There isn’t a marketing book review section that would be complete, without the mention of “Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.”
Scientific Advertising is one of the original classics of direct response marketing. And although it was written around 100 years ago (so some of the terms and examples may a bit outdated), the philosophies are as powerful today as they were back in the 1920s (when this book was first published).
Of course, we have the internet now, and this book was written with print media in mind.
But consumer psychology hasn’t changed. And just because we have new methods to get our message out, the principles in this book are just as valid today as they were back then.
Now, don’t expect to read a lot of ground breaking information in this book, because much of what you see in modern direct response advertising uses the very same principles.
In fact, if you study anything about the fundamentals of copywriting and modern advertising, chances are you can trace it’s origin back to this book.
Which makes Scientific Advertising a solid foundation, and a must read for anyone who wants to understand how to use direct response marketing.
Even the great David Ogilvy was quoted as saying…
“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.”
I’ve personally read Scientific Advertising 4 times, and listened to the audio version twice (sorry, Mr. Ogilvy, I’m a little short… but I’ll get there)
A couple of the main principles I got from reading Scientific Advertising, were…
1. Never send out an advertisement that can’t be tracked, and measured for results. Every advertising dollar you spend should be held accountable for the results (or lack of results) that it achieves.
Ads that bring home more money than they cost, are worth keeping and using again. Those that do not, must be discarded. And the only way to know for sure, is to track and measure them for results.
2. Every word in your advertisement should earn its keep. While it’s often true, the more you tell, the more you sell… filler words should never be allowed to take up valuable space where a more useful word (one that’s leading to the sale) could be used instead.
3. Always test on a small scale first. If you can prove it works on a small scale, the numbers will generally hold up on a larger scale. In other words, once you know it works with 1,000 – You can be fairly certain it will work with 1,000,000
But the bottom line is this… Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins is a must read if you’re in any business that uses advertising and marketing to bring in customers.