Julian Lewis Watkins

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

We sold somewhere around 300 copies of my new book so far, “The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting.”

See “IN THE NEWS” at right. Mark G. was one of very few (if not the only) dissatisfied customer to demand an immediate refund. The key paragraph in Mark G.’s brief e-mail:

All of the examples of copy seem from another era and none of them gave me a clue about how to write for the Internet.

The lede of my e-mail reply to Mark G.—before getting into the nitty-gritty of his return and refund:

Sorry you feel that way. Sorrier still for your clients or employers.

Mark G.’s concept of the Internet was prevalent in those thrilling days of yesteryear—the late 1990s

"This is a new medium and a new paradigm,” the hot-shot 20-somethings told us marketing geezers back then. “We don’t need to know your old marketing rules. We make the rules now, so take a hike.”

That ignorance-is-bliss philosophy resulted in $3 trillion disappearing down the sewer in the dot-com bust, and legions of those smug, self-important kiddies wound up moving in with their parents and going back to school.

Fact: The only way to write for the Internet—or any other medium—is to study what has been tested—and proven successful—in other media from another era.

What worked then works now.

For example, what follows are two identical marketing case histories—800 years apart.

Doyle Dane Bernbach Founder Bill Bernbach famously said, "Good advertising builds sales. Great advertising builds factories." Bernbach's seemingly fanciful quote is actually based on fact. The 1923 ad was written by George Cecil of N.W. Ayer & Son, and not only turned Canada Dry into a household brand of ginger ale, but was responsible for the construction of two new factories.

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