Well, dang it. Our Strategy Thursday just got hijacked by a bunch of so-called “creative” copywriters over on LinkedIn. (Don’t worry, there’s still a huge business/marketing strategy lesson in here.)

You see, I posted the article from Tuesday about “swiping” (actually, NOT swiping) to a few copywriting groups over there. And it turns out there are a bunch of folks in one particular group who are pure-bred, agency, “creative” copywriters through and through.

In short…

They balked! They hemmed! They hawed! They trolled! They fought!

And I couldn’t help myself…

The ad agency and the direct response crew both showed up at the bar at the same time...  Mayhem ensued!

The ad agency and the direct response crew both showed up at the bar at the same time… Mayhem ensued!

I rolled up my sleeves, jumped in there, and fought back! (I really shouldn’t do that!)

It took me back to my ska-punk days, when I was a skinny redhead teenager in suspenders… In the mosh pits of the toughest little punk club in Nebraska (you laugh!)…

I’d head in there with guys (and gals!) twice my size — knees skanking, elbows throwing, dancing, shouting…

Then one hulk of a bruiser would decide that the mild disorder wasn’t enough for him… And he’d come in twice as rough and tough as everyone else… Elbows REALLY throwing… Fists swinging…

Out for the kill!

Even though I dug being in the middle of the action, I was the scrawny pacifist of the group.

And I’d always think, “What the heck? We’re just lookin’ to have a good time here!”

Then I’d catch that look back, eyes and grin telegraphing his thoughts… “This IS a good time!”

Somehow I’d played hockey for 8 years as a kid, and never actually ended up in a gloves-dropped fight — even though I was often the most hated guy on the ice. (I knew all the dirty tricks.)

Same thing in the mosh pits — I’d push and shove the bruiser around just to get him out of my face, then go back to having fun, never actually taking it where he really wanted to go.

And again, same thing with these “creative” copywriters over on LinkedIn.

After some bumps and bruises, I made it clear…

This fighting is stupid!

The conversation very quickly turned into a direct response vs. “creative” advertising scuffle. In part, my fault for taking it there. And in part, because I wanted to really know where the heck these guys and gals were coming from, and why they thought I was a bloomin’ idiot for talking about a real problem in the direct response world.

This essay isn’t really meant to be about swiping. That was our topic Tuesday. But it is about the disagreement — and the lesson in it.

So here’s the two sides that emerged…

“CREATIVE” FOLKS: You must be a freakin’ idiot — or study freakin’ idiots — to have ever been taught that swiping is okay. Nobody in the real advertising world teaches stealing other peoples’ ideas. Advertising is about creativity and originality.

ME: The real advertising world? Wait a second. I think we’re on a different page here. Because in my advertising world — that’s not fake — we study what’s worked before, and we seek to apply proven strategies and principles for selling through advertising. In this situation, creativity and originality can be dangerous. You’re better off adapting what works — just not stealing, as some so-called gurus in the direct response space teach. Not, at least, if you want to work with and for the big, sophisticated direct response marketers.

This fight was starting to feel too familiar…

It’s reaching a point where when I hear someone tell me they’re in advertising… Unless they specifically say “direct response” or “direct marketing”… I almost don’t want to say what I do.

Because this is a fight nobody wins…

And everybody walks away at the end feeling worse off.

And frankly, it doesn’t matter one iota…

Yeah, I think “image,” “creative,” and “entertainment” advertising is criminal. And they think the whole dang direct response world is seedy and full of sociopaths.

(Neither of us are 100% right in our prejudices against the other.)

But what I’ve learned is no matter how much we fight, beg, plead, or reason with each other, we’re not changing minds…

Their identity is rooted in creative.

Mine in selling and direct response.

And neither of us are budging!

Particularly for a random stranger in a LinkedIn group. Both of us can go our separate ways without changing our minds, and be none the worse for it.

And so the best thing to do…

The one that ends the fight…

AND that leads to the best feelings, in the end, for everyone involved…

Is to simply say…

“You’re either with me, or against me!”

Dubya may have used it to start fights, but I use it to end them.

Meaning, if you’re not in my “tribe,” what I do is not for you. And that’s okay. I speak to my tribe, you speak to yours. And we’ll leave it at that.

Breakthrough Marketing Secrets is NOT for creative or agency advertisers.

It’s for direct response junkies like me…

Folks who believe that advertising and marketing’s true role is “selling multiplied” — meaning every dollar spent on advertising should directly bring back a dollar or more in return, with a customer in tow.

If that’s not one of your core values about marketing and advertising, I am not offended if you don’t agree with me or if you don’t like my articles. Frankly, I’d rather not have you populating my email list!

This is your huge strategy lesson…

No matter what your business, you need to know who you’re for. But that answer can’t be “everybody.”

Because more important is knowing who you’re NOT for. The folks your product, service, or message is not right for.

They’ll do nothing but cause you grief and trouble — far more than they’re worth. And they’ll taint the water for all your best customers, who are happy to hear your message.

You’ve probably heard this before.

But it’s a very good lesson to hear again and again. Because the more you put yourself out there in business and in life, the more you’ll deal with a bunch of folks who aren’t a fit for you. Not just in business, either.

And the better you get at stepping back and deciding you don’t care because they’re not in your tribe, the better you’ll do and the happier you’ll be.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets