Scientific Advertising

What can a 90 year old book can tell us about online marketing today?

by Scott Hoffman on May 16, 2011

What can a 90 year old book can tell us about online marketing today? A heck of a lot.

First published in 1923, Scientific Advertising is as relevant today as it was 90 years ago. Anyone interested in improving their knowledge of advertising or their response rates must read it. Indeed, David Ogilvy said of it, “Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”

Here is one excerpt that I found especially telling about “testing campaigns”

Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign. That is the way to answer them, not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort. The buyers of your product.

In the old days, advertisers ventured on their own opinions. The few guessed right, the many wrong. Those were the times of advertising disaster. Even those who succeeded came close to the verge before the time is turned. They did not know their cost per customer or their sale per customer. The cost of selling might take a long to come back. Often it never came back.

Now we let the thousands decide what the millions will do. We make a small venture, and watch cost and result. When we learn what a thousand customers cost, we know almost exactly what a million will cost. When we learn what they buy, we know what a million will buy.

Once again, the book, Scientific Advertising was written in 1923! and it still offers very sound and solid advice. The book was written by Claude Hopkins, who invented sampling, risk-free trials, money-back guarantees, market testing and other breakthrough advertising techniques.

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