How to Please Your Customers:
Hopkins’ My Life in Advertising Wrap-up

My new boots came in the mail. They were far too small. I felt like a kid again and my feet had grown over the summer.

These boots had everything I wanted. Leather, waterproof, and insulated, I expected to keep them for years. But of course, they had to fit right.

Winter Boots are a necessity around these parts. Image "What's Down There?"by James, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Winter Boots are a necessity around these parts. Image “What’s Down There?”by James, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Luckily, the online retailer made the exchange simple and free. I mailed the boots in to try a second pair, and I waited.

It was going to be a cold, snowy Thanksgiving in Wisconsin.

Continue reading “How to Please Your Customers: Hopkins’ My Life in Advertising Wrap-up”

If most people fail to meet their goals, why would they have good advice? (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 8)

Last week on PRL, we discussed Hopkins’ career in medical advertising. After seeing all the cash being made by his own advertising efforts, Hopkins gets interested in his own profits.

Chapter Eight, Hopkins is recruited to work at Liquozone, a failing company selling another medical tonic.

Liquozone was Hopkins' own medicine company after he and investors really spent $100,000 to buy the product rights for the US market.
Liquozone was Hopkins’ own medicine company after investors really spent $100,000 to buy the product rights for the US market.

Against the opposition of his friends, Hopkins takes the job. He is to be paid no starting salary. He reasons that if most people fail to meet their goals, why would they have good advice? Tweet This

Hopkins creates a new scheme for Liquozone, where six bottles are available for $5, guaranteed to work. Again, he has a druggist sign the paperwork for the guarantee, lending authority to the tonic.

Light through the ear? Because yeah, druggests have the best reputation. Image by Arallyn, Flickr, By-CC-2.0
Light through the ear? Because yeah, druggists have the best reputation. Image by Arallyn, Flickr, By-CC-2.0

“I had a proposition which no reasonable person can refuse.” Hopkins insists that a salesman should remove all attempt of protecting himself in a deal. Make an offer that the buyer should not reasonably refuse, and the sale is easy.

Vague facts never sell as well as specific claims. Image by Arallyn, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Vague facts never sell as well as specific claims, such as the price of Liquozone. Image by Arallyn, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Within one year, Hokpins has enough sales to turn the Liquozone company around with a large profit.  The advertising lesson learned is “ask a person to take a chance on you, and you have a fight.  Offer to take a chance on him, and the way is easy.” Tweet This

Hopkins’ Great Mistake and Great Satisfaction (My Life in Advertising, Chapters 18 & 19)

Successful people look successful from the outside. They only get that way by making (and learning from) many, many mistakes on their way to greatness.

Claude C Hopkins made many mistakes in his career, as we’ve learned while reviewing his 1927 book, My Life in Advertising.

5792666213_cc2c421477_oMost of Hopkins’ mistakes were small marketing and advertising tests. They were intentionally designed to have a successful outcome and a failed outcome, to refine his ads and better hone his craft.

Chapter Eighteen, Hopkins’ Great Mistake. At age 21, Hopkins is advised by his boss, Mr. Bissel, to not get tied to the company. Hopkins remains an employee over the next decades while he watches others in his field build their own firms. He laments that he’s taken many risks that bring reward to the vendors or failure to the ad-man, while the ad firm gets the lion’s share of the earnings.

Hopkins wishes he had struck out on his own. He eventually did, starting a successful cosmetics company.

Nineteen, Some Personal Things. Hopkins talks about his lifelong love of work. He tells how he woke early to encourage the homeless to work. He inspired his daughter’s suitors to work harder. “They found that…. winning a contract was better than winning a trophy.”

At the end of his career, Hopkins is disinterested in his finances and doesn’t want to know the value of his property. Instead, “Now I have the privilege of setting down my findings for the men who follow me…. I have gained… the satisfaction of knowing that I have discovered some enduring principles.”

 

This is the fifteenth part in a chapter-by-chapter summary of Claude C. Hopkins’ My Life in Advertising. First published in 1927, this book was as insightful then as it is today. I encourage you to sign up for PRL to learn more about persuasion and influence today!

Hopkins’ Essentials of Advertising (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 17)

After reviewing Hopkins’ accomplishments, we get to the most important chapter of the book, Chapter Seventeen, Scientific Advertising.

Hopkins compares advertisements with salespeople. Each must prove their worth. Track results to know what is effective and what is not. Some techniques won’t work in various industries.

Image "Money bw" by Monochrome, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Image “Money bw” by Monochrome, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

But some truths are universal. Hopkins lays them out in this essential chapter.

Continue reading “Hopkins’ Essentials of Advertising (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 17)”

The Three Interests An Advertisement Must Serve (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 16)

I don’t know about you, but I’m wary of ads that push the status quo. “Everything’s OK,” they say. “We’re the brand you know and trust.” Those brands aren’t working to keep our business.

Advertisements with selfish appeals don’t interest a reader. Advertising great Claude C. Hopkins stresses service in advertisement. It’s a theme throughout his book My Life in Advertising.

Hopkins applied this service outlook in his advertisements and his career. Hopkins’ great success comes from service to others, not to himself.

Chapter 16, “Reasons for Success,” focuses on the business of advertising.

The influential advertising person, you, must serve three interests.

Image "_MG_8515.jpg" by Tibor Kovacs, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Image “_MG_8515.jpg” by Tibor Kovacs, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Continue reading “The Three Interests An Advertisement Must Serve (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 16)”

Be a Creator of Beauty (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 14 and 15)

I really like buying things. Things I don’t need, things I do need, things I think I’ll need later. A delayed delivery doesn’t stop this — Kickstarter hasn’t been my wallet’s best friend.

Mind the Gap. It's used to pique your interest and direct your behaviour. Image "Mind the Gap" by Larry Johnson, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Mind the Gap. It’s used to pique your interest and direct your behaviour. Image “Mind the Gap” by Larry Johnson, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

We’re all victims of this psychological hook that advertisers use: they create a “gap” in your life. The gap could be the beginning of a story, leaving us hanging. The gap could be a heightened interest in a limited offer. Continue reading “Be a Creator of Beauty (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 14 and 15)”

Food… Shot from Guns? (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 12 and 13)

YOU can be 10% more knowledgeable about advertising giant Claude C Hopkins’ Secrets to Success with this one PRL post!

This is the 11th post in a series covering the current PRL book selection, My Life in Advertising.

Chapter twelve of My Life in Advertising, Hopkins works on the Palmolive soap account.

Following Hopkins’ playbook, the ad agency offers to buy the beauty soap for whomever brings in a coupon. Palmolive uses this offer to force quick distribution in retail stores, because no business wants the customer going elsewhere. The customers become hooked because the rule of reciprocity says that something done for them, the free bar of soap, will increase their desire to give back.

You must have an extraordinary claim to make a dent in a crowded market. Image by Nesster, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
You must have an extraordinary claim to make a dent in a crowded market. Image by Nesster, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Continue reading “Food… Shot from Guns? (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 12 and 13)”

Three Ways Steam-Powered Automobiles Changed Advertising (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 10 and 11)

This is the 10th part in a series covering the current PRL book selection, My Life in Advertising.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Over 100 years ago, steam-powered automobiles were a novelty to many and a luxury to the few who could afford them. With time, the technology improved and the cost dropped.

We’re in a similar situation with Tesla and other high-end vehicles. And their ad methods haven’t changed much in those 100+ years. Continue reading “Three Ways Steam-Powered Automobiles Changed Advertising (My Life in Advertising: Chapters 10 and 11)”

Baked Beans Bring Hopkins Back (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 9)

Do you like to barbecue? How about baked beans, do you like them?

I like baked beans especially at a barbecue. They’re sweet, with a touch of tomato, brown sugar, and pork. They remind me of summer days and paper plates.

But I don’t eat baked beans weekly.

Summer barbecue in 1913. Looks refreshing, doesn't it? Photo courtesy Orange County Archives
Summer barbecue in 1913. I don’t know if they served baked beans. Looks refreshing, doesn’t it? Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

Apparently in the early 1900s, baked beans were all the rage. People couldn’t get enough. Baked beans were frequently homemade. They would sometimes ferment while cooking. Other times they would explode in the 16 hour cooking process. That didn’t stop anyone.

Continue reading “Baked Beans Bring Hopkins Back (My Life in Advertising: Chapter 9)”