A Snarky Redhead, the Greatest Copywriter Ever and Pitching to the Lizard Brain

Something a little different for you this month. Decided to shake things up a bit for the summer and have a little fun.

Each month I’m going to share with you some interesting, inspirational or intriguing words that can help you in business or in life (along with some brief thoughts from me about why these words matter).

Maybe they’re in the form of a quote. Maybe a book. Maybe a video. Or, as is the case this month, all 3!

Below you’ll get…

  • a quote from the man considered to be the best copywriter who’s ever lived…
  • a video from a snarky redhead that’s not for the easily offended, and…
  • the best business book I’ve read in the last few years that’ll have you aching to go out and pitch anything to anyone.


“One hour a day, read. Read everything in the world except your business. Read junk. Very much junk. Read so that anything that interests you will stick in your memory. Just read, just read, just read… There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.”Eugene Schwartz (generally considered to be one of the all-time greatest copywriters)

Want your marketing to connect with your audience? Then don’t use your words…use theirs.

Read the magazines, books, trade journals, etc. they read. Read the reviews they leave about similar products and services on the web. Read the messages on the message boards they participate in.

Do this and you’ll know your audience on a deeper level than your lazier competitors ever will.

And once you do, your marketing job becomes SO much easier. Because at that point, all that’s left for you to do is organize the words they use to describe their hopes, fears, desires, wants, needs, etc. into your headlines, emails, sales copy on your website, offers, etc.

The big hint here…the marketing game is won or lost in the RESEARCH stage.


Who are you trying to attract?

I’ll tell you who you’re NOT trying to attract…everyone.

Trying to attract everyone is futile. It’s impossible. There’s never been a product, service or person in the history of the world that everyone likes.

(Heck, we’ve even got very different opinions on something as mundane as WATER!)

Yet companies try to appeal to the masses all the time. And in trying to craft a message that speaks to everyone who could possibly ever do business with them, they end up with a dull, boring message that resonates with no one.

Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries has been making waves because of comments he made about only wanting to market to “cool” (ie. thin and popular) kids. Here’s some comments he made in an interview with Salon a few years back…

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

This comment, and some others he’s made, have gotten a lot of people hot under the collar.

But from a marketing perspective, I totally agree with him. If you try to go after everyone, you are “totally vanilla”.

The important thing here is that it doesn’t matter whether you or I think Abercrombe targeting the thin and popular crowd is wrong, discriminatory or makes the CEO an asshole. They have a right to market to who they want to market to and we have a right to do business with Abercrombie and Fitch or not.

One person who likely agrees with this sentiment is branding expert Erika Napoletano. She’s built her own brand, and has helped build the brands of her clients, on the concept of taking a stand…even if it’s unpopular with large segments of the population.

According to Napoletano, we should be viewing “polarization as an asset, instead of a vulnerability.”

You can hear her thought provoking case for this in her TEDxBoulder talk “Rethinking Unpopular” (If you’re easily offended by offensive language, you may want to rethink watching this video).



I’ve read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff 3 times now. And every time I read it I immediately wanna go out and start pitching stuff…a business deal, raising capital from investors, my wife on why my getting a Porsche is in the best interest of our family…it doesn’t matter!

The book focuses on our Croc Brains (called the Reptilian Brain or Lizard Brain in other circles). The Croc Brain is the most primitive part of our brain…the one that evolved the earliest in our evolution. And it’s important because it’s the one that actually CONTROLS most of our actions and decisions.

The premise of Klaff’s book is that the reason most sales pitches fail is because we’re not pitching to the Croc Brain. Basically our pitches get rejected, misdirected and mangled by the more “developed” parts of our brain and never reach the ultimate decision maker – the Croc Brain.

Using information from neuroeconomics (a big, boring sounding word that’s actually quite fascinating), Klaff lays out a step by step framework on how you can speak to your prospects’ Croc Brain and successfully pitch, well, anything.

The information in this book is extremely powerful. And, while the stories are mainly from Klaff’s experience in the investment banking world, don’t think for a minute that’s the only application of its material.

This stuff applies to presentations, sales letters, sales videos, one-on-one sales situations, persuading friends/family members/etc. I’ve even seen the Pitch Anything model applied to structuring webinars in brilliant fashion.

This is my favorite business book of all time. If you need to persuade people at all in your life, do yourself a favor and get this book!