Old marketing advice that rings true today: Tell me quick and tell me true . . .

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win friends
An advertisement written by Victor Schwab for Dale Carnegie's 1930s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People
win friends
An advertisement written by Victor Schwab for Dale Carnegie’s 1930s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People

Jim Walton, a marketing consultant who focuses on serving economic development agencies (BrandAcceleration, Inc.) recalls one of his earliest marketing lessons, a poem from Victor Schwab.

Schwab “was the one of most famous direct marketing copywriters of all time. His work for Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” made it a best-selling book in the 1930s,” writes Michael Senoff in hardtofindseminars.com.

So this is an oldie — but the message remains relevant in 2016.

Tell me quick and tell me true (or else, my love, to hell with you!)

I see that you spent a big wad of dough

To tell me things you think I should know.

How your plant is so big, so fine, and so strong

And your founder had whiskers so handsomely long.

So he started the business in old ’92!

How tremendously interesting that is… to you.

He built up the thing with the blood of his life

I’ll run home like mad, and tell that to my wife!

Your machineries modern and oh so complete

Your reps are so flawless, your workers so neat.

Your motto is quality… with a capital “Q”

No wonder I’m tired of “Your’s” and of “You’s”!

So tell me quick and tell me true, or else, my love, to hell with you!

Less – How this product came to be,

More – What the damn thing does for me!

Will it save me money or time or work?

Or hike my pay with a welcome jerk?

What drudgery, worry, or loss will it cut?

Can it yank me out of a personal rut?

Perhaps it can make my appearance so swell

That my telephone calls will wear out the bell.

Thus it might win me a lot of fine friends

And one never knows where such a thing ends!

I wonder how much it could do for my health.

Could it show me a way to acquire some wealth?

Better things for myself, for the kids and a wife,

Or how to quit work somewhat early in life.

So tell me quick and tell me true, or else, my love, to hell with you!

Less – How this product came to be.

More – What the damn thing does for me!

Victor Schwab

Unfortunately, much of what passes for marketing material from the AEC community violates the basic principles here. There’s puffery, bragging and boring, self-congratulatory observations. Potential clients could care less about these qualities — they want to know how you can make things go well for them.

In practice, this is why word-of-mouth communication continues to be far more effective and less costly than other marketing methods.  If someone credible answers your question about how he/she solved the problem with the supplying company, and you respect the person giving you the information, you’ve just removed virtually all resistance from the equation (unless five friends give five different “best” recommendations!)

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