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Do you want to learn about direct marketing from the best in the world? listen to Drayton Bird on this week’s show

Direct Marketing by Drayton Bird

“Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.”
– David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather

One of the world’s greatest advertising men, David Ogilvy thought Drayton knew more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.

In this podcast, Drayton shares insights about direct marketing, advertising and copywriting. What can you learn from that insight?

What are the deadly sins that small businesses are making in their copywriting?

The answer is the same as large businesses. Those sins can be summed up in THREE words…

Failure to Study

Even copywriters are guilty. Drayton shared a story about a group of UK copywriters. How many of them had read what Drayton considers to be the single most important book on copywriting and marketing – Claude Hopkins Scientific Advertising. Just 10% of those copywriters had.

Drayton Bird, Direct Marketing


Drayton says the overwhelming number of people in marketing know the ‘square root of sod all’. Hopkins’ book was originally published in 1923.

Everything that Drayton writes now, is based on the principles that Hopkins established in this book. Ogilvy said nobody should have anything to do with advertising until they have read this book at least SEVEN times.

Read the book and it will make your marketing better.

What makes a good copywriter?

Drayton says he was influenced by David Ogilvy, even before he met him.

These are important if you want to be a copywriter (according to David Ogilvy)…

  1. Obsessive curiosity – be very curious about things. Do you love to learn about new things? Do you get fascinated by new clients’ businesses?
  2. Skill at the art of nit picking
  3. High standards of personal ethics – good copywriters are big people without pettiness.
  4. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat. – sometimes people don’t respond, when you get turned down, it is depressing, so be persistent.
  5. Brilliant brains, not safe plodders – ordinary people are not good at writing copy. Most good copywriters tend to be a little odd in some way other.
  6. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
  7. Charisma, charm and persuasiveness. Ogilvy had a way of changing the subject without warning. The secret of success in advertising was ‘charm’.
  8. A streak of unorthodoxy. Look at things from a different angle to other people.
  9. The courage to make tough decisions.
  10. Inspiring enthusiasts – got to be able to motivate. Inspire people to follow and trust you.
  11. A sense of humour. 44% of Britain don’t like their jobs!
  12. A burning desire to take money off people. Get people to buy stuff.


Drayton’s book Commonsense Direct Marketing – note the testimonial on the fly – “Read it and re-read it, it contains the knowledge of a lifetime” David Ogilvy

It all started because Drayton could not find a simple definition of direct marketing.

Drayton has a revised version of his 1980s book “How to Write a Sales Letter that Sells”

Also see Bob Bly’s

Direct Marketing Definition

“Any communication that goes out to people directly, or if they respond to directly.”

Therefore, everything on the internet is all direct marketing.

Which 2 Other Books Does Drayton Recommend?

John Caples “Tested Advertising Methods” –

Caples created systems for testing. He tested everything to find out what did and didn’t work. Are you happy to throw money at advertising without knowing will it work?

John Caples, Tested advertising Methods, Direct Marketing


David Ogilvy – Ogilvy on Advertising

Ogilvy of Advertising, The Next 100 Days, Drayton Bird

Rosser Reeves – Reality in Advertising

Ogilvy on advertising, David Ogilvy, drayton bird,

Reeves invented the unique sales proposition.

Good enough is good enough

We always think we can improve things. It is difficult to know when to stop. It is a matter of judgment. You must think how good can I get it in the amount of time?

Testing eliminates useless discussion

Napoleon said, “there is somebody who knows more than anybody and that is everybody”.

Drayton’s book Commonsense Direct Marketing has a couple of chapters devoted to testing. Here’s a very small snippet…

Drayton Bird, Commonsense Direct Marketing, Testing


Why Do Most Adverts Fail?

Because people haven’t studied what works and what doesn’t.

They have totally failed to study.

Study what works with headlines, layouts and pictures.

The big mistake, is your client saying “I like that”. But they aren’t the customer.

Copywriting – Long copy and short copy

The length of the copy you produce AS A RULE relates to the difficulty of selling whatever you wish to sell.

Soft drink versus expensive. Expensive, odds are you need log copy.

If you ask somebody to ACT NOW, then the odds are you need long copy. If the call to action is to go into a store, where the complete selling job will be done, then you may not require long copy.

Use your common sense. Do you need to explain what your service/product is all about?

McGraw Hill discover that on average the best advertisement repeated the proposition 3 times. The most successful advertisements do a complete selling job.

A complete selling job means:

  • You have to get people’s attention;
  • By offering something they dearly would like to have
  • And that they can have easily
  • Or, telling them that they can avoid something deeply unpleasant
  • And do so easily
  • Then go into an explanation of why this is important
  • then prove why it is important
  • And answer THE ONE QUESTION EVERYBODY ASKS, but 95% of adverts, landing pages, emails ignore
  • Why should I choose you?
  • So, explain at the top of your website WHY they should choose you – rather than having some “batty” slogan.
  • THEN answer 2 other questions
  • What do you do that nobody else can do?
  • What do you better than anybody else?

If you haven’t answered these 3 questions already, do it soon!

Drayton advises you come up with ALTERNATIVE answers to the 3 questions in bold above. Then test which one works best.

Access Drayton’s 2 books based on 51 Helpful Marketing Ideas priced at $19.97 each.

The Perfect Job Application

Alex Busson wrote to Drayton. Here are the tips.

  1. Alex sent a large letter, used different coloured crayons. It was impossible to ignore.
  2. It had the element of surprise – it stood out above pretty much everything Drayton had recently received.
  3. Alex flattered Drayton.
  4. He told a story. About an event. With a before and after drama. Problem and solution based on Drayton’s book.
  5. Alex went into great detail. He made an OFFER.
  6. He said he had read the greats of advertising.
  7. The Offer was in a separate envelope.
  8. He sent examples of his work.

Drayton offered him a job.

This application exemplifies what marketing is all about. Apply the lessons.

Find out more about Drayton Bird


What will people say of Drayton 

  • Fun to work with
  • Helpful to people

The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby