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Episode Info: Drayton Bird is a legendary direct marketing expert and writer who was once described as knowing “more about direct marketing than anyone else in the world”. Starting off as a journalist and then becoming a copywriter, by age 27 he was already creative director of a London advertising agency. However, bitten by the mail order bug, he quit his job and repeatedly failed to make his own business ventures work. Amassing a large debt, he spent seven years living under a false name, before realising there was only one thing that he was properly good at. [player] With two partners, he started a direct marketing agency. It wasn’t long before he could start using his real name again, and within three years had made the agency Britain’s biggest. Later sold to David Ogilvy, he joined the board of the Ogilvy Group for eight years. Ever since, he has worked for himself, helping brands with their direct marketing and writing books to help everyone be better. And his book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, written in 1982, is still immensely useful for marketing better today. Things Change, People Don’t It’s isn’t necessary to always be coming up with new ideas. What does work is taking an idea which you know works, and giving it a twist. Many of the lines you’ll see today in the emails you receive and landing pages you visit, are little more than what was used 50 or 100 years ago. Times change, but people don’t. Years ago, long headlines worked better than those of few words, and long copy performed better than shorter copy. Today, blogs which have longer titles and with more words still do better. It’s always been the case. People build on what went on before them. Media changes, but the people using them don’t. The people who are using social media are fundamentally the same people. They have the same loves, hates, and fears. And in regards to shortening attentions spans we hear so much about, Drayton points out that they were never long in the first place. The things you have to do to get people’s attention haven’t changed either. Clicking off of an ad on the computer is no easier than simply glancing away from an advert in a magazine, or walking out of the room when the adverts are on the TV. Why You? In marketing, the most important thing, unquestionably, is being able to answer the question ‘Why should people choose you?’ Are you doing something which nobody else does, or perhaps doing it better than other people? Until you can answer these questions – the things your customers and prospects actually care about – then the chances of you staying business are slim. People are driven by emotion instead of reason, and therefore, we buy from people we like. And you can’t just create a market for yourself. However, you can realise a market which you didn’t know was there. It should be the case that you spend most of your day thinking about your customers, and working out what they actually want. Don’t Guess If ...
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