There is an axiom in martial arts which states that “your first lesson is also your last”. It refers to the fact that what you learn at the very beginning of what, for most people, is an incredibly long and arduous journey, only sinks in much later, when you are better equipped by experience and ability, to really understand it.
It appears that social media marketing, the latest, hot thing to happen to us is a lot older than we might suspect. My guess is that if we go back in time enough and deconstruct local histories we will find some local tavern keeper in a lonely Roman outpost paying graffiti artists good money to spread good news about his place, with their art, on Roman city walls. We don’t, however, have to go that far back, nor do we need to be creative in our analysis in order to find correlations between the marketing of the past and social media marketing principles of today.
Claude Hopkins became a legend in advertising and marketing circles for his insistence that “…copywriters researched their client products and produce reason-why copy.”
He was apparently a great believer in letting a product speak for itself, thinking, rightly, that a good product was often its own best salesperson and as such he was a great believer in sampling.
To track the results of his advertising he used key coded coupons and then tested headlines, offers and propositions against one another. He used the analysis of these measurements to continually improve his ad results, driving responses and the cost effectiveness of his clients advertising spend.
By approaching marketing and advertising in this fashion Hopkins was breaking new ground by codifying what made total sense to him. Today we would talk about customer interaction, product knowledge and customer engagement. Elements, in short, which we employ in most of our cutting-edge’, social media marketing campaigns, believing that we are amongst the first to invent this wheel.
The question here of course is that if Claude Hopkins knew all this, and wrote a book about it, called Scientific Advertising back in 1923 why are we handling social media like it’s news?
Human memory is, unfortunately, short. We are, usually, way too close to the wood to see the trees and when we do not realise that history is repeating itself until, well, it does. Scientific Advertising is free to read online here or download it here by right-clicking on the link: Scientific Advertising and choosing ‘Save As’.