Is there anything to be learned from a previous generation’s advice on advertising and marketing?

With so many sales and marketing books now being published, it is inevitable that older publications will slowly sink into obscurity. This will be a pity with anything written by David Ogilvy, who I recommend for an understanding of advertising basics.

Ogilvy wrote on a range of advertising topics, but these points are taken from his views on business-to-business sales – purchases made by companies not retail consumers.

An advert does not sell a product; it pre-sells it by attracting leads for you to follow up.

Adverts should promise a benefit, provide news, testimonials or information.

Promise what is important to your customer. Your promise should be specific, not general.

Ogilvy stresses the importance of headlines in advertisements because they receive five times more readers than the main body copy of the advert. However, buyers looking for your type of product or service will read the body copy.

All goods and services can be differentiated, even where there is a lot of competition. Your advertising should still make your business stand out from the rest. You need to know your niche and check out how other businesses stay successful in crowded and competitive markets.

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