Famous Last Words: 19 Favorite Takeaways
In 2005, I started writing an e-zine, Business Common Sense. The premise: Start with a current news story and connect the dots back to the reader's career and life.
My wife, Peggy, publisher of the new e-zine (and this magazine), came up with the idea of having takeaway points—a short collection of bulleted one- and two-liners or paragraphs at the end of each piece—that summarize why a particular column might be worth reading.
Takeaways serve two purposes: 1) to force the writer (me) to focus on the key points of the story and ruthlessly self-edit when I start wandering off-track 2) to crystallize the story in the mind of the reader, making it memorable.
In seven years, I have come up with thousands of takeaways.
Every now and then, a reader would write to ask if I ever planned to publish a collection of the takeaways. Late last year, I put the idea on the front burner and it's now in print. What follows are some favorites that I hope you will find useful:
- "The copywriter's aim in life should be to try to make it harder for people to pass up his advertisement than to read it." —Vic Schwab
- "If it doesn't sell, it's not creative." —Credo, Benton & Bowles agency
- You cannot judge good direct marketing; it judges you.
- "Always try to turn a marketing disaster into a marketing opportunity." —Lester Wunderman
- "The customer or prospect doesn't give a damn about you, your company or your product. All that matters is, 'What's in it for me?'" —Bob Hacker
- The old rules of business and marketing apply to the brave new world of the Internet.
- "Whoever knows only one direct marketing skill, whether it's art direction, copywriting or list management, does not even know that properly." —Martin Gross
- Search engine optimization/search engine marketing (SEO/SEM) IS rocket science.
- "Specifics sell. Generalities don't." —Andrew J. Byrne
- CRM is marketing jargon for "customer retention marketing" or "customer relationship marketing." That's the gib- berish spouted by number-crunching business school grads and MBAs. If you are in marketing, your business is to create "customer relationship magic."
- "I've never bought an ad at full rate in my life." —Iris Shokoff
- At every staff meeting, raise the question: "Anything in the news that can affect our business?"
- "If you want to dramatically increase your response, you must dramatically improve your offer." —Axel Andersson
- "The right offer should be so attractive that only a lunatic would say no." —Claude Hopkins
- "There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead." —Michael Levine
- When making a presentation, always obey the PowerPoint 10-20-30 Rule: no more than 10 slides, no more than 20 minutes and no type smaller than 30 point.
- "Confine your tests to important changes, not trivial ones. You will never get the exact same answers over again." —Maxwell Sackheim
- Rupert Murdoch started charging £2 a week to read the London Times online and instantly lost 90 percent of his online readership.
- "It takes hard writing to make easy reading." —Robert Louis Stevenson
Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of the e-newsletter, Denny Hatch's Business Common Sense. Visit him at www.businesscommon sense.com or www.dennyhatch.com, or contact him via email at denny firstname.lastname@example.org