Behavioral Marketing Spurs [Book List]

I asked, “Was anyone else listening to Public Radio on the way over?”

“Let me guess, Rick said, “the piece about behavioral marketing rang your chimes. The thing that got me was the breathless description of the ‘new discovery’ that a P.S. on a letter or e-mail improved response rates from a person who had obviously never won her spurs in the direct marketing arena!”

Winning Spurs in Direct Marketing

“Right. The person being interviewed was talking about basic stuff as if it was discovered yesterday. She and the interviewer were both completely oblivious to the entire history of marketing, direct or otherwise.”

Chris said, “Everyone knows that a P.S. can increase response.”

“Apparently not,” Kate remarked. ” Time and again I run into this phenomenon. It happens in sales all the time. I have to teach people new to the profession how to shake hands and take notes and basic techniques. The other side of that is when they start trying to emulate the flavor of the day from the latest book published without knowing the stuff the new approach is on top of.”

“Chris,” Rick said, “You’re one of the few youngsters I know that has done his homework and tried to learn from some of the masters. Off the top of your head what three or four books would you recommend to anyone trying to understand direct marketing?”

Chris replied:

  • Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (originally published in the 1930’s I think, but reprinted in the last couple of years)
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy (a classic about print advertising)
  • Convergence Marketing by Richard Rosen (for a quantitative look at brand vs. direct)
  • Give ‘em one white sock by Rapp & Collins (a bunch of ideas for ways to get a message opened)
  • Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson (Contemporary take that applies the classics to on line marketing)

You’ll find that most of them talk about their mentors, colleagues and competitors as well as what they had to do to earn their spurs. They became successful by doing what the behavioral marketing crowd thinks they are discovering,

The Takeaway
A little reading can take years off your learning curve. Direct marketing that works follows a pattern: It convinces, persuades and moves prospects closer to the sale by trying something, measuring it, establishing a control, testing details and new concepts against it. Successful direct marketers keep using the control until it is beaten. Then they start the entire process over.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Subscribe to the blog at:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

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