Dan Kennedy: ReCycle – or The Power of a “Swipe File”

Will you be shocked by great marketer Dan Kennedy’s advice?: “Of all the lessons I’ve learned in marketing, this one stands out above all others: avoid creative invention” (In my soon to be published “The Insider Guide to the Strategic Marketing of Translation Services“, I insist on the importance of creating a fat “Swipe File”)

Here goes:

“I have never made the slightest effort to compose anything original.”
– Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

There may be no good reason to “create” anything in advertising – there’s so much good stuff to recycle.

Last year, I ran a referral promotion for my newsletter, where I threatened to shoot a Dalmation dog if I didn’t get referrals – and I used a photo of me holding a gun against a stuffed dog’s head. In January, 1973, the cover of the National Lampoon magazine featured a similar image and “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.”

There’s just no telling how many people have used versions of John Caples’ famous headline: “They Laughed When I sat Down At The Piano – Until I Started To Play.”

There’s no reason to ever sit down and stare at a blank page, to develop your next ad or sales letter. Go back 10 to 20 years, and look at what was being done then to advertise your type of product.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned in marketing, this one stands out above all others: avoid creative invention. Pioneers too often come home shot full of arrows, and there is absolutely no need to be a pioneer in order to become outrageously successful. The surest path to success is the clever, adaptive copycat.

When you go to make your bank deposits, they don’t “bonus” you if you got the money by being creative, nor do they penalize you if you didn’t. A dollar is a dollar.

Every great marketer relies on “the power of a ‘swipe file’“. If you do the kind of quantity of work that I do and put in 20 years doing it, and you are somewhat “psycho-cybernetic” in the use of your subconscious mind, you do build up a ‘swipe file’ in your mind from which the material you need sort of “springs”. Some people confuse this with some kind of genetic talent. It’s not; it is storage. But even with this asset inside my mind, I still rely on extensive swipe files and reference materials.

P.S. Highly recommended regular read: Dan Kennedy’s Blog”
P.P.S. Submit your blog article to this edition of “amsall’s translation marketing carnival“. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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About translatorpower

The Cross-cultural Connector, The Global Mindset Advocate
This entry was posted in advertising, Amsall, Blog carnival, Dan Kennedy, marketing, swipe file. Bookmark the permalink.

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