I’m disturbed after reading Gerardo Joffe’s book How You Too Can Make At Least One Million Dollars in the Mail-Order Business. I imagine you’ve either read this book or you’re thinking about reading it. That’s why you found this blog. You’re probably also wondering if the ideas in this book are out of date. After having read it, I’d like to answer all those questions with a few simple observations…
How Did Gerardo Joffe Do It?
Gerardo Joffe didn’t just go from zero to millions in the direct mail business. He went from zero to millions multiple times. I’m guessing that means he wasn’t just lucky. He must know something that we don’t know. How much would you pay to find out what he knows? It might not have to be that much, here are the basics I got just from buying his book on direct mail marketing:
Write good copy for well-positioned products.
Sell a small product in order to get a customer on your list.
Brand the product and create a catalog with more products under that brand name.
Keep marketing those branded products to your list of past customers.
Manage your fulfillment and customer service well, don’t get sloppy.
I know this sounds like an oversimplification, but I’ve yet to find a million dollar business that was built on anything but simplicity. Most of us overcomplicate things, we assume that we need some earth shattering idea to create a million dollar business. But did you know that one of Joffe’s best-selling products was the Ant Farm? He didn’t even create that product. It was a teaching tool used in classrooms. He simply turned it into a toy for children.
Bottom line, he repositioned it as something completely new. You could do this with any of the generic products on the market by creating an entire brand around it and building a list of customers who will be loyal to that brand. The fashion companies like Armani and Neiman Marcus have done this. Other examples are Gap and Ralph Lauren, Lillian Vernon. McDonald’s has a fairly simple hamburger recipe, yet they positioned it using cartoon characters to create an unstoppable brand.
As far as I can see, this is the primary reason Joffe made so much money. He didn’t just sell products, he repackaged ideas, be built brands around them and he built a list of loyal customers. Is this possible in the modern marketplace? I believe that it’s not only possible, but it’s smarter than what most people are doing…here’s why…
Three Things You Must Do to Succeed With Direct Mail
To succeed in direct mail, you need a well-positioned product, a good follow up strategy and a list of loyal buyers. Isn’t that the exact same thing you need in internet marketing? What good is it to have your ads all over the internet if you can’t position your product as being in a category of its own and if you don’t have a strategy for creating a loyal base of customers? My guess is that if Gerardo Joffe were forced to go from zero to millions using only online marketing, the only thing he’d have to learn is a new set of technical skills.
The principles of good marketing are the same today as they were decades ago. They always will be the same. Direct mail marketing, online marketing, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you know how to position your products, build a loyal list and manage your reputation with that list, you won’t have to worry about what’s happening with Facebook or Google or mobile device marketing. You can simply build a list and follow up with your subscribers using whatever media they respond to the best.
That’s the difference between marketing and building a brand, and direct mail marketing can help you do this today just as well as it helped you do it ten years ago. And if Gerardo Joffe made millions from scratch, more than once, there’s no reason you can’t use direct mail to create outstanding success of your own.