He just sent me his latest email from his collection of Helpful ideas. Take a look at it and send him an email (you’ll see what I mean when you get to the end).
Once you’ve got a good idea, try to make it surprising, too.
Here’s another little quiz for you, Ghulam. What do all these messages have in common?
(Most people are too busy earning a living to make real money)
Did you guess what it is, besides the fact that they all made an awful lot of money for the people who ran them?
Have you guessed the common factor yet?
Well, just in case you didn’t, let me tell you that it is a special quality that I believe distinguishes marketing messages that are remarkable from those that are just good.
That quality is relevant surprise.
And my Helpful Idea No 32 is, once you’ve got a good idea, try to make it surprising, too.
But don’t be tempted to commit two grievous sins:
1. putting forward ideas that are surprising, but utterly irrelevant.
2. Putting forward ideas that are neither surprising nor relevant.
I gave you an example of the irrelevant a while ago in the case of a fatuous commercial for Barclays Bank featuring the famous financial expert Samuel L. Jackson and a pig.
Actually, banks are very good at the fatuous.
I recall that when First Direct started they thought it a good idea to have a commercial half-witted business man waving an umbrella and splashing about in some fountain, plus ads featuring dead fish and Wellington boots.
No wonder it took them about 8 years to break even.
I saw a good example of the second sin on a poster for Vodaphone, which says “Make the most of now”. A prize to anyone who can tell me how the hell that meaningless drivel is going to make anyone choose/stay with Vodaphone.
Special offer – but only if you’re interested.
I could tell you a lot about the ads and mailings I’ve featured here that you might find useful. That’s partly because I knew five of the eight people who ran or wrote them so I can tell you about the background, and partly because I know a lot about what made them work.
If enough of you would like me to, let me know and I’ll put together a little video for you (f*r*e*e!!!) But only if you are really interested.
Let me know if you like the idea by e-mailing me with the word ‘Video’.