Eugene Schwartz – World’s Best Marketing Person
What makes a good marketer?
I often read the following quote online.
‘’The best way to become an outstanding marketer is to understand your customer.’’
And it’s perfect, it truly is the 1 thing, the ONLY thing a marketer needs to become successful.
That’s why another popular quote goes as followed.
‘’The best customer is yourself.’’
Think about it.
Who do you know most about?
Whose feelings, desires, and problems do you know the most about?
Your own of course. That’s why there are so many successful marketers in the world, because of this one thing…
They’re selling a product that helped them solve problems.
Because of that, they know the 2 most important things in the world of marketing.
They realize the power of having:
- A deep understanding of the customer’s problem.
- A deep understanding of the customer’s desire.
With these 2 everything else becomes simple.
With these 2 in place, anyone can become a successful marketer.
But there’ll always be room for improvement and who better to learn from than the world’s greatest marketer himself.
Eugene M. Schwartz.
The greatest marketer in history
The year was 1976 and Martin Edelston, founder of the now more than $50-million annually producing and direct-marketing powerhouse Boardroom Inc., was broke.
Well, not quite broke broke. More like down to the last bits.
42 years old and working out of his basement, Edelston had burned through half his start-up capital with nothing to show for it save an empty desk
Martin was an entrepreneur with an extraordinary vision and oodles of talent.
But, as with many hugely talented businessmen and women, he had little or no
understanding of marketing and communication – and how they work.
He simply didn’t know how to communicate the tremendous value and benefits
of his product to his perceived market.
Martin looked himself in the mirror one day and he saw a very worried man, he felt bad for himself.
His product was excellent, but the market just didn’t care for it.
At this point, he recalled a conversation he had with a friend. There were rumors going around about a guy who did magic in the advertising world.
Whatever it was, the guy wrote an ad and the ad delivered. People were calling him a genius.
The genius was no other than Eugene M. Schwartz. (Gene for short.)
“He came to me,” Schwartz recalled, “with $3,500 in his pocket, and I told him I’d have to charge him $2,500 as a copy fee.”
$2,500 might not sound crazy, but today that’d be a $10,497 price tag. Even more amazing is what that number represented for Edelson himself.
Yes, Marty, I will write you an ad … just one. And all it’ll cost is 70% of everything you have.
That same night Schwartz wrote the whole ad, while his wife was putting on makeup.
But he didn’t want to appear unprofessional by sending the ad to Mr. Edelston on the first day. So he put it in the drawer and didn’t send it until 2 weeks later.
The ad was a big success. A publishing empire was born. He soon went from his basement desk to a Boardroom of a company turning over $100 million a year in sales.
Gene knew how to sell. Marty did not.
Gene Schwartz became one of the highest-paid copywriters of the 1950s and
60s. Rodale Press once paid him a commission of $54,000 for four hours work.
In his lifetime, he made over $2 BILLION dollars for his clients, with the ads hewrote.
The life of Eugene Schwartz
Schwartz lived an extraordinary life with a focus on doing what he loved.
Writing and collecting art.
Gene was born on March 18, 1927, in Butte, Mont., and studied at the University of Washington.
He moved to New York City in 1949, joining the advertising firm of Huber Hoge & Sons as a messenger boy and working his way up to copy chief.
In 1954 he went into business on his own.
Gene’s specialty was direct-mail campaigns, he was the author of 10 books, including “Breakthrough Advertising” and “The Brilliance Breakthrough.”
Copywriting wasn’t his only passion though. Gene was also an enthusiastic lover of art.
But for him, it was also a form of generosity since he gave away art with as much enthusiasm as he purchased it with.
Eugene gave away hundreds of pieces to large and small institutions all around the country.
5 Lessons from Eugene Schwartz for every Marketer
These 5 lessons from Eugene Schwartz are crucial for the success of any marketer.
1. Be the best listener
If you want to succeed in the world of advertising, listen to what the market is saying.
The market will deliver you all the tools you need to succeed if you just listen to it.
Try and figure out what is going through the mind of others.
What are their worries, fears, desires?
Here’s one of many interesting habits Mr. Schwartz had.
As soon as he sat in a Taxi he started drilling at the driver with questions. He said it’s one of the best ways to figure out what the market is saying.
- Write in a way that DIRECTLY targets their minds
- The deeper your understanding of the market is, the more successful you’ll be
David Ogilvy, one of the famous marketers in copywriting once wrote this: “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”
2. Don’t make them think
Have you ever read an ad with a bunch of terms you didn’t understand?
So did I, unfortunately. The thing is…
If the ad is not written in PLAIN simple English I don’t even bother reading it.
Keep this in mind the next time you’re putting together an ad.
Will the prospect understand it, is it clear and easy to understand?
Important – everything you write should be written for the 8-14-year-olds.
By writing it in simple terms, you’ll make sure that every single person will be able to understand it.
Remember, the more people that read and understand your ad, the higher the success rate will be.
3. Channel desire, but don’t sell
Think about your own buying process.
Do you ever go out and look for a product you don’t really need or have no desire for?
You go out and buy a product when that product fulfills a desire.
You go out and buy a product when it fulfills a need.
Think about the market, what does it want?
Then simply guide them and present your product as the best way to fulfill their desire.
4. Focus on the functionality of a product
Let’s propose someone is buying a lawnmower. What will be their main deciding factor?
Will it be the color, shape or the design of the lawnmower?
Most likely not.
They’re buying the lawn mower with one single purpose, to cut their lawn faster and make their life easier.
As Eugene always said, every product has 2 products.
The physical one and the functional one.
Most of the time a customer is buying the functional one. He’s buying a product to make his life easier, so the next time you advertise think about this.
How can I advertise this product in a way that will make the customer’s life seem even easier than what he already expects?
When you go over the top with the type of benefits in which the customer is already interested, the sale is guaranteed.
5. Instant gratification
I was listening to a marketing podcast once and they were telling this funny story.
They were explaining how 80% of the people who buy a treadmill, buy it because of the feeling it gives them.
It gives them a feeling that they’ll lose weight just by buying it.
That’s the CORE meaning of instant gratification.
Make them feel like the only thing they need to do to, to fulfill their desire is to buy the product.
The product will sell like hotcakes.
The Secret of Breakthrough Advertising – Mass Desire
Picking the right mass desire to focus the ad on is crucial to the ad’s success.
Pick the wrong one and the ad will fail no matter how well it’s written.
Every piece of copy you write has to do two things:
- Rescue the prospect from their personal hell
- Present a solution that will deliver them unto their personal heaven.
Copywriting is about properly channeling desire and not sales.
Mass Desire comes from the market itself
‘’The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy.
Copy cannot create the desire for a product.
It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.
This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire—but to channel it on the tool that can turn the desire into reality.’’
Who needs your product?
Good copy is absolutely worthless without the right target market.
Therefore the first step of copywriting is defining it. You can do that by answering the following questions.
- What does your target market hate? (about their life, job, your type of product)
- What hell does your product save your target market from?
By asking these types of questions you’ll be able to clearly define your target market.
Remember, the more specific you are. The better your ad will perform.
Your target’s BIGGEST desire
Now that you have a target market in mind, your task is to write out ALL their desires.
All the desires they hope to materialize by buying your product.
Here’s an example of buying desires.
Now that you have a whole list, your task changes. It gets a bit more difficult.
Your task now is to PICK ONLY ONE mass desire.
Because in Schwartz’s words:
‘’Every product appeals to two, three or four of these mass desires.
But only one can predominate; only one can reach out through your headline to your customer.
Only one is the key that unlocks the maximum economic power at the particular time your advertisement is published.’’
This choice of picking one desire is the most important step in the entire copywriting process.
If it is wrong, nothing else that you do in the ad will matter.
So remember: Just. One.
I want to conclude with an explanation of why I picked Eugene M. Schwartz.
These days there are a lot of excellent marketers.
Social media advertising is at an all-time high.
It’s gotten way easier to sell, but now imagine the old days…
Imagine how hard it was to sell back in the 50s and 60s.
There was no way to measure the click-through rates or to re-target people.
But Eugene M. Schwartz succeeded anyway.
Not only did he succeed, but he also wrote 10 books.
He wrote 10 books with a single purpose and that purpose was to improve the lives of others.
One of my favorite advertising books of all time is Breakthrough Advertising.
Not because it taught me how to write copy, or how to increase sales.
It’s one of my favorite advertising books because it taught me how important knowing your market is.
The better you know the market, the more you’ll sell.
The more you improve the lives of others, the more money you’ll make.
The bigger the problem you solve, the more successful you’ll be.
That was my main take away from the book.
And that’s why it’s one of my favorite books of all time.
It proves that you can achieve success with a single purpose.
To improve the lives of others.