Only Fools Ignore Rules
In 1980, I sat in the first row of a deliciously tacky Broadway vaudeville show—Sugar Babies—starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. At one point, Rooney and the cast set up a very old joke from burlesque days. I saw it coming, and when the diminutive comic delivered the punch line with exquisite timing, I exploded with a huge guffaw, whereupon the rest of the audience followed suit.
Rooney stopped the show dead, walked down to the apron and stared directly at me over the footlights. "You liked that one?" he shouted. "I got a million of 'em."
After 55 years in the business of marketing and direct marketing, the basic rules are hard-wired into my DNA. Like Mickey Rooney, I got a million of 'em. A sampling of 10 basic marketing rules:
1. "Always make it easy to order." —Elsworth Howell
2. Always ask for an order.
3. Always make an offer.
4. "The right offer should be so attractive, only a lunatic would say no." —Claude Hopkins
5. "If you want to dramatically increase your response, dramatically improve your offer." —Axel Andersson
6. "The wickedest of all sins is to run an advertisement without a headline." —David Ogilvy
7. "On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your advertising dollar." —David Ogilvy
8. "Your best lede is usually to be found somewhere on the second page of your first draft." —Pat Friesen
9. "Short words. Short sentences. Short paragraphs." —Andrew J. Byrne
10. "Human nature is perpetual. In most respects it is the same today as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them." —Claude Hopkins