“The Most Important Advertising Question”


n 2004, on the eve of his retirement, when he was no longer accepting clients, “America’s best copywriter” began to share his most powerful trade secrets by email.

His name was Gary Bencivenga and he called the emails “Marketing Bullets.”

I’ve been reading Bencivenga’s Bullets again lately, inspired by Brian Kurtz and his book “Overdeliver.” (More on that in a minute)

I wanted to share with you one of my favorites: Bullet #4, “The Most Important Advertising Question.”

Here’s Gary’s take:

Early in my career, a wizened old Copy Chief taught me that one of the shrewdest questions master closers always ponder is, “What are we really selling?”

For example:

You are not selling grass seed. You are selling a greener lawn.

You are not selling boilers and BTUs. You are selling warmer, cozier winter nights at a 27% fuel savings.

You are not selling baseball tickets. You are selling memories of sunny afternoons that a father and his children will cherish forever.

Back in 1781, Samuel Johnson understood this well. When he was appointed to auction off the Henry Thrale brewery, he announced, “We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice.”

Perhaps lipstick king Charles Revson said it best: “In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope.”

You get the idea.

When I share this concept, I usually hear, “Yeah! I get the idea,” as if it’s obvious.

Yet, I continue to see so much content that sells the cosmetics, not the hope.

My question/challenge for you:

What do you sell?

Take a few minutes and give it some thought. And then shoot me an email. I’d love to hear where your thoughts took you.

One last thing…

TODAY at 2 p.m. ET, 11 a.m. PT, Brian Kurtz will join Ted Prodromou and me to discuss “Overdeliver.”

You’re invited to join us.

Gary wrote some of his greatest copy for Boardroom, Inc. where Brian was the Executive Vice President.

Brian had a front-row seat — check that… Brian was on the playing field as Gary earned his place in the marketing hall of fame.

As Brian and I traded emails this week to prepare for Thursday’s event (to which you’re invited), he told me some incredible stories about Gary…

…stories loaded with lessons about how to be a winning marketer.

Brian will share some of those stories today.

You can attend if you join the Mastermind Book Club here.

Members will receive emails with the Zoom link later today (including one right before the event).

Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Get the Story Power Profit Pack -- 52 Strategies, Tips, and Tactics  to Transform Your Content from Ignored to Adored.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Twice-monthly live masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

Want to get great content like this...

...delivered straight to your inbox?

Join our email list...

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Post Categories

Previous Post

Next Post

Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.