The Most Universal Marketing Strategy In The World

I’ve been writing advertising, editing copywriters, and advising marketing mavens for more than 20 years. During that time, I’ve seen a lot of clever and effective marketing techniques. Most of the best of those have been explained in past ETRs. Those that pertain to direct marketing are contained in the Michael Masterson Accelerated Six-Figure Copywriting Course (
And some new ones will appear in AWAI’s updated Hall of Fame: Great Selling Ideas for 50 Super-Successful Direct Mail Letters and Direct Response Ads. To request your copy, for $79, forward this email and include payment information to

But of all the clever schemes and tricks I’ve seen or tried, there is one that almost always does better than any other. It’s without a doubt the best thing you can do to make a lagging marketing campaign come to life. And it’s the strongest strategy you can employ to introduce a new product or service to the market.

In fact, it is such a simple and obvious technique that you may be disappointed when I tell you what it is. But you shouldn’t be. Because you can never be reminded too often of the simplest truths. They are the secrets that make life fruitful and fun.

I say this from the humility of experience. Despite my admonishments to you, I’ve forgotten this secret time and time again. Every time I am lost in a sea of clever marketing ideas, wondering why my latest strategy failed to work, something or someone reminds me of The First and Greatest Marketing Secret. And I try it again. Sure enough, it works and business booms!

The First and Greatest Marketing Secret is this: To make your advertisement work better, make it bigger and bolder. As James Brown might have said, “Say it loud and say it proud.”

One of the very first television commercials I ever noticed was Crazy Eddie’s. He was a New York-based appliance dealer who used to shout and scream in front of the camera — challenging his competition to meet his prices. The same strategy was used by Barney’s to start its very successful men’s-clothing business. And do you remember how Charmin toilet paper made it big? DON’T SQUEEZE THE CHARMIN!

Saying it loud and proud might offend some (and most especially your competition), but it is definitely the strongest way to get noticed. So don’t be sensitive to the disapproval of those who want you to make your ads subtle and sophisticated. They don’t have to pay your bills.

Do be careful about what you say, however, because if you promise more than you can deliver, you’ll end up with a business built on quicksand. But if you have a solid product, don’t be afraid to get up on that podium and start yelling.

Here are a few direct-mail examples of saying it loud and proud:

* “What never ? EVER to eat on an airplane! (And other surprising secrets you’re not supposed to know)”

* “Burn disease out of your body — lying flat on your back, using nothing more than the palm of your hand!”

* “I put up over $134,000 to be sure you (and this project) succeed!”

* “A rare opportunity to turn $5,000 into $3.52 million!”

* “A spoonful a day can extend life to an active 130 years!”

Compare these to your current marketing and ask yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how outrageous is this?” If the answer is 8 or less, start to examine your thinking. Why haven’t you produced an outrageous marketing package yet? Are you embarrassed by the product? What would you have to change to feel OK about boasting? These are questions that must be asked. The answers may point you toward a level of success you’ve only imagined till now.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]