Post image for Do you really have to under-go a near-death experience to become a street-savvy Marketer?

Do you really have to under-go a near-death experience to become a street-savvy Marketer?

by Pete Godfrey · 1 comment

Do you really have to under-go a near-death experience to become a street-savvy Marketer?

Tuesday, 10.38 am, Mackay, Tropical North Queensland, Australia


I was talking to a client on the phone a while ago and he said something that took me back a little and got me thinking. And I thought I’d share it with you here because it makes a good point and really rams home what this marketing game is all about.

Anyway, my client simply said: “I like the way you can nail my problems… you’re always thinking outside of the box.”

That’s it, that’s all he said.

So it wasn’t as if it was anything earth shattering. But to me it hit home.

Anyway I started thinking: “Well that’s because I’ve never been inside any box. I’ve always been standing on the outside looking in.” (And for all those Cold Chisel fans out there, what a song that was hey?) Instead, I replied to my client: “Well thanks… but that’s what you’re paying me for.” Or something like that anyway.

My point is; I bring a lot more to the table than just my copywriting skills.  (And stay with me…this about YOU not me.)  I packed a whole lot of living in my first 35-odd years.  (Some would say too much… but hey, I can’t change history.)

I’ve tasted the extremes of emotions from despair to sheer and utter bliss. I tasted the adrenalin rush of fast bikes and have been just a fraction-of-a-second away from certain death on more than one occasion. Crazy but true.

From my wild out of control nomadic years on one side, to the tougher-to-do years when my son was born and I was trying desperately to get it together and stay in one place long enough to get some answers.

I’ve lived through them all. Many of my friends didn’t.

So I can call on many different memories… I can think back and taste many different and conflicting emotions. And all are used as tools in my copy… so I can relate to whomever I’m targeting… so I can empathise and understand their situation, bond with them… and then get in there and stir those emotions up into a fevered pitch of anticipation.

And I don’t think I could bring all that to the table if I was stuck as a teller at your local bank for 20-odd years.

Nah, just wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t be the guy I am now… in fact, I wouldn’t be here… it would have killed me… I would have died from boredom no doubt about it.

But here’s the good news.

You don’t have to undergo a few near-death experiences to be a top marketer… so stop panicking will ya?

You do have to be awake though. As marketers, we can’t live our lives in a haze.

You’ve got to see what your market is really about… not how you wished they were, but how they are.

If you target the affluent over 50’s, then you’ve got to know their language, their style and what concerns them on a daily basis.

If your market is the average Joe suburbia, then get out of your comfort zone and take a drive out into the suburbs of any town or city. If you haven’t been out there in a while, I guarantee you’re going to get a wake up call.

While you’re out there, open your eyes. Really see how they live and feel their frustrations.

Because a lot of them ARE frustrated. Real damn frustrated! A lot of them “are living lives of quiet desperation” as Thoreau once said so eloquently.

Because a good proportion of this market have “settled.”

They’ve settled for a lack lustre marriage, a job they hate, and a house that has shackled them to a lifelong mortgage.

They’re walking around in a TV-induced stupor watching life as it happens to them.

And you’ve got to know all this and feel all this to have any hope of selling something to `em.

But get this…

Don’t go feeling all superior here. If they feel you’re talking down to them, if they feel you just don’t understand, they’re not going to give you their money!

So when I’ve got a sales copy problem to solve,  I get inside the heads of the market my client is targeting.

I wanna know what they are feeling.  Heck I want to feel what they are feeling. I want to experience it for myself, as if it were real, exactly what they are going through.

This is what I do on any copy project I undertake.

And sure it takes a bit out of you… and yes I can write copy cold as if by rote… but the best pieces I’ve written are the ones when I’m so pumped full of emotions that I’m jumping out of my skin.

I pace my desk, scribble a few notes, mutter and moan and pull my hair until I finally sit down and nail the damn thing.

But as my mate and Aussie millionaire-maker Mal Emerysays: “Copywriters are a strange mob.”

That maybe true… but one reason for this is that we, as John Carlton says, go deep. We don’t sit around by the side of the pool, wondering if it’s cold, poking a foot in to test the water. Nah… we just dive in at the deep end and pray like hell there’s water in the pool.

Mal said this in one of his recent Weekly Nudges…


Ah Mal, you’ve got a way with words my friend. But it sums it up totally.

What I’m getting at here is if you want more money and make more sales you’ve got to empathise with and truly understand your market.

Easier said than done…

I see it so many times.

A good product getting pitched in the wrong way. Appealing to every single benefit a person would want except…

The one damn thing that’s on their mind all the time! The one damn thing that they crave!

You see, these marketers missed it; they didn’t know the one thing to lead with… didn’t know the right angle to take. They were guessing, which is a guaranteed way to lose your money.

So writing sales copy or being a great marketer isn’t rocket-science and you don’t need academic qualifications.

Heck, I was on the road when I was fifteen so it doesn’t take education.

But you do have to get educated on your market and this takes a bit of discipline.

Discipline to do your research and find out what your market craves… what they are thinking about… that special thing they want that’s buried beneath a thin veil of sophistication.

Get in there, go deep, stir that emotion and make more money.

Related Posts:

About The Author

Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janet Beckers August 22, 2012 at 8:52 am

Top article as always Pete. Sometimes it does seem as every great marketer has a story where they “used to live in a rolled up newspaper in the middle of the road” so you can feel it is almost a pre-requisite.

I agree most people don’t spend near enough time getting inside the minds of their target market. Very few go out and find them and actually talk to them. I made that mistake in my first business and it was an expensive lesson. So before I started my next business (Wonderful Web Women) I spent close to a year finding and talking to my potential customers. I knew their frustrations thoroughly before I launched.

Where do you find them? Well mine were women looking for role models and mentors to build an internet business. So they were at internet marketing conferences. More specifically lining up in the queue to the women’s toilets at every break. So yep…I spent months hanging out in the women’s loos with an MP3 recorder interviewing all the women lined up. Sounds weird but it worked!


Leave a Comment

Next post: