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The Story Behind One of the Greatest Ads Ever

By Tom Ruwitch

In 1925, John Caples was a rookie copywriter working on an ad for home-study piano courses. He drafted several headlines that he shared with his boss. Here are a few: “Can you play the piano? Neither could I three months ago?” “They laughed when I sat down at the piano. But when I started to…

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Understand This and Your Marketing Will Be Better

By Tom Ruwitch

I read something cool this morning. It comes from a book called Breakthrough Advertising, by Eugene Schwartz. He was one of the great direct response copywriters of the twentieth century. Breakthrough Advertising is a Bible for those who want to write copy that works. At the beginning of Chapter Seven, Schwartz writes… “…Advertising is the literature of…

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How a Nine-Word Story Sold Millions

By Tom Ruwitch

One of the great business stories of all time is also one of the shortest. Just nine words. Here it is: You can pay me now… …or pay me later. If you watched television in the 70s, you couldn’t miss those ads for Fram oil filters. The broken car. The expensive repair. The mechanic saying…

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How the U.S. Grant Playbook Can Help Your Business

By Tom Ruwitch

Here’s a TV recommendation: Watch “Grant,” the new three-part documentary on the History Channel (here’s the trailer).  Ulysses S. Grant was a complicated man. Some historians have painted him as a drunk, a villain, a reckless general who got lucky, a corrupt politician. This documentary rewrites that history. It exposes some of the warts. But generally,…

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Top Marketers Say This is More Important Than Anything

By Tom Ruwitch

I recently heard this story about the great copywriter Gary Halbert… Near the end of his career he was quizzing a protege and said, “The best way to get a prospect’s attention is to appeal to their sense of ___________.” The protege replied, “Their sense of self-interest?” Halbert said, “No…their sense of curiosity.” That’s great…

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How Taco Bell Hotel Rooms Sold Out in 120 Seconds

By Tom Ruwitch

I read about a hotel that promises a “fun, colorful and flavorful” and magical experience. Set to open in August, the hotel began taking reservations online in June. It sold out in two minutes. Introducing The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort in Palm Springs, California. The Bell is just a temporary rebranding of…

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Testing Works In Business

By Tom Ruwitch

Before publishing his first best-seller, Tim Ferriss tested options. He came up with six potential titles. Then he purchased Google Adwords ads — one version for each title — targeting search terms related to the book’s topics. Each ad used the potential book title as the headline and used the book’s tagline for the ad’s…

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How Do You know If Your Marketing is Working

By Tom Ruwitch

A marketing novice wondered whether a direct mail ad he received from a restaurant was any good. He described the ad in an online discussion board and waited for responses. Dozens of people replied with all sorts of marketing advice. Lots of them said they liked the ad. Some asked to see the advertisement so…

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Reach Out to Former Customers

By Tom Ruwitch

Last month, a networking group that I help manage contacted 18 former members to learn why they quit. Three of the 18 said they quit for no particular reason. They just let their commitment lag. Prompted by the phone call, they committed to resubscribe. Three out of 18. That’s 17 percent. That’s pretty good. Many…

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Human Beings Shop For Status

By Tom Ruwitch

In 1774, King Frederick II of Prussia was ruling over a land ravaged by famine. He urged farmers to plant potatoes to end the famine. But back then, potatoes were considered livestock feed in Eastern Europe, not suitable for human consumption. So farmers defied the king and didn’t plant them… …until King Frederick changed marketing…

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