Building a List of 9 Million Names WITHOUT the Internet - with Brian Kurtz

What would you do differently if you had to pay postage for every email you sent to your list? Do you think it would make you a better marketer?

Brian Kurtz is the Executive Vice President at Boardroom Inc., an industry leader in both direct marketing and newsletter publishing that does well over $100 million in revenue. He's overseen the the mailing of approximately 1.3 billion pieces of direct mail. Brian cut his teeth in the offline world of direct marketing and as a result has a unique perspective that will benefit anyone who’s starting a business today.

One of the keys to Brian's success has been his understanding of how to segment his list of subscribers by first understanding the path they took to get on his list. This approach allows him to tailor his message to the individual instead of the group and he's going to show you exactly how he does it.

In this interview you'll learn...

  • 15:18  the necessary mindset of a list manager
  • 21:50  where internet marketers are missing the boat
  • 26:10  how to identify and treat your VIP's
  • 29:24  why most people unsubscribe and how to get them back
  • 38:39  the key to making money
  • 45:25  why you should expect less from people
  • 52:54  the difference between a product and a business


Show notes

Podcast transcript:

Andy: Welcome everyone. Today we’ve got
with me Brian Kurtz and Brian is the Executive Vice-President at
Boardroom Inc., an industry leader in both direct marketing and
newsletter publishing. They’ve done hundreds of millions of dollars
in revenue over their lifetime. He’s joined the company in 1981 and
has overseen the mailing of approximately 1.3 billion pieces of
direct mail. That’s billion with a B. He built his entire career in the
offline world of direct marketing. He has this crazy unique
perspective most of us will never totally understand I think.
But here’s what I really like about Brian guys. Brian and I met at
Yanik Silver’s Underground event and I had no idea who Brian was
at the time. I had no idea he’s running Boardroom. Talking with him
when I think of somebody who sent 1.3 billion pieces of direct mail,
I instantly get this idea of somebody who’s going to be arrogant and
kind of cocky and kind of knowing everything. But when you talk
with Brian you’ll find that he’s one of the most real, genuine guys
that you’ll ever meet and he’s constantly asking questions and
learning which is why I think he’s so brilliant when it comes to
marketing. Brian, dude, thank you for coming on the show. I’m so
excited to have you here.
Brian: That was such an amazing introduction. A couple
other things, just the highlight.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: First of all, on the 1.3 billion pieces of mail, I licked
every stamp, just so you know. Also, I want to throw it back at you,
I thank you for that. I’m honored to be with you. I want to tell you
how it went the other way. When I’m at Underground and I’m
sitting there thinking, “Okay, I’ll give all of my … whatever
knowledge I can give to these young upstarts who weren’t even born
[inaudible 00:01:58].” And then I meet you and … I guess I can
mention Dane, people here know Dane. I met the two of you, we
were at a cocktail party or something and I just … like a laser, I just
fixated on the two of you for couple of reasons.
One is your thirst for knowledge and education even though …
you’re obviously crushing it in so many areas of your business right
now, that you’re totally mission-based. Well, you want to make sure
that everybody makes a lot of money in your circle and that you
guys do well. This whole idea, you have to give back. As Dan
Sullivan, the strategic coach says, “Why do I have to give back? I
never took anything.” You’re not taking anything. You’re giving
back just by being who you guys are.
And then when we got into this discussion about Gene Schwartz
who was like the best copywriters who ever live and wrote a book
called Breakthrough Advertising in 1966 and both you and Dane
knew the book and you knew his history. Dane, wanted to touch me
because I knew Gene Schwartz personally, I’m like, “These guys
are cool.” How many guys under 30 would even know who Gene
Schwartz is, much less know the concepts, what the guy meant to
direct mail, direct marketing. Internet marketing even though the
internet wasn’t even around when Gene died.
To me, you got to understand where I’m coming from. I’m on the
lookout for guys like you. I want to be aligned with guys like you.
The problem is, if I can become your mentor in anyway, the odds
are is that I’m dying way before you. I can tell you that every one of
my mentors, and I got tons of mentors in my business, every one of
them is so old that they’re all dying on me now, and it really sucks. I
just want you to know that if we’re going to have that relationship
the rest of our lives …
Andy: I have a feeling too.
Brian: The problem is I’m telling you now, you’re going to
be really sad because I’m going to die way before you.
Outside of that, I just love sharing, you’re absolutely right. I love
educating myself and I have learned so much. You learn by
teaching. I’ve been trying to be a teacher too. Since I started in the
business, I’ve been teaching direct mail, direct marketing and now
I’m teaching it to a whole new generation of marketers and they …
I’m getting more out of it than I’m given, believe me. But I just
want to give, give, give.
Andy: It’s so cool. The reason I’m so excited is because … I
started playing online in 6th grade with Instant Messenger and all of
that. Some people younger than us just don’t know a world without
the internet and even I have a hard time imagining that at times.
When I think of doing marketing and stuffing an envelope and
printing paper, anytime I have to write a check or do something with
paper, it never gets done because it’s just so hard for me to actually
do it. If I think if I had to put stamps on paper and it cost me 50
cents or a dollar every time I was sending something out, how
would I look at marketing through a completely different lens and
you have that.
To get started, just give us a brief overview for people who don’t
know what Boardroom is, what is Boardroom, what products do you
sell. Just give us the basics on that.
Brian: Yeah, let me do that quickly because I’d rather just
get into concepts.
Boardroom, as a company, was started as Boardroom Reports back
in 1972. Believe me, I was only in junior high school. The guy who
started, Marty Edelston, is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. One of
the most amazing, amazing men. Probably the biggest … definitely
the biggest influence on my career. He knew Gene Schwartz really
personally as well. Among many other people.
Marty started the business because he just really felt that no one was
teaching business people how to run their business. He was a
veracious reader of business books, and this is important because I
know you really believe in this stuff for your entrepreneurial
Andy: Oh yeah.
Brian: Marty would read every business book he could and
two things: one is that Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes and the Wall
Street Journal weren’t telling people how to run their businesses
even back then. He wanted to come up with something that could
and he would have launched the magazine except he didn’t have
enough money so he did a newsletter instead. Not only did he deal
like there was this incredible need but it was his own veracious
appetite for the information and he felt most business books had like
one good chapter [inaudible 00:06:21].
I always ask people “how many books have you read recently?” and
they tell me “so many,” and I said “how many of you red cover to
cover?” and … to me it’s not a badge of honor to say I’ve read every
business book cover to cover. To me it’s like have you gotten the
gist of that book and the concepts that are most important. That’s
what Boardroom Reports was. The first promotion for Boardroom
Reports was written by Gene Schwartz and it was read 300 business
magazines in 30 minutes and get the gist of each. And get the guts
of each I think.
Andy: No way.
Brian: Yeah way. That was the promotion.
Marty really invent that hypertext in 1972. He knew about digesting
the best of the best; the stuff that he was so ahead of his time. That
was the first ten years between ‘72 and ‘81 until I got here. I always
tell Marty, well, before I got here company was nothing.
Andy: Just [inaudible 00:07:16].
Brian: He had launched this newsletter and he did a bunch of
books. At that time, this is in the 1970s, he actually did a mail order
book called The Book of Business Knowledge which was a
hardcover, 500-page book of Boardroom Reports’ greatest hits. He
sold well over a 100,000 copies in direct mail which is unheard of.
Andy: What price point were you selling the book at?
Brian: Like at $30 price point.
Andy: Wow.
Brian: Marty was just has an incredible nose for marketing.
He had to learn marketing from all the best people and he really
loved … he started loving direct mail.
I got here in ‘81, we had just launched our second big newsletter
which was Bottom Line/Personal. Still exist today; probably the
largest consumer newsletter on the planet. We had over a million
subscribers at one point. But we still, in this internet age, have
400,000 paid subscribers to the print edition. We have an older
audience. Well, we have a tablet edition and we have a lot of eletters,
a lot of our folks still want paper. We still produce it.
Boardroom Reports doesn’t even exist anymore. It became much
more of a consumer publisher Bottom Line/Personal, then we
launched the health newsletter which is Bottom Line/Health. It was
called something else but Bottom Line/Health. Those are the only
two print newsletters that still exist. Total circulation of those two
are about a half a million. Print.
Andy: Got it.
Brian: Then we have an entire e-letter division, mostly
health newsletters. We have some general consumer, newsletters in
the e-world. We do take advertising in those, we don’t take
advertising in the print newsletters. I wouldn’t say we’re an affiliate
but we’re certainly a publisher that does reciprocal advertising with
people that we know and respect. We publish a ton of books. Mostly
hardcover books, mostly in the 39 to 49 dollar price point. Some
great health books. We have a book on diabetes, diabetes health
Andy: Are you selling these books via direct mail mostly?
Brian: Via direct mail mostly, right. Everything we sell we
do online as best we can, but selling a hardcover book is not the
easiest thing to do online. Digital product obviously rules the day
there. Honestly, we’ve had a tough time making the transition from
products that are physical product into the digital world and then
selling them the same way. Our products, because they’re
encyclopedic and the kind of stuff that we do, they lend themselves
much better to direct mail.
I’ve got to turn the tables in some of the things that I’ve been really
looking to do is to find people with great online, digital product who
want to do physical product then want to figure out how to do that. I
don’t want to be an agency but we could be the company that could
do the direct mail on some of those and I have a bunch of those
projects in the works right now with folks who will be the direct
mail arm for what they’re doing.
I remember I went to Underground two or three years ago and I
remember the speaker on Saturday was going to talk about the deep
dark secret of internet marketing and it was physical product. I was
sitting next to a guy who has been in direct mail for as long as I
have and we looked at each other and said, “Ah, physical product.
I’ve heard of that.” What they were really talking about was using
physical product on the backend, once you know what your lifetime
value is. It was really more a database marketing discussion, not a
product discussion which is really what I’m all about. We’ve built
the database of nine million names offline which is really a big key
to our business.
Andy: Nine million names.
Brian: Yeah.
Andy: Take me back to when you just got started in the
business. For some people what happens is … we had a lot of
people on the show and every time somebody at a point in their
career says “and that’s when I learned that I had to focus on
studying marketing. And that’s when I learned I had to learn how to
Brian: Right.
Andy: They have this “come to Jesus” moment.
When we’re talking at Underground I remember you telling me
about how you got started in the list business. Hearing your story I
was just like, oh my God! We’re just failing in so many areas when
it comes to that. Tell me about, yeah, where you started with buying
list and …
Brian: Yeah. I think it was a very … Starting from the list
side and from the audience side and from the database side. I used to
tell students when I taught, I did a lot of educational work. I tell
students, “Go to your interview and use the word database instead of
list and maybe you’ll get the job.” It’s the same thing. It’s basically
… I learned direct marketing from really learning audiences,
database, less segmentation and the actual job I had, my first job at
Boardroom was most companies in the publishing world give their
list to somebody. If they rent their list to competitors or co-existors
as I say, because there really was no competition. It’s like why
wouldn’t I rent my list to Businessweek? People are going to
subscribe to Boardroom Reports and Businessweek. It’s not an “or”
it’s an “and”.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: Competition became co-existents which people will
talk about that in the affiliate world but they don’t really believe it.
We can talk about that if you want. I’ve just got a lot of discussing
things in the affiliate world.
But, what I really think the unique angle that I came in at was that I
was a list manager and Boardroom, it just so happen, matters their
list in health. There was a job for me instead of somebody selling
our list in the marketplace for us. That was my first job.
I actually came in contact with every list broker of course who was
representing every other mailer renting list but also all the other mail
list. I met every other direct marketer who had an opportunity to use
the Boardroom list. Now, understand the Boardroom lists where
affluent Executives, mostly at home address, who had already
bought through direct mail, you’re talking … and …
Andy: Really valuable list.
Brian: Real valuable list. Everybody used our list. From the
magazines like Money and Fortune and Consumer Reports, to all the
fundraisers, charitable and political, to cataloguers. Everybody used
our list.
Andy: What do you rent your list for?
Brian: At that time, when I came in the business, I think our
list for Bottom Line/Personal, I think the active subscriber list was
75 bucks a thousand, and then you put all these … everything’s on
CPM in the direct mail world. And then we had selection. If you
wanted the hotline, less three month buyers, that was an extra ten
bucks a thousand. If you want a home address that was five bucks a
thousand. All those things. Yeah, we were getting close to a hundred
bucks a thousand for our list. Now it’s probably close to 125, 130
dollars a thousand for the people still doing direct mail.
It’s a big business for a company that doesn’t have advertiser. The
list rental became a real profit center which I ran completely. The
phenomenal thing was that I just learned about everybody else’s
business. The thing that I did that a lot of other list managers didn’t
do … so I always say why did I get smart? I got smart: a, because
the competition wasn’t very good. Other list managers weren’t very
good at what they were doing. But I understood that the list was
really as good as the promotion that got the name. That’s what I
always used to say.
The fact that we did promotion that was heavy copy intensive, stuff
that Gene Schwartz wrote and other great copywriters. The kind of
person that would read our direct mail and then subscribe or buy a
book was a much higher level person who would read other people’s
direct mail and other people’s offers in a whole different way. Plus,
they already prove that they bought stuff through the mail, it was an
incredibly valuable list on so many levels. I became a student of
everything in my mailbox. Everybody who used our list, I would
study their direct mail packages. I also found out who their
copywriters were. I went out and actually went out and met every
copywriter I could. I didn’t fancy myself as an aspiring copywriter
but I knew … if I could understand the relationship between copy
and list, everybody in the internet world offer is always the big
thing. How we going to create this offer. An offer is really
important, not [inaudible 00:15:42].
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I was really obsessed with this relationship between
copy and list and messages to list. In the direct mail world, splitting
your list and mailing different versions of creative to different
segments of the list was really expensive. As they said, I became a
good marketer because I learned how to propose it.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: The discipline that it took which you kind of eluded to
in your introduction that it took to kind of decide what things you
would test and spend money on in test panels and direct mail, really
… I think that’s what made me a really good marketer.
This whole education, the first ten years of my career I basically was
selling lists, the Boardroom list, we made more per name than
anybody in the industry. I was really good. I don’t like to brag too
often although John Wayne says “It’s not bragging if you did it.” I
had a reputation of being the best list manager. It’s not because I
was a super salesman, it’s because I made presentations to brokers
and mailers that said “This is our list,” this is how the list was not
compiled, how it was created.
Andy: You’re saying that with the list, knowing that you
have a demographic of 50 plus year old business owners or
executives who have bought something is one thing but knowing
how, what the copy was that persuaded them to buy is a completely
different element into who the list is.
Brian: It’s a very important additional element that most
people who look at list don’t think about. In other words, I’ll give
you an example, an online example.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: You can use the examples all over the place. Certain
video sales letters that have certain copy platforms and certain
paranoia or … this one that just popped into my head. There’s a guy
who does a video sales letter on … it’s a gun related thing. I’m not
getting political [hero 00:17:50]. I’m just saying what this. It’s a gun
related thing but it’s also about protecting your family and the
approach that’s taken in that video sales letter, the person that buys
that product paid this amount of money which is a real …
The basic parameters of anything in direct mail was always what we
call RFM, Recency Frequency Monetary Value. Recency is when do
they buy, Frequency is how often do they buy and Monetary is how
much they spend. Then the fourth element is what you just said what
was the message that got them and can we take a look at that
message and say that we promoted them with the similar kind of
copy platform or approach or paranoia or whatever, that would
increase your response rate. The answer is a 100% yes.
We actually went looking for lists in direct mail of people who
promoted similarly to us. We also did recency. You always want
people who responded more recently. You always wanted people
who responded more frequently. More times than not, if they spend
more money it would made a difference. But not always. Sometimes
monetary was not as important as some of these other things.
Andy: It sounds like the amount of energy that you would
go that you would spend getting the list was 80% of the work.
Brian: It was. In fact you can’t read it but right behind me
there’s a plaque on the wall here. It’s a plaque from an article from
October of 1994 that I was interviewed for in one of the trade
magazines. The cover, it’s the cover of the magazine. It says “Guilty
until proven innocent.” Basically it was the bunking the data card.
The data card was what we were given when we had to select a list
for direct mail. It was all the facts that were on the data card. This
concept of guilty until proven innocent, a list manager put whatever
they want. It wasn’t regulated. They could say all the names which
sold through direct mail. They could say all the names were people
who spent a thousand dollars each and they could lie.
If you didn’t do the research, and that was an extreme example, but
there were subtle examples that weren’t on the data cards about
what source they use. Did they use a sweepstakes or a contest in
their direct mail? Or did they use a 16-page letter? If they use a 16-
page letter for my offers, that’s going to be a much more qualified
person. If I was selling by sweepstakes or contest, that other source
of sweepstakes would be better.
If you didn’t ask these questions, you could get a crappy list. I think
you can see in today’s world than I am, it’s not that far from what
we did then and what happens now when you make a deal with an
affiliate and they tell you what’s on the list and you find that that’s
not what’s on the list. Same principle. You were paying postage. If
you get screwed on the list selection, you’re out a lot of money.
Andy: Yeah. And then you have no idea if the copy works,
you have no idea if the tests are valid.
Brian: Exactly.
Andy: All of that stuff doesn’t matter if the list isn’t right.
Brian: Yeah. I don’t know if 80%, whatever. To me, because
I came out of the list business, to me, the list was always so
There’s actually a rule of thumb in direct mail which was always
that if you had the best creative and the best to offer but you mailed
it to the wrong audience, you had no chance of success. But if you
have half decent creative or even mediocre creative and you had an
offer that was at least a fair offer with a decent price point and it
went to the perfect audience, you’d get something out of it.
Andy: You at least get in return.
Brian: I’ve seen that on both sides. You want to have all …
what you want to have everything working, right? If you have the
list be offered and create a wall cranking at the same time, then
we’re successful like you are.
Andy: Tell me, where are we as internet kids or whatever
that play online, where are we missing the boat and where are
elements that you see that we just don’t even consider when it
comes to marketing?
Brian: Great question. I don’t want to make it sound like
missing the boat because I always get up in front of people and I use
the … Perry Marshall has a great quote. Something to the fact of I
will get you out of anyone of your success as … I’ll save you from
your success. Perry, being as [inaudible 00:22:13] a little bit as an
IMer, but he’s not. Perry Marshall who’s to me one of the gods of
online marketing is not an online marketer. He won’t admit to being
one. Yes, he’s the Google AdWords guy and he’s all those other
stuff but what Perry is, he’s a behaviorologist or something. If you
really study Perry’s work you’ll know that.
I guess the point I’m making there is that I’m not ready to say that,
to get in front of a bunch of IMers like I did at Underground, I think
I started my speech and I said “Well, I know you’re all crushing it
and I know you’re all making a ton of money.” I’m just going to
give you some subtle things that might make you think differently
about your list and about what you’re doing out there. Now, some of
the stuff has been out there a little bit but I don’t think it’s being
talked about a lot. Let me give you a few things. It’s a great question
by the way.
One is just beating the crap out of your list; mercilessly because
email is cheap. A lot of people talking about it but I don’t think that
a lot of people are understanding that … we have an expression, in
direct mail, that anything we did in direct mail had to sell something
because you’re paying postage. Now, in email, that’s not the case.
Everything in email has to achieve something. If it doesn’t achieve
something like, for example, the really good launch people online,
they understand that romancing that list over a period of time and
not going in for the kill, for the sale early in the process has really
benefitted them both short term and long term. They actually do
better romancing them, giving them a lot of free content, doing a lot
of free stuff for them, making them feel like they’re part of a
community and then sell at a certain point that’s the right time. And
then the lifetime value of that customer, because of the way you
treated them here, translates to that. We saw Joey Coleman speak at
Underground and he’s [blogging 00:24:09].
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I did the two events where he won the speaking
contest and it’s not a coincidence. Joey is a wonderful speaker and I
just … I think he’s an amazing guy. What is his message? It’s called
the first 100 days. It’s basically … how do you treat your customer
in those first 100 days. That’s a direct marketing contact.
I told Joey this. I know you’re not old enough to be doing direct
mail with me in 1980 but his concept is exact and he talks about
multichannel, he talks about using all the channels whether it’s
email, direct mail, a video, TV, whatever. The broad comment
would be beating the crap out of your list, basically respecting your
list, doing more with that.
I also think that … one of the things I see a lot is kind of like the
flashing arrow on the squeeze page is considered state of the art
creative. I’m being a little fictitious. It’s to make a point.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: And of course someone finds out that if you put the
flashing arrow or the button says “download now” instead of “order
now and they get a 15% lift” that they just did really great creative.
And you know what? They did. Right? They lifted their response
rate. Isn’t that what it’s about?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: But I think it’s paying much more attention to the
actual copy on the page, paying a lot more attention to, again, how
you’re talking to your customers. The best online marketers that I
know are actually doing, they’re not doing HTML, a lot of them are
doing text only, they’re writing personal messages to personal
segments of their lists and that’s something that’s really, really
missing and I think you already mention that a lot of your audience
doesn’t even segment their list.
Andy: Explain to us, like, how you see top marketers online
segmenting their list and what that looks like.
Brian: Yeah. I think that the ones that they certainly,
certainly want to have the VIPs in such a special place. By VIPs,
you can define that in many ways. But the VIPs, I’ll give you a
quick definition. For me would be obviously the people who love
you the most, who you love the most, who are most in tune with
your message, who spent the most money with you. Sorry to say. If
they spent a lot more money with me, that’s an advertising budget.
As far as I see it.
I always use the analogy, no one in your audience is going to get
this but I’m going to explain it. It’s the medallion on the Mercedes. I
don’t know if they still do this but when you order Mercedes Benz
and you got the 250,000 miles or 300,000 miles, they give you a
medallion that you stick on the grill of the car.
Andy: Oh really?
Brian: I don’t think they still do it or maybe they do. I want
to slip the concept across whether the fact … I may have my facts
wrong, now. The concept is is that VIPs are VIPs in your audience
and you got to treat them extra special. You don’t want them ever
leaving you. That audience has to be talked to in a different way.
That audience may be talked to in a one-on-one environment on the
phone. That audience may be talked to indirect mail in a different
way than just email. They certainly should be talked to in email as if
that email that they get from you is text only and is really just for
them. A mass email to ten people could be a mass email to ten
people. That’s one big thing.
The ones that I see doing the best, they really treat those people with
a higher lifetime value and they’re calculating lifetime value.
They’re figuring out what a new costumer is worth. But on the
lifetime end they’ll do anything to make sure that person doesn’t
leave them. Now, if they have a product that somewhat
commoditized, the key is to making that product look special to you
even if it might not be.
Andy: Give me an example of that.
Brian: A commodity product would be going from AT&T to
Verizon. Right? It’s commoditized product. It really going to move
mostly for price or a deal. Whereas if you are part of an institute of
entrepreneurs for example for aspiring entrepreneurs and there were
mastermind groups or other groups that you could be members of,
you want to make sure that they’re not going to choose someone
else’s over yours and you have to keep talking about that in a bigger
way. You just got to play a bigger game with those people.
More segmentation. In direct mail your best list was always your
expire list. It’s always the people that we have former customers
who were no longer with you. Most people leave you, not because
you’re an ass … you’re a jerk. I caught myself there. I don’t know
what [inaudible 00:28:56]. This is going on iTunes. They’ll kill …
Andy: Chris knows all that stuff. I’m not really sure there
are rules but I’m thinking it’s okay.
Brian: They’ll put [inaudible 00:29:02] next to my song,
Andy: Oh yeah.
Brian: Yeah. I’m like a rap star, man.
The expire list and direct mail is always your best list. Most people
leave you for one of two reasons: time or money. It’s probably not
because your product stinks. Now, if they leave you because your
product stinks, you got to start working on your business.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Right? And there’s also another expression in direct
mail that editors sell for a publication, that editors sell renewals
marketers down. Meaning that if I can get you in to read my
magazine from an amazing direct mail piece, you’re not going to
renew a year from now if you spend a year not enjoying my
publication. My editors [inaudible 00:29:47] the same thing.
All of this wrapped up in this discussion called expires is your best
list. A previous customer who left you needs to be treated in a wewant-you-back
environment that’s so explicit, so generous and in
email you can do this. I was with some people who have a very high
ticket product. If they get that person back in it could be a $60,000
ticket. Right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: For them I’m thinking think outside the box and then
I said think about a box. [Inaudible 00:30:23]. Three dimensional
direct mail package.
Andy: Send them something.
Brian: Send these people a box of incredible content on
DVDs. You say “Well, I could just email the digital content.” Do
you know how special it is? I don’t care. You might not want to put
a stamp on something to pay a bill but I’ll bet you that if something
… you do have a postal address don’t you?
Andy: I do have postal address.
Brian: Yeah, there you go. You don’t use it very much and
it’s probably not on the business card. But if someone sent you
something to that address from a company that you would spent a
lot of money with that you like, that you left and it was incredible
content. In a big box, you opened it up, it was elegant. I’m making
this up. Not doing the creative here but ...
Andy: The content doesn’t even matter to be honest. It’s just
getting something; especially in our world. We got some thank you
notes from the Foundation stuff, like handwritten stuff and it just …
it cuts through all the clutter. It makes such a world of difference.
Brian: It makes a world of different. I’m not telling
everybody that they have to go into direct mail, I’m not telling
everybody you have to do physical product. That’s not my message
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I want to be clear about that. I’m not a [inaudible
00:31:28], I understand digital content, I want to understand you
better because I can learn so much from you. That’s really important
to me, just so you know. That’s why I’m doing this interview. I’m
not doing this interview because I think that I’m a smart … Believe
me if I’m the smartest guy in the room, I’m in the wrong room.
That’s how I live my life, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: But I do believe that if you start looking at those
people on your list, not as a group but as sub-segments and of
people that you really want to invest in in different ways based on
what they’ve done with you. You got to keep all these data. You got
to keep the data on everything they do with you and even click data.
Even stuff like … I’ll throw out a quick example. You have a list, a
big email list and now you have this list … you’re not even
segmenting people who bought your product and haven’t bought
from you in a year. What about those people who haven’t bought
from you in a year that you’ve sent a lot of content to and you know
all the articles or things that they clicked on in the last year. Now
you can go in with a message just to that group. That’s a subset of a
subset. I would go with a text email and say “I know you’re
interested in X. I probably didn’t deliver in my bigger product but I
want to deliver for you now.” You could do surveys. You’re big on
that. I know.
Andy: Okay. I think about that. This is the lazy side in me.
It’s like, wow! That seems like so much work to go in and do all of
that. Part of me, I just want you to give me some of that old wisdom
and be like … What would you say to that? For people that’s like …
you look at and just segmenting and going through and finding
everybody who clicked and open my emails. It’s like “Ah, that
seems [inaudible 00:33:17].”
Brian: I call the other way. I would say that … to me I look
at guys who do online launches. I say that looks really hard. The
guys who do it, it’s like … I can’t believe it. The dexterity with
which they create video and what they put online and … how
quickly they create content. I’m just blown away.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I’d be the one to tell them … that looks way too hard
for me.
Andy: Huh.
Brian: And then I’m thinking to myself, wait a minute.
When you want to make sure that every one of those messages that
you’ve painstakingly done even though it’s easy for you to do was
going to the right audience.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: To me a list segmentations seems so much easier to
me. You already have the names. You already know what they did.
Again, if you haven’t kept track and you built this list and you don’t
know everybody who’s on your list, the technology is out there in
terms of overlay and again, you can survey. If there are people that
already know you you can actually get a lot of data. It just doesn’t
feel like that’s hard. What you do to me is hard.
Andy: It’s really interesting. This is a huge opportunity for
people who want to learn marketing, to offer this is like a job. I’ve
never seen it like posted or I never seen anybody looking for
somebody. Yeah, totally, totally. To segment internally.
Brian: Yeah. In fact I was with the group, I probably
shouldn’t say who it was but it was a group, I was there sort of a
day. It was a day consulting thing. I was trying to give them advice.
They didn’t have a big list. There was only about 15,000 people.
They had people on that list that spent a $100,000 with them and
people who spent nothing and everything in between. They had all
these data and they were going to move this database into … you
know the program. There’s a lot of stuff.
Andy: Office autopilot or …
Brian: It wasn’t office autopilot. They were going from … I
think it was sales contacts or …
Andy: Salesforce?
Brian: I think it was Salesforce.
Andy: Salesforce, InfusionSoft.
Brian: Yeah. There’s just an incredible amount of software
out there.
Andy: Yeah, well and even …
Brian: And I was giving them a lot of advice of what
segments to go after but they were coming up with their own once
we started brainstorming.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I wasn’t the smartest guy in the room anymore. I gave
them the context. Think about it.
Andy: The cool part is all the data is available. It’s sitting
there in our office autopilot account waiting. If you’re listening to
this and list segmentation sounds like super awesome to you, email
me at and let me know. Because that
could be something we could totally use.
Brian: Yeah. No, and I’d be really interested. To me it’s very
exciting when I was with that client in particular. It was very …
because I’m doing this all day long.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I still love what I’m doing to Boardroom. I’m just
always looking for other things to do. Not that I have so much extra
time. I have to umpire a little league baseball so it’s like I have a lot
of stuff I got to do.
I’m just looking for opportunities in other people’s business models.
Obviously nobody is competitive with what I’m doing, not … even
if they thought it would matter. I love being sort of the conduit to
this information and helping the brainstorming process of
segmenting people’s list.
Andy: Yeah. Well, tell me this. Say you’re launching a new
product totally from scratch. To put things in the perspective so you
know a lot of our audience they’re either working a full time job
right now or they might be freelancing and they got a small thing
going but they want something that’s just bigger and a little more
sustainable and a little more consistent. If you’re starting totally
from scratch, imagining yourself in their shoes, where would you
even begin?
Brian: This also sound like I’m contradicting everything I’ve
said so far about direct mail and physical product. Someone came
up to me at a recent conference when I was talking about a lot of
these concepts and he said, “I think my product is great for direct
mail,” and I said “No.” You know, launching online, digitally is
obviously the way to go. It’s less expensive. You can test a lot of
things quicker.
Starting from scratch, I think you really want to spend a lot of time,
if you … obviously, you don’t have a list. I also think that there’s
the group of people that already have a list or at least a starting
point. If I was starting from scratch without marketing product for
example, I have a contact list of 3500, 4,000 people. That would be
my starting point. But a lot of people wouldn’t have that.
I know people talk about list building and that seems to be the issue
and I think therefore you really have to think about what’s your real
mission, what do you want to be doing. I always say that it’s not the
money, money won’t make you tick but the money buys you
freedom and freedom is what it’s all about. Freedom to do
everything you want to do. I would think that you and Dane would
say that making money gave you the freedom to be in a bigger
mission and a bigger game.
Andy: Very much so.
Brian: Sounds fair?
Andy: Oh, very much so.
Brian: Right. But you got to make the money. The key to
making the money is you really got to spend a lot of time on what is
your killer app personally. I’m going through the same process
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: What’s my killer app, what do I bring to the party,
what could that look like in a product and then spend a lot of time.
Don’t rush to market. You know?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: One of the smartest guys I’ve ever met in marketing is
a guy by the name of Jeff Walker. Four hundred million dollar man,
Product Launch Formula I think has been responsible for something
in that neighborhood of launches and online sales. Jeff said to me,
rushing into a business model is not a virtue. Really figuring out
what you bring to the party, what developing that product and then,
unfortunately or unfortunately if you don’t have a list, you got to do
list building and it’s usually going to be through affiliates and it’s
usually going to be with people that you want to get to mail for you
so you can launch, but that is the cheapest, the easiest way to do it. I
think that … but I think you got to start from here, from the part
because just … again, some people can just sell anything and
they’re okay with it.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: And I don’t think that’s your guys. I think your guys
want to … they want to be sleeping at night saying “You know
what? I didn’t make as much as I thought I could if I was launching
a product.” If I was launching a product … and not there’s anything
wrong with a better sex product for example. But if that’s my
mission, that’s my mission, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I did the sex product because I had to make money,
well, but I’d rather do a product on how to teach people how to use
herbs to help them when they’re sick.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I won’t be able to make as money as quickly doing
that probably because it’s not as sexy, literally. But, it’s what I
really believe in and I know that I can develop a product that’s
going to be so tough to rip off, never going to be commoditized.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: I probably came off a little too flowery in that
Andy: No. You’re totally right about our community is …
the common thing we get is they don’t want to do the internet
marketing thing. They want to do something that’s meaningful and
that’s providing value to the world and not just doing affiliate
marketing or whatever it is and chasing the next shiny objects.
Brian: Right.
Andy: I think the real takeaway is, you know, for me
listening to that is that it starts out, its relationships are so big when
getting started.
Brian: Nothing bigger.
I have a thing. I did a landmark form many years ago and I’m sure
people who are listening have done what they’ve done comparable
programs and … I went in the advance course at landmark, it was a
four-day event back then, I think it’s three now. But the advance
course was on Thursday you get there and you tell everybody who
you are. And then on Sunday night you declare your possibility in
front of the audience, you’re not supposed to prepare and the
audience lets you know what you are after four days of work. I went
through the process, it was amazing. On Thursday night I was “Hi,
I’m Brian.” Know everybody do the right thing. That was who I
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: And on Sunday night I was the possibility of
contribution. The difference between those two things maybe … I
just say the words, you went back but I don’t know if everybody
would. But it was so earth shattering for me. And then what I’ve
added to that that on the possibility of contribution and connection is
not about networking. As you said, who you know is important but
you know what? People confuse having a lot of names in their
LinkedIn account or in their Facebook as networking. That’s not
networking. You have to contribute to people in a meaningful way,
way before you can really connect with them. And way, way before
you can ask them for a favor or ask them to mail for you or affiliate
for you. I mean, that’s like ten steps down the road.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Someone said to me recently that … and I wasn’t
thinking about 20 years ago how I was going to be a better internet
marketer. I don’t know what the internet was, right? But back then I
was totally about contribution. So someone said to me the other day
and I started crying, I won’t cry now, but he said to me “I just can’t
wait to see what 30 years of giving to people, like with nothing
expected in return is going to yield over the next five years for you.”
I never thought of it like that. Because I never thought of it as an
opportunistic thing.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Quid pro quo. And if you can start there, holy molly.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: It’s hard, right? Because everything is sort of like I do
for you, you do for me. But there’s another concept in landmark, I
call it a Hundred Zero. They have another name for it I think. What
a Hundred Zero is is that you have to give … you have to always be
willing to give a 100% in relationship to see what’s possible. And
this whole idea, I have never used the term “meet me halfway.”
Now, the people at my accounting department hates that because it
means that I’m not a good negotiator, in a business deal. I give up
way too much early on. I have somebody else do the negotiating for
me. Because I just can’t … I’m not good at that, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Not my unique ability. My unique ability though is a
hundred zero and I learned the hundred zero, I think you’ll enjoy
this, is that I have a group of ten high school friends that I’m still
close with.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I’m looking at their picture up in my bulletin board
right now. And they’re all losers. Hopefully none of them will be
listening to this podcast. And I wouldn’t be friends with any of them
today if I met them today. And get them my friends for life. They’re
like brothers to me, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: None of them would pick up the phone and call me
and none of them are really good about keeping in touch with me. If
I didn’t have a hundred zero with them, they’d be out of my life.
Andy: A hundred zero means you’re giving a 100% and
expecting nothing in return?
Brian: Exactly. The joke is they’re waiting at the other end
of the phone waiting for it to ring. When I call them, I may make a
joke about it, once in a while, but I don’t make them feel guilty
about it. It’s because I want you in my life for the rest of my life.
Therefore I don’t expect anything from you. And you know what?
We may come through with something, unexpectedly.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I cry easily now that I’m old. It brings me to tears
because it’s like holy shit! My brother who’s totally lame just did
that for me.
Andy: How do you not get overwhelmed with the … who
do you commit to and who do you want in your life and …
Brian: Yeah, great question. Yeah, you hit it on the head and
that’s why I’m totally stressed out all the time. I give way too much.
Marty Edelston, the guy who started the company, my mentor, he
always used to say, “Brian, you keep giving up your right arm. You
just can’t keep doing that.” I’ve gotten better. I would say that
people I’ve written off in my life a 100% because all they are is
takers and they just didn’t get me at all, it’s still probably on one
hand. That amount of people maybe: five, four. But, the people that
I say don’t have time, you do have to learn to say no at some point.
The other thing too is that for 30 years because I had great equity
position, building this company, money wasn’t an issue for me, not
that I’m the wealthiest guy in the Earth but money wasn’t the issue
for me, that I’d basically been a free consultant for 30 years. I never
would charge. I’m worth a lot, on an hourly basis.
Andy: Oh yeah.
Brian: As much as the lawyers I pay, God!
Andy: (Laughs)
Brian: I’m worth a lot and so that’s been the tough part for
me. What am I really worth and how to do that. But I think, you
know, learning how to say no in the context of everything I just said
it sounds really good and you’re a very insightful guy and I knew
you’d probably nail me on that, you did. Thank you. But yeah, it’s
very stressful. It’s very stressful to feel like I got to return every
email, I got to return every phone call.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I don’t have somebody answering my phone for me.
If I give out my directly line it rings on my desk.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: I get phone messages from people 1-800, buy a list
for me and … I may not return that call myself, my assistant returns
those calls even though they’re cold calls.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: And I get them to send as such. I just love humanity.
One thing I have learned to do is really teach people lessons. And if
I get a cold call and I happen to pick up the phone and someone’s
going to sell me something about Boardroom and I say “Well, what
do you know about my business?” “Well, I think you’re a
publisher.” Well, and I say “I think you better go do some research.”
I’m not nasty but I basically say it’s really inappropriate for you to
get on the phone with me and not do any leg work or research
whatsoever. I’m going to try to talk to you in an intelligent level and
I’m not giving you a history of my business. You, Andy, I’ll give a
history anytime, anyplace, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I’m not giving it to some salesman.
I don’t know if this is way off the topic of where you want it to go
but it’s really part of how you build the business, how you build the
life, how you build content … let’s go back to the original question.
I think you said it. Those relationships, when you’re building your
business, if you’ve done it the right way, people come out for you.
Andy: Well it’s interesting because with you I see you as
having just a very, very rich life like in all areas with … like the
way you talk about your friends, the way we interacted at Yanik’s
event and stuff. I think that’s what people are really after, especially
the group that is a part of this podcast and stuff. They want a life of
satisfaction and the relationship piece is such a big part of it.
Brian: When you and Dane presented at Underground, my
heart was full man. It was like … you guys were, you were given a
lot of detail about how they can make money; that was in there;
which you were asked to do. You should not feel bad about that
[inaudible 00:49:33] I know you know. And don’t feel bad about
giving back because you never took anything, remember. But,
everything in your message was about giving back. Everything in
your message was about doing what’s in your heart. I was like … I
want to be connected to these guys. Seriously. That’s why we’re
doing this interview. Whether I’m relevant to your audience or not. I
hope I am but that’s what this is really about.
Andy: What’s been really interesting is that pre The
Foundation I was running like a lifestyle business and stuff and after
coming up, it wasn’t until January of this year that Dane and I really
crystallized the vision for The Foundation and what we want to,
where we want to go with it. But what I’ve noticed is that since
having that vision and chasing it from kind of a heart-centered
place, we tend to attract people who are attracted to big visions. It’s
become really easy and really fun and really enjoyable.
Brian: You know what’s funny, look at all the best
mastermind groups and I’m in a bunch of them.
Andy: You’re in all of them.
Brian: I’m in all of them. We’re spending a lot of money on
that one. I better do something, right?
Andy: Yeah, no kidding.
Brian: So Jeff Walker … everybody there is playing to a
bigger future. Anybody in Strategic Coach with Dan Sullivan.
They’re there because they want a bigger future. Anybody who’s in
Joe Polish’s 25K Group. They have a future. Consistent and they’re
all different, right? PLF is about a specific software or program that
teaches you how to launch online. Joe Polish is about entrepreneurs,
about business building. Dan Sullivan is about coaching. They all
have that in common. For you to be building a business like that … I
would guess that anybody who’s part of your inner circle wants to
play not only a bigger game but then they want to be in a heartbased
entrepreneurial environment, right? I don’t know if they’re
my avatar because I don’t … I think I said this to you in preparation
for this interview. I don’t think I’m really that … I’m not the best
person suited to tell somebody how to bootstrap a business from the
start. Remember, I came in to this business. I’m very intrapreneurial
as oppose to entrepreneurial.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I think I can really teach people how to take a
business to go from a million to ten, to 20, to 30.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: And this business has been as big as 150. Again, it’s
not bragging if you can do it, that’s John ...
Andy: (Laughing)
Brian: But I’m not bragging, I’m just saying that.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I’m not the guy to teach the guy to go from zero to a
million. I’m not.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: So I want your audience to know that.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: We’re just fine. I know what I am, I know what I’m
not, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I built a big business here with Marty. He did zero to
a million, before I got here.
Andy: It’s really interesting hearing you say that because it
sounds so true to me. It’s like, once you have an offer that’s
converting and you’ve got the basics of your business running and
hitting that seven figure mark or so that’s … I think that’s where you
really shine because the advice that you have like one little piece
can make such a massive difference.
Brian: It’s amazing. Two of my favorite quotes from two
people, one person in your audience will probably know, the other
they probably don’t. One is a guy named Chris Farrell, really great
online marketer. He’s from the UK. He has a quote that says “A
product is not a business.” To me that just resonates. When we talk
about lifetime value and database and the value in your list and how
you treat your customers and all that stuff. A product is not a
The other one is by one of the copywriting legends of all time; still
alive. He’s only old like me. His name is John Carlton. John Carlton
is a tremendous teacher of copy and creative. One of the smartest
guys. If you can read John Carlton, read John Carlton. He’s got a lot
of blogs and a lot of stuff. And John has one that’s “a promotion is
not a business.” He has rimmed out online marketer after online
marketer to think once they have a converting offer online that they
actually have business. It’s not a business. That’s not a business,
come on! I think your guys get that because they have you training
them. Seriously. Seriously.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I know you’re a teacher. You’re teaching goal.
Andy: Yeah. Totally.
Brian: You seem to be in business for the long haul.
Andy: Yeah. One of the things is like not only do you
become a person who starts a business … like, not only do you start
a business but you become the type of person who starts businesses
and I think that’s the biggest thing is making that identity shift for
people of not seeing themselves as employees anymore, but seeing
somebody that’s creating value and getting paid for it.
Brian: Exactly. Exactly.
Andy: If somebody is brand new to the direct response
marketing world, this might be the first time that they’ve been
exposed to some of these concepts. Where would you have them
begin learning?
Brian: I was thinking about this because there are just so
many amazing books which I know you and Dane have read them
which is rare for people under 30.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: But some of the ones that I think are my favorite, just
to get a flavor. Certainly Breakthrough Advertising which was
written by Gene Schwartz in 1966. He haven’t changed one word of
it and it’s a 100% relevant. Because it’s about human behavior and
human picture …
Andy: Oh it’s incredible. It hasn’t changed.
Brian: That hasn’t changed by the way.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Yeah. I think if you wrote it for Caveman which was
before 1966, it would still be relevant. I have to figure out, we’ll
figure out a way with your audience and … I published the book
now. The book went out of print, we saw it on eBay for $950. Real
Andy: Oh wow!
Brian: I republished it. Well, you and Dane know the whole
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I own the rights to it, Boardroom does. I do give it
away, I do figure out ways to use it and we got to figure out a way to
maybe put it in the hands of some of your most special people but I
don’t have an offer here, we’re not selling anything. But, that’s an
important book.
I think something like Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins, gives
you a really great sense of a lot of the stuff. I think … [inaudible
00:55:46] even David Ogilvy. Ogilvy was a general advertising guy
who really started getting direct marketing later on in his career and
realize that getting a response and being able to measure everything.
Anybody in your audience who watches Mad Men, just one of my
favorite shows …
Andy: Me too.
Brian: The transition from that kind of advertising to direct
response was happening even back then. And then you know the
book that I taught a full semester of direct marketing at my alma
mater records in 1989. I used as my textbook, the book by Bob
Stone, Successful Direct Marketing Methods, which I think is in the
seventh division. I think a book like that … it’s a little textbook-y
but … on page six I think it’s … no mail order business can succeed
without repeat business. Things like that … yes, your audience will
know that but to start looking at it in the context of all the things that
are being done online today, the context was set a long time ago.
Groupon didn’t invent that. Readers Digest had sweepstakes in the
1960s, right?
Andy: Yup.
Brian: That’s part of it. And then I think … I think creating a
swipe file is just so valuable, by a swipe file and that means online
and offline. I think that …
Andy: Explain. Some people may not know what a swipe
file is.
Brian: You basically … to me, in direct mail, I always knew
… I love stealing smart. I don’t like ripping people off, but I love
stealing smart. One of my great consultants, [inaudible 00:57:35]
who was a business builder at Meredith Publishing which is Better
Homes and Gardens [inaudible 00:57:39] on journal in the ‘50s and
‘60s, had an expression “follow the anecdotal evidence” and all that
means is still smart. See a model that’s working, figure out how that
might fit with what you’re doing and then work your content into
that model. We do it all the time. Everybody’s using a video sales
letter once they saw someone who is making at work. Anybody who
was putting video sales letters and saving them, that’s a swipe file.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: But a swipe file of direct mail in particular, even for
an internet marketers would be so valuable.
I was on a Google group of a bunch of IMers and a guy quoted a
headline that are used in the subject line and it was a version of a
classic rhyme written by Max [Saccone 00:58:27] in 1954.
Seriously. I sent them to a site, I can’t remember so I can’t quote it
here but maybe we can … I can give it to you later and you can
[view it 00:58:37].
Andy: Yeah. We’ll put in notes.
Brian: But it’s a site that’s basically a resource of great
headlines and copy that … that stuff doesn’t go out of style and you
can rework it to what your message is or rework the platform
because human nature hasn’t change. The kinds of things that make
people vibrate today were making people vibrate decades ago in
advertising. But, you might have to put that modern spin on it, but
that’s why we do what we do, right? That’s why we’re smart. But
you don’t have to invent everything.
Andy: For getting started with writing copy or just getting
started in the direct response world, that’s the best way to learn it. I
still do this today is like when I see promotions, I opt-in for
everything. My inbox gets flooded with a bunch of crap. But what’s
really interesting is like … so Ramit I think is probably one of the
best online marketers right now.
Brian: Ramit Sethi.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Yeah. He’s a good friend and a wonderful, wonderful
marketer. He’s great.
Andy: Yeah. And what’s interesting is that when you go to
his … you can’t buy anything from his site but you can opt-in for all
of these different things. And everything that you opt-in for, he
segments better than anyone, and you’ll only get messages based off
of that one specific thing. You can actually opt-in and then kind of
reverse engineer the funnel that his (crosstalk) so you can see …
Brian: Great example. Wish I had thought of that one when
you asked me for an example of segmentation. You should follow
everything he does.
I even love the fact that he’s going to fire people from his list. You
didn’t do it, I love his stuff.
Andy: I do too.
Brian: You really do have credit card debt. You’re off my
list. It’s like that kind of …
Andy: Sorry.
Brian: I love his stuff. I love his stuff. But it’s not about the
money for him. He’s very, very successful, very wealthy but it’s not
about that for him.
Andy: Mm-hmm. Totally.
Brian: You want to be coordinated with me and my mission,
you follow my rules.
Andy: Totally. Totally.
Brian: If you follow my rules, I can be warm and fuzzy.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I make jokes all the time, it’s like … for me
everybody thinks here like a dick. You know? If you read the article
about him in Forbes you would think like … I never want to meet
that guy.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: He is like the most wonderful person.
Andy: When we’re at Underground I asked him like why he
was doing, I will teach you to read [inaudible 01:01:01] and stuff
because I’m always curious why people do that but his answer was
just spot … he’s like, “We want to create the best courses for our
students possible.”
Brian: Right.
Andy: I was like, “Wow! That’s awesome.”
Brian: Yeah. That was a great point you made also about
getting on all those list. Definitely have 15 or 20 Gmail accounts.
Move things around and keep a little … If you do it right, keep an
inventory. I used to do this in direct mail. I used to decoy every
name. Seeing direct mail, I would decoy the name that I signed up
under. I knew that any piece of mail that I got under Pablo Kurtz
was from my Playboy subscription.
Andy: That’s awesome.
Brian: Right. So then I saw everybody whose renting the …
I did it also for sales. Anybody who is renting the Playboy list then I
could get to rent the Boardroom list.
Andy: Ah, got it.
Brian: (Crosstalk) getting Playboy would also like my
newsletter, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: That was a prospecting tool, but then what it enabled
me to do is create my own swipe file.
There’s a guy and … I would be curious if your audience would be
interested in a product like this because I’ve been thinking about
this. There was a guy, an old time direct marketer, his name is
Denny Hatch, H-A-T-C-H. Danny, he’s older now, I’m sure he’s in
the 70s. He had a newsletter years ago called Who’s Mailing What.
He basically, it was basically a directory of [jaunt 01:02:26] mail.
And he catalogued it by category and key code. From his resource
you could … I want to see the package for Prevention Magazine that
have the onion on the front envelope, and you could go buy it from
Andy: Wow!
Brian: He finally digitized … it was all actually physical
mailing pieces that they used to have to make photocopies of.
I was going to approach Denny, I don’t know where the whole
archive is now. It’s there, he’s got it. He’s got access to it. And it
seems to me that there’s a product there for all time marketers I
think. I’d be curious because your audience would be one that could
kind of give me feedback on that.
Andy: I’m not sure if they would want the … I don’t know.
In the show [inaudible 01:03:15] comments, just, find this interview and let us know. I
wouldn’t be as interested in the direct mail stuff because we’re
doing less of that but forever I’ve wanted a swipe file of product
launch sequences. Just the entire launch from start to beginning like
what were the intro videos, what was the email that sold the videos,
what were the open rates and click rates of all of them. Something
like that.
Brian: That’s why being in a mastermind with people who
are at the top of the game is …
Andy: The product launch game.
Brian: Yeah. I will say this. I wouldn’t … maybe I’m wrong,
I differ you on this but … I’m not so sure that looking at great direct
mail pieces in the categories that you’re selling in would not be
Andy: You’re right.
Brian: If I was launching a project to help … I don’t know if
I can make, I’ll make one up. I’m selling a product to help people
with allergies and I could look at the allergy newsletter packages
that Rodale did in the ‘80s for their allergy newsletter. I’m making
this up just to try to [inaudible 01:04:28] ticket.
Andy: Just looking at …
Brian: And then looking at the headlines …
Andy: headlines and stories. Totally.
Brian: … looking at the [inaudible 01:04:32] approaches.
I’m not so sure that that wouldn't be useful but I started this
conversation saying … I think the average IMers going to say,
“Yeah, I don’t want to look at direct mail.”
Andy: (Laughs)
Brian: You kind of confirm what I thought but … and then I
have to spend too much time selling it. I don’t want to do that.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: I (crosstalk) it would be valuable but if it’s not
valuable it’s not valuable so …
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Who am I to say?
Andy: Dude, this has been incredible. Where can people go
if they want to learn about you or want to get in touch?
Brian: Yeah, that’s a good one. How do I want to be in touch
with me without me giving away my right arm, right?
Andy: Yeah, totally.
Brian: But I do like to respond to everything.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I think if they want to learn more about me, I think,
right now since I don’t have my own website or anything like that.
Hasn’t been my game. I did this for myself recently, I said what
would I do if I wanted to find out about myself. I just did a Google
search and I didn’t do just Brian Kurtz because there’s some
trucking company in Nebraska, Brian Kurtz Trucking, but if you do
Brian Kurtz and Boardroom …
Andy: Yup.
Brian: There’s a ton of stuff. Interviews, I’ve done a ton of
stuff with genius network interview Joe Polish, I’ve done interviews
of all kinds of people like you and so there’s a ton of stuff there.
Plus, just a lot of stuff about products that I’ve done. That’s an easy
thing to do.
Andy: Okay.
Brian: As far as getting in touch with me, I’m going to give
you one of my Gmail addresses.
Andy: All right.
Brian: I think that … and it’s one that I don’t check every
day but it’s one that I will check especially once this goes live to see
the … Because I want to hear from people. Anybody who’s
connected to you, who could be connected to me someday, I really
want to hear from. Right?
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I’d love to hear from you on a couple of things. One
is, based on what I talked about today, and you can tell that you will
not hurt my feelings. “Brian, you’re a grandpa, you’re a dinosaur.” I
don’t want to hear squad from you. All the way to … I think you
have this to offer and I think you should create a product that does
X. I’d be really open and specific questions about your business.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I won’t get to it right away but I’ll get to it.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: I’ll give you as much feedback as I can. It could turn
into something where we could work together, that goes without
saying but I will respond.
I’m going to use a Gmail address that I think they can remember
pretty easily because one of the things I’ve been … one of the URLs
I own is called Dinosaurs and Cowboys. I called the internet guys,
the cowboys, and as a dinosaur I want to be T-Rex, right? I’m
Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’m not going extinct I hope. I’m going to be a
man-eating dinosaur who doesn’t go extinct. The email would be
trexcowboy and the number one. I think somebody had trexcowboy.
Andy: Cowboy1.
Andy: And we’ll put all this in the show notes so you don’t
have to remember all this and people can just go to, look up Brian Kurtz’s interview and see
all of his contact info there.
Brian: Yeah. And maybe what I’ll do is maybe I could get
some digital versions of some of those interviews that they would
find on the Google search.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: Most of the folks I’ve worked with would give me
copies for you.
I just did one, I think, it was one that they wouldn’t be able to get to
because I think the guys who were in that mastermind pay a lot of
money but I did one with Perry Marshall. We’re in his … what does
he call? I think he calls this renaissance group.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: He did an interview with me that I got incredible
feedback on which was really gratifying. And what Perry had me do
is to say … he had me do three major case histories of launches. By
the way, I’ve done launches for 30 years and none of them had been
on with PLF. Just for the record. Even though I’m a big fan of
Walker and PLF. So I’ve done a lot of launches.
I did three things that … and the overview was three things I did in
marketing network just totally surprise me when I got in and what
the result was.
Andy: I want to know what that is.
Brian: Book launches wouldn’t have to do with getting direct
response television. We got into the infomercial business from
square one and went from zero to 250 million on TV, selling books.
Andy: Oh shit!
Brian: [Inaudible 01:08:54].
Andy: Wow!
Brian: Yeah. And we had a big, big success on TV. Again,
not bragging if I did it.
Andy: Yeah.
Brian: I did it.
I had three really, and one was about lists actually. It was about
selecting list. I did three of those in this interview. I doubt I could
get that one out of Perry but it was pretty good.
Andy: Cool.
Brian: But maybe.
Andy: Well, yeah, check it and if we can we’ll put it in the
notes below. I’ll link to it anyway.
Brian: Yeah.
Andy: Yeah, we’ll put everything else there. And Brian is
very serious when he says reach out. I used to give a bunch of talks
to college students and I give our contact information and be like,
“All right, are you going to follow up?” and nobody ever … like
maybe 5% of people. But the fact you’re giving this email out is a
really, really cool opportunity so take them up on it.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I mean it’s good for both of us too
because I’m figuring out who my avatar is. I have a feeling I have
some of them in your audience.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: But I don’t know what they look like yet, I don’t
know what they need.
Andy: Yup.
Brian: That would be really helpful to me. In the process
there could be some free advices there …
Andy: Cool.
Brian: Yeah.
Andy: Brian, thank you so much man. Thank you for
coming on today. This has been incredible.
Brian: I really enjoyed it. I hope it was useful for you guys.
We’re friends for life whether you like it or not.
Andy: (Laughs) Thanks man.
Brian: See you.