Do You Make This Mistake in Marketing?

by Tim Francis on April 25, 2012

How many times does a loser guy buy a car and think it’s going to get him a girlfriend?  Even if he won’t admit it, let’s call a spade a spade:  A smokin’ car isn’t just the cubic inches under the hood…

(and I can relate: a Honda Civic would do just fine – no, actually better – at hauling groceries than my all-black Ford Mustang; but food-carrying-capacity was very low on my buying criteria when that black stallion captured my heart:  Guilty as Charged!)


The girl figures out the loser-guy (not me!) is a fraud in under 10 seconds, and the date is over after the first coffee.  He goes home alone.

And who can blame her?  The guy is guilty of false advertising – he puts up a front, then he’s empty on the inside.  Game over.

That’s what happens when you think the vehicle is going to score for you.  You can see how painfully flawed this is – it’s completely doomed for failure.

And if that guy did score, it wouldn’t be because of the car.  It would be because he’s playing a numbers game where he approaches so many women that sooner or later he’ll run into a girl who has just the right constellation of her own issues to say yes.  Just broke up with her BF, low self-esteem, daddy issues, whatever.

But it’s never about the car.

It’s The Driver
Behind the Wheel

What the heck does this have to do with marketing?  I’ll tell you a little further down.  First let’s talk about some movie stars.

George Clooney or Brad Pitt or Denzel could roll up in a 1984 shitbox and die from the crush of ladies.  The coroner would list his cause of death as “Mammary-Induced Suffocation”.  The ladies want HIM, not the car.

Actually, I stand corrected.  They don’t want him.  They want his status and power, and – more than anything – the bragging rights to go back to her girlfriends and say “OMG – You’ll NEVER GUESS WHO I WAS WITH LAST NIGHT!!!”.

And that’s the same reason people will buy anything.  Their core emotions: greed, lust, connection, achievement, revenge, superiority, pity, etc.  Mark Twain went a step further when he said: “A man has two reasons for what he does: the real reason, and the one he tells his wife.”

Making sense?  Do we agree?

I thought so.

Social Media!
Social Media!
Social Media!

And this is why I hate seeing self-anointed “social media” gurus spouting off about how important Facebook is.  Yes it’s a huge communication tool – I will not deny that.  But it’s only the car, not the person inside.

Don’t believe me?  Open a Facebook account, YouTube channel, and setup a website.  Watch what happens.  NOTHING.  You just wasted time and/or money to be another internet poser.  Just more useless internet clutter on the junk heap.  How does that feel?

Look Backward – Not Forward
For Winning Marketing Ideas

Understand that humans have purchased for the same reasons as when two cavemen fought over one cavewoman.

Or as John Carlton says: “…since one caveman traded a leg of mastodon meat for a cave with a better view…”

Certain aspects of humans are unchanging.  So turn down the hype and noise of the latest marketing (insert static here), shut off your computer for once, and get studying timeless marketing books like Scientific Advertising (Claude Hopkins, 1923), Tested Advertising Methods (John Caples, 1932), and How To Write a Good Advertisement (Victor Schwab, 1962).

I won’t belabor these classics, or any other winning marketing resources, seeing as I just wrote about them here.

(And thankfully these books are written by professional sales writers who built their careers on being really interesting, so you’ll probably find these books easy to read.)

Personally I’m luke-warm about social media at this precise moment (that might change), but websites, blogs, videos, Google Adwords, PPC advertising on Facebook…. I’m 110% up for.  But only under two conditions:


  • Has outstanding copy – the script of the video, the text of the Google Ad, the body of the website, heck even the text of a Tweet.  Actually, I take that back.  It doesn’t require outstanding copy.  All it needs is basic copy – the vast majority of sales writing is just so bad that even basic copy skills from a few standard books would be a 100% improvement or better.


  • Implements Direct Marketing – I mean in both strategy and execution.  By strategy, I mean that there are up-sells, follow-up, and a specific plan in place to make multiple sales to each customer.  By execution, I mean that the video, blog, or Google Ad drives a person to take action, like, right now.  Not out of coercion or pressure, but because the headline is so compelling that it’s harder to skip the Ad than to take a few moments to read it.  And then the message itself is so effective that the reader / viewer cannot resist picking up the phone or clicking through.  As in, it’s not even a choice… they must buy immediately!

A headline that you can’t pass by, which leads to a sales letter you can’t stop reading, to an offer that you can’t refuse, and an upsell you would be insane to decline…. THAT is the stuff that shoves money into your bank account.

Which is vastly different than opening a Facebook or Twitter account and impotently waiting around for customers to roll in.  That would be like a expecting to get a girl just because you’ve got a nice car in the driveway.  Sorry gents, I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t work that way.

Case closed.

Onwards and Upwards,



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