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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Success, failure and copywriting - The Marketing Sleuth grills me. You may find solutions to a few puzzles

Rezbi the Marketing Sleuth interviewed me a year or so ago, but with my usual scrupulous attention to detail I never even looked at what he printed.

Maybe this was because I laughed when I saw myself called Drayton Bird – Direct Marketing Legend. But now that I've read the whole thing, it seems quite helpful to me - and maybe it will to you.

1. In your experience, what proportion of the people who enter DM succeed?

A. Depends on what you mean. I have no idea. I suspect no more than one in ten, as it seems so simple – if you don’t understand it.

But businesses owners who are spending their money and risking the roof over their heads may do better – probably because they only care about results; they have to succeed.

2. What do you think are the biggest mistakes people make which prevent them being successful?

• Over optimism.

• Lack of persistence.

• Lack of study

• Falling in love with their own products.

• Trying to be clever and “creative”

• Having a background in a firm, or with firms that don’t understand and appreciate direct marketing – especially a large one. They’ll always dilute your efforts and lean towards puffery.

3. In a nutshell, what are the basic steps to success in direct marketing?

• Find something you like – that interests you.

• Steep yourself in it

• Study your market deeply – possible customers, prospects, competition.

• Talk to those customers and prospects

• Become a customer of your competition.

• Try to meet people succeeding in similar areas and pick their brains

• Arrive at a proposition that beats what is available in some significant way

• Determine who it will appeal to and how you will reach them

• Consider what may go wrong. Hope for the best; plan for the worst.

• Measure everything.

• Establish how you can constantly improve.

• Pay remorseless attention to detail.

• Find good people

• Motivate and keep them

• Get rid of the ones that are no good – quickly but kindly

4. How important is copywriting to this business and, more importantly, how important is it for us as direct marketers to know at least something about copywriting?

Copywriting is no use if you want to manage a business. But without understanding it you can’t succeed. It is in a way the glue that sticks good DM together.

5. In principle, what type of products are good for the beginning direct marketer to aim to sell?

Ones with a big margin requiring little investment (ie anything on paper or online).

Don’t be a pioneer. Till you know better, copy and improve.

Find something that appeals to a clearly definable group you can reach

This interview goes on and on - so if you'd like to see the rest. go to


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