Direct Response Copywriter on the Young Geeks Who Run Marketing

Technology has created a massive change in the demographics of marketing departments – plus it’s changed the dynamics of start-up companies.

Before the Internet became a viable marketing platform, older and more experienced people ran marketing departments and provided marketing advice. Today, it’s often bearded and bespectacled “geeks” in their 20s and early 30s who run the show.

Bob Bly talks about this in a recent newsletter when discussing today’s battle between youth and experience.

“It does not mean that in a dispute on marketing between a graybeard like me and the young kids today who run marketing in most corporations, I am always right - or even mostly right."

I’m in my 40s (I know … I look younger) so I’m sort of between the weathered veterans and the youngsters.

If I were a young marketing decision maker, I would listen to Bob and other veteran direct response copywriters.

Here’s why.

The core principles of direct response marketing transcend technology. Technology simply provides new platforms for the direct response copywriter and direct marketers.

Why do companies, large and small, give the keys to the marketing car to the young “geeks" instead of the veterans with 35 years of direct marketing experience?

And by saying “geeks” I’m not being rude. They call themselves geeks, too, and in my experience, try to out-geek each other with the latest hoodies, sneakers, and video games … the core elements of the geek culture.

But I digress.

Executives give these youngsters a lot of width because they’ve been seduced by two marketing fallacies …

  1. Social media is the next “big thing” and it will transform marketing and render traditional direct response marketing obsolete.
  2. Technology is the answer to every marketing problem.

Because the geeks grew up with social media and because they know how to use the technology, many companies give the geeks a lot of leverage, width, and money.

The current obsession with social media as a marketing tool will come to an end in the next 12 to 24 months. Why? Because it’s so difficult to measure ROI from Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, and the rest of that guff. Accountants run big companies these days and they demand marketing ROI.

Maybe you’ve heard of Klout – which might be the poster child for the lunatic excesses of social media.

Sign up for Klout and Klout gives you a ranking based on your social media influence.

The more influential you become, the higher your Klout score.

If you "earn" a high score, Klout’s partner companies (clients) send you stuff to try and test. Could be an Audi to try. Could be a $5 coupon for chicken nuggets.

Either way, Klout hopes you will send your thoughts about the Audi or chicken nuggets to your social media followers.

At that point, your social media followers drop everything to buy an Audi or they gorge themselves silly on chicken nuggets.


Yes – it’s bonkers crazy and perhaps the most lunatic marketing model I’ve seen (and I’ve seen plenty of lunacy). But Klout gets traction (and clients) because it’s hip and revolves around social media. "FINALLY! Here's your way to make money from social media!" they bleat.


Because they understand how to use the tools, here’s what the really smart geeks are starting to discover. Direct marketing principles generate more money than social media marketing. Or at least they can measure the results from direct marketing.

I recently worked for a company run by three 20-something geeks and they hired me primarily for my direct response copywriting skills and direct marketing know-how. They were smart enough to test like crazy and, marrying their technical skills with a direct response copywriter, they TONNED it and the owners have cars and condos costing well into the ‘2 comma’ range.

In my experience, there are two types of marketers. The “branding” boys and girls who want to create warm fuzzy feelings and something called brand awareness. Their idea of success is a wall in the agency that’s full of awards. The other marketer is the direct response marketer who creates marketing that generates a direct result and is constantly striving to improve revenue and conversion. The latter is accountable.

We’re now seeing this bifurcation among the geeks. On the one hand, you have geeks who are obsessed with technology, social media, and bizarre marketing models (Klout). But there’s a new type of geek emerging from the dark ashes of social media campaigns … the direct response marketer. The second type of geek doesn’t necessarily realize they’re a direct marketer … but they will … as they continue to earn vast quantities of cash through the application of direct response principles.

The “smart” geeks, driven by data, will soon discover (if they haven’t already) that a direct response copywriter is much, much more valuable than any blog poster, social media “guru” or other pretender who is trendy, hip, and not much else.

Sadly, there are plenty of well-respected geeks out there who say things like “copy is dead” and “it’s all social media now” and "nobody reads long-form copy anymore." They speak at seminars and on webinars and they collect huge consulting fees for being dead wrong.

Don’t believe a word they say. I recently wrote a golf campaign for some wedges. Each wedge cost $149. The campaign generated over $1.6 million in sales. I wrote long-form copy. Message to geeks (and others) … social media could not … and will not … EVER produce that type of result.


I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing direct response copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy ... copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.

I'm also a Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers.


Disclaimer for the above.

The Dan Kennedy Copywriter for Info-Marketers Certification is awarded to professional copywriters who have successfully completed a course of study of preparation for such copywriting.  This Certification has not been provided by an accredited education institution.  It does not constitute endorsement of or liability for any individual copywriter by Mr. Kennedy or any companies or organizations affiliated with Mr. Kennedy. The client's relationship is solely with the individual copywriter retained via any agreement.