In a recent interview by Joe Polish, Fritz Thompson of Professional Carpet Systems gave an interesting analogy. "If you had a lottery ticket and you were sitting there watching it and they were reading out the numbers, and you were ticking off the numbers, one by one, and you got to the last one, and it was right, too. You wouldn't take that ticket and erase one of those numbers and say, 'You know, I don't like that number. I'm going to put this number in.'"
"But you know, people do that very thing. They take a lottery ticket, a ticket that's going to bring them unbelievable return on their investment, and they say, 'You know, I don't like those numbers,' and they start fiddling with them."
For example, in advertising for a small business, you can start with a headline with a winning history. People respond to adaptations of them again and again. An excellent example is John Caples' classic, "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano, But When I Began To Play!" This headline can be used as a starting point to build a "control" advertisement for many different businesses that become a baseline for future comparative tests.
Instead of starting from a winner like this, many business people "get creative" and make up their own headline. Then they wonder why they get poor results. The reason is they aren't following a system or trail that has been laid out for them by trailblazers of the past.
Many of those trailblazers have left us records of "winning lottery tickets" from their experiences. Today, many people are also assembling "success kits" of materials already proven to work for particular industries. A wise businessperson, especially when starting in an industry that is new to him or her, will shortcut the learning process by seeking this information and using the materials as the basis for initial promotions, and then test new ideas against them. Books reviewed on our website are a good place to start.
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