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Old August 24, 2022, 11:30 AM
GordonJ's Avatar
GordonJ GordonJ is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 3,273
Default But Dr. Rice, that is copywriting heresy...I mean...come on now...

Well. Most of the millions of dollars of sales data I have seen shows that this 40/40/20 formula is right, most of the time...51% of anything is most, right?

It is as good as anything out there, but as you know, I'm a copy HISTORIAN, and my take on all of these so called, maybe, they are mostly right.

Mayer's book was published in 1950, the data from his histories went back to the thirties...and then the BOOM of mail order in the 1950's aided that.

My cautionary advice about all things copywriting is...use them as frameworks, not FOUNDATIONS.

I think using the 40/40/20 idea is a good one, if laid upon the foundation of avatar want (demand) and TIMING.

It was pretty, pretty, pretty easy to sell those novelties of the 1950's we all look to as "great copy", but be it sea monkeys, ant farms, spud guns, hula hoops or Davy Crocket hats...the idea, appeasing the kids is no different than having them have a game boy or even cell phone today.

The demand to appease kids, as you are rapidly coming to understand, is a foundation which any marketer can build on.

Then the framework, maybe can follow some formula, to make things easy for the marketers. Some day in the future, when a young one gets an ice cream cone for the first starts a chain reaction which lasts a lifetime...the demand is there, up to Ben, Jerry et al to get her to try one of their brands.

I note, today, there are or seems to be, a lot of COPYWRITERS being laid off and contracts ended by big FINANCIAL PUBLISHERS, just today in my email, got a letter from one of the S. FL seemed almost desperate.

Their OFFER for a subscription to a service which has historically performed as good as a coin toss, had a lot of copy technique, methodology and well, the fact copywriters are being let go...speaks louder than all the words they think they carefully craft.


And lets not forget, he was an expert in propaganda. I wonder if he followed this formula in propaganda too??

Originally Posted by Dien Rice View Post
It's been said that...

"Success in direct mail is 40 percent lists, 40 percent offer and 20 percent everything else."
- Ed Mayer

Famous Last Words : About Offers, by Denny Hatch

The "copy" - the specific way you write everything - fits into the 20% of "everything else"...

That means if you want to make more sales, the quickest and easiest way is often to improve your offer...

I'm partly putting this up here to remind myself of this very important point!

You read copywriters, and you come across the notion that the copy is the be-all and end-all...

Whereas experience-wizened copywriters know that, the offer itself is actually much more important...

And we haven't even gotten to "the list" - which means the quality of the list, and also how well the list of prospects matches your offer...

Or in my best Glengarry Glen Ross Ed Harris voice,

"It's the leads. The whole thing is the leads, you understand me?"

However, it's often quicker and easier to change the offer (if you're the business owner), than it is to change the "list"... (But you need both!)

Best wishes!


Last edited by Dien Rice : August 24, 2022 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Fixed formatting
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