Skip to main content

Love Letter Marketing

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2005, mostly because we don't think anyone is reading these things anyway.

One day this past spring, I was lying in my hammock, drinking a beer, and relaxing. I was just starting to nod off, when I heard a quiet "ahem."

I opened my eyes and spotted my young neighbor, Jeremy, who had nearly finished the 6th grade, and was considering the leap to 7th grade in the fall.

"Hey, Mr. Deckers," he said. "Taking a nap, huh?"

"No flies on you, lad, although I wish you had a better sense of timing," I said. "What services may I bestow upon you, young Jeremy?"

"Huh?"

"What do you want?"

"I need some advice. Mrs. Deckers said you were pathetic with girls when you were my age."

"Oh she did, did she? Mrs. Deckers didn't even know me back then. How would she know about my past performance?"

"She said you were pretty hopeless until you met her. I figured that if you were that dorky, but you still got married, you must have done something right."

I couldn't fault the young man's logic, but I was going to have a word with Mrs. Deckers later.

"So what do you need?"

"I need some help with a love letter. I'm trying to get Caitlin Herrera to like me." He held out a neatly folded piece of paper. I looked it over and immediately identified his problem. It looked like something I would have written at his age: 'Dear Caitlin, I like you. Do you like me? Sincerely, Jeremy.'

I turned it over. "Where's the rest of it?"

"That's it. It's short and to the point."

"It needs serious help."

"What's wrong with it?"

"Well, it lacks finesse. And style. And grace. And a clear call to action."

"A what?"

"A call to action. It's what we marketers use to get a prospective client interested in buying our product."

"I don't want to sell her anything," said Jeremy, "I just want to get her to like me."

"Then you came to the right place. I've been a professional marketer for years."

"I don't think this is the kind of help Mrs. Deckers had in mind."

"Mrs. Deckers—!" I said, then I looked around quickly, and lowered my voice "—isn't here right now. You want my help in getting this girl to like you? This is going to help you."

I grabbed a pen from my pocket and started scribbling notes on his paper.

"First you need a USP."

"What's that?"

"Universal Selling Proposition. It's what sets you apart from your competitors."

"My what?"

"The other boys. Now, your USP tells Caitlin why she should pick you over them." I scribbled a few more notes.

"What about an Attention Getter and Benefit Statement?"

Jeremy said he had no clue what that was.

"What's one positive thing Caitlin would get by choosing you?"

"I have my own ten speed bike."

"Good, but that's a feature. A benefit is what she gets. How does your bike help her?"

"I could give her a ride somewhere."

"Excellent." I scribbled more notes. "Now we need a call to action. Research shows that giving a respondent a call to action increases your chance of a positive response."

Jeremy could only nod silently. I scribbled some more. "What do you think of this?"

'Dearest Caitlin, You have captivated my soul with your sparkling eyes and ruby smile. Be my love and we can fly anywhere your heart desires. If it is in your heart to say yes, please ask Gretchen to tell Kevin. I yearn for you, Jeremy."

He eyed me suspiciously. "Are you sure about this?"

"Absolutely."

"Is this how you got Mrs. Deckers?"

"No, that's a whole other story. Now rewrite this in your own handwriting and give it to Caitlin."

Jeremy still looked unsure, so I started to lecture him about word-of-mouth marketing when he said he heard his mother calling and ran off.

A few days later, Jeremy interrupted another nap.

"What happened?" I asked. "Did it work?"

"Well, yes and no. Caitlin is already going with Tyler Marlowe and he nearly beat me up."

I offered my condolences, but he held up his hand.

"But," he continued, "she showed it to her friends, and now three girls like me."

"Wow, referral marketing. I'll bet you're pretty excited about that."

Jeremy put on a pair of sunglasses. "You bet. Now I need to do drop in some variable data so I can A/B test a few iterations. I can up my response rate 20 percent if I gear the copy toward specific buyer personas."

I've created a monster.

Photo credit: The Love Letter, Johannes Vermeer (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain in both the country of origin (The Netherlands) and the United States)


You can find my books Branding Yourself (affiliate link), No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide

TFBIHCAEEPTSD.

Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…