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Republicans, Democrats, Dinosaurs & Cowboys By Brian Kurtz

by | Brian Kurtz, In the Magazine

I did an interview for the I Love Marketing podcast/portal with Joe Polish over five years ago.

I hadn’t thought about it (maybe because I thought it was “old news”), but I was reminded of it for a couple of reasons this week.

First, because of the title:

Everyone is going right, time to go left.

Or was it at some point, Everyone is going left, time to go, right?

It doesn’t really matter because either way, I made half the country angry in 2020 America.

Let Me Explain

At the time of the interview, I couldn’t predict that the United States would become even more polarized than it was back then…it was only 2014, but it might as well have been 1914.

The country has gotten more fractured than ever before, and I didn’t know I had a troublesome title, that could be a turnoff, based on the political climate today.

It’s not only a turnoff to folks not listening to a very useful interview- but in addition, I received lots of nasty comments and emails (without them even opening the link).

For My Online Family

This interview has nothing to do with politics…but it has everything to do with multi-channel direct response marketing.

I also didn’t have a problem when I released the video five years ago…because I didn’t advertise it on Facebook back then…only to you and on my website.

But now Facebook enters the picture…and before I realized I had a problem, I started getting many Facebook friends ready to unfriend me…along with those snide comments from other “friends.”

Now that I think about it, in certain cases, losing a few from that latter group of commenters could end up being a positive result. 🙂

However, my intention was not to alienate anybody unless they disagreed with my marketing. There is, but I alienated many with my non-political political thesis (i.e., the title).

The good news was that my Facebook media buyer thought the interview was still timely and posted the interview as an ad with the right-left title, a perfectly fine thing to do.

The bad news is that we were unpleasantly surprised when I got slammed with comments like “Trump 2020!” and “Biden Rules!”

I didn’t see that coming. But I guess I deserved it.

Again, the interview doesn’t go near politics (thank goodness).

It’s all about this “new medium” called “direct mail.”

New because what’s old is new again.

It’s “new” as a differentiator because so many digital marketers are afraid of it, they don’t think it works anymore, or it’s too hard to do.

As I have said in the past, it’s like making sushi at home you can do it, but why?

Direct mail has changed a lot since the go-go ’80s (and even since 2014).

But it is currently a secret weapon, but not so secret if you read this blog and watch the interview in the P.S.

It is one of the most impactful ways to juice up the back end of any digital business.

For example, how many digital businesses take credit cards? I suspect most.

If you have one of those digital businesses, are you aware that you “own” the postal address of those buyers despite not sending them physical products (i.e., and that it’s another database of house customers ready for direct mail action)?

And you own them as “opt-out” names/people for direct mail while you need an “opt-in” for email?

(That is, you can mail them until they unsubscribe rather than not mail them until they do subscribe.)

Also: Are you aware that the least crowded In Box is the one at the end of your driveway?

And that’s pre-COVID, more so during COVID…and, it will be true post-COVID too.

These comments have nothing to do with direct mail taking over as the medium of choice for marketers who are 100% “online,”; but they have a lot to do with how you can use this crazy world of “snail mail” to build your business.

Any message or product that you send through the postal service (and its kissing cousins UPS, Federal Express, etc.) are timelier and more powerful today…whether you are all digital or mostly digital.

And dare I say, a Republican or a Democrat.

I assumed the interview was dated…but it’s actually more relevant today than when we recorded it.

It would be irresponsible for me to ever suggest that a marketer go to direct mail first to market to “cold traffic” (what we called “outside lists,” not our “house list,” in the olden days).

But sending a targeted, meaningful FedEx package fulfilling some aspect of your online offer, or creating another offer, or just as another communication tool, traveling to a very empty mailbox, when someone spends as much as $2,000 on something digital, may also qualify as:

Kick-ass backend marketing.

A retention strategy (if you believe in lifetime value…and if you don’t, you might as well unsubscribe from my online family).

A love gift…that becomes additional reciprocation (e.g., after fulfilling your $2,000 product).

Shock and awe…it will be remembered a little more than a Christmas card…, and it can still have a purpose in addition to knocking your customer, student, client off their chair (assuming they weren’t standing up at the mailbox opening up your “lumpy mail”).

These are only some of the many topics Joe, and I talk about in the interview (which you can access in the P.S.).

Here Are Some Others

The type of direct mail letter you can send to your prospects and customers right now to create customers for life

A strategy where the more money you lose, the richer you could get

The 3 most important criteria when evaluating a list

The smartest thing you can do to double (or even triple) your revenues this year

One of the most effective ways to sell high-priced products and services to high-ticket buyers

The #1 way to get noticed, get attention, and get an advantage over competitors in the 21st century

How to pre-screen lists so you can find customers who buy more from you (and your business)– and they won’t bad debt you either (I hinted at this one below)

The simplest way to improve rapport, connection, and longevity with your customers

The “O to O to O” strategy used by smart entrepreneurs that increases your conversions and your cash flow…by meeting your clients, students, prospects where they want to be met.

Besides being accused as a political partisan on Facebook, I was also reminded of this interview this past week by a Titans Xcelerator member, David Foley, who posted in our private Facebook Group about it, with a specific point Joe and I cover regarding true “bill me offers”:

In the video with Joe Polish…Brian Kurtz speaks about how the risks of a “bill me offer” in direct mail can be mitigated [by using suppression files of bad debt names], and only making the offer available to credit-worthy individuals.

That is very true, and there is another aspect to consider.

What if your prospects do not have the ability to pay because their credit cards are maxed out… or their spouse will not approve the purchase?

Many Internet marketers offer payment plans, although many times they come with… high-interest rates [or penalties] for paying overtime.

David goes on to say that installment payment plans in direct mail—without “interest” or not paying more in order to pay overtime–will increase total dollars in the door.

You may have known this already…but if not, it’s worth a test in your digital business (if you currently charge a premium for payment plans).

In addition, when we did a 3-pay or 4-pay installment billing offer on our books at my previous company Boardroom, we received close to 70% full payment on the first bill…and once buyers paid the first installment, they paid the second, third (and fourth) installments at a 90% clip.

Online customers will behave differently from program to program and from direct mail customers as well… but the point here is to make sure all the permutations of installment billing are in your arsenal of offers.

The details of this and so many other uses about direct mail on the back end of a digital business are contained in this interview.

I hope you will give it a listen. Scroll up a little when you get to the site to get to the interview. But read the comments too.

Direct mail is not dead…it’s not even on life support…but it is being used differently today under the “O to O to O” (“Online to Offline to Online”) mantra, with staggering good results.

The rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

The direct mail dinosaurs are far from extinct…and the online cowboys should take heed.

While it’s true there are a lot fewer names available for direct mail (since fewer people are using the medium today), those names you are able to mail—especially your online family (i.e., your house list)– have response rates that are as good or better than what we received decades ago.

It’s a different medium today…dare I say “new”… but still deadly.

With breakthrough copy, techniques, and formats who are the assassins.

And no one is getting killed…I assure you.

But I will assure you the results you will achieve will be killer.



 About Brian Kurtz

Brian Kurtz has overseen the mailing of approximately 1.3 billion pieces of third-class mail over the past 20 years…and over 2 billion pieces of promotions in all media over his career which spans almost 4 decades. He has marketed and sold newsletters and books via direct response television (infomercials) and using e-mail and the Internet in huge numbers. He has never met a medium he didn’t like and he has learned the ins and outs of every possible medium where direct marketing lives and thrives. He’s proud to have cut his teeth in the offline world of direct marketing and he is finding that the principles he’s followed over the past 40 years all apply online as well. He has written two books based on all of his experiences and study: Overdeliver: Build a business for a lifetime playing the long game in direct response marketing ( The Advertising Solution

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