Two Facts About Advertising and One Truth About Copywriters


“I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn’t like it.” Samuel Goldwyn

You relied on a one-trick pony, a copywriter who has had great success with a particular type of promotion — so much success that he insists on rewriting it for every one of his clients.

But your business is not like any other business. Yes, it may be similar to others for which his promotional approach has worked. But it’s not the same. He was too proud to see that as a possibility. And you were too timid to insist that he face the facts.

But there is another reason — maybe a more important reason — that his package was doomed to fail. Time. A package that works one year is unlikely to work the next. And if it works two years in a row, it’s even more unlikely to persist after that.

Rare indeed are the packages that last five or 10 years. Yes, you hear about them all the time. But not because they are common. They are talked about precisely because they are so rare.

The only constant in life is change — and markets change as quickly as people. You can’t expect that what worked so brilliantly last year will work today. It won’t. So why would you expect a copywriter who uses the same old approach to have the same success? You can’t.

Let me tell you a very big secret about copywriters. There are no great copywriters; there’s only great copy. And great copy happens when you have a “tipping-point” idea about how to sell your product and you get your copywriter fired up about it.

The campaign you and your copywriter create together involves a lot of talent, including his considerable intelligence and skill — but it becomes a blockbuster only when YOU have exactly the right idea at exactly the right time. If you are a copywriter, remember this: To write blockbuster copy, you have to make your copy new. You can use all the skills and knowledge you developed in the past, but they must be applied to your client’s specific market. Every business has its own unique audience. To make your promotion work for that audience, you have to tailor your copy to them — who they are, what they want, what they need, and how they like to be talked to. And you can’t do that without the help of your client.

And if you are a marketer, remember this: Great promotions are never the work of a single person. And any copywriter who thinks he doesn’t need your help is likely to disappoint you.