The Wonderful World of Marketing Episode 23: Scientific Advertising and the Direct Marketing Era

Engineers often like to say that they innovate by standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before them, and the same is true of advertising (even if we rarely like to admit it).

In this episode of “The Wonderful World of Marketing,”  I start to delve into the Modern Marketing Department by first taking a look at the history of our industry over the last century.

We are currently in the early stages of the 3rd Era of Marketing — the Data-Driven Revenue Marketing Era. The first Era — the Direct Marketing Era — birthed the profession and trained a generation of copywriters how to sell in print. The second Era — the Mass Marketing Era — trained a generation of creatives on the power of mass persuasion. Unfortunately, the measurement techniques of the first Era did not carry over to the second Era, and as a result marketing became less accountable to results over time. The exciting thing about the third Era is that we are finally able to marry the accountability of the first Era with the scale of the second Era — ushering in what I believe is going to be a new Golden Age for marketing.

Episode 23 focuses on the characteristics of the first Era … and includes some Magic 8-Ball silliness upfront.

Here are a few books we discussed in the episode which are must-reads:

  • Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins: Link
  • The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (but True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and Arthur W. Schultz: Link
  • Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples: Link

And here’s another favorite of mine — a contemporary book which does a nice job of connecting modern storytelling with advertising history. The author does what I wish so many practitioners would do — develop a good understanding of the original science of the business in order to drive advancement … the way a chemist learns the periodic table as an initial stepping stone to further innovation.

  • The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era by Teressa Iezzi: Link