you’ll find their methods work just as well for you.

Until the 19th century, the majority of businesses didn’t really advertise. They just announced. For instance, you’d see an “ad” in the newspaper that said something like, “Paul Bunyan, Woodcutter, 123 Main Street.” Few copywriters took the opportunity to tell readers about the incredible muscle power they’d get from hiring a Paul Bunyan! Earlier in history, they didn’t need to give a reason to hire this woodcutter, since there was only one woodcutter in town. But with the growth of cities came the need to differentiate one woodcutter from another.

John E. Kennedy, who began his career as a copywriter in 1904, got his start because he knew what makes people buy. In fact, he was so sure he knew that he sent the following note to the ad agency of Lord and Thomas as his “application.”

“I’m in the saloon downstairs, I can tell you what advertising is. I know you don’t know. It will mean much to me to have you know what it is and it will mean much to you. If you wish to know what advertising is, send the word ‘yes’ down by the bellboy.
Signed – John E. Kennedy”

When Kennedy was summoned upstairs later that same night, he defined advertising and earned himself his first copywriting job. What he said was deceptively simple: “Advertising is Salesmanship-in-Print.” Kennedy was hired and, at $52,000 per year, became the highest paid copywriter of his day. Lord and Thomas become the training center for all copywriters, using the principles of human nature that Kennedy wrote down in a series of lessons called The Book of Advertising Tests.

John E. Kennedy knew that people must have a reason to buy. It’s not enough to say, “Buy my product.” You have to give people a reason to buy from you. You have to tell them what’s in it for them. In fact, the book of tests was later re-published under the name Reason Why Advertising and became very popular.

You can count on human nature to be what it was 100 years ago. Kennedy was a wildly successful direct marketer. He didn’t have the Internet, but he knew people. Imagine how wildly successful you’ll be, when you combine today’s powerful marketing tools with insight into human nature.

Take an honest look at yourself and your product or service. Find one good reason your prospects should buy from you. Then, tell them why!

Author's Bio: 

Robert Greenshields is a marketing success coach who helps business owners and professionals who are frustrated that they're working too many hours for too little reward. Sign up for his free tips on earning more and working less at MindPower Marketing