The late Gary Halbert, who was one of the best copywriters who’s ever lived and one of my personal favorites, went to prison for mail fraud during the 80′s for a crime he didn’t commit in the moral sense.

But him going to prison was one of the best things that ever happened to the direct response crowd.


Because during his prison stint, he wrote a series of letters to his son.

In this series of letters, he taught his son practically everything anybody needs to know about copywriting and/or direct response in general. These letters are available freely on his website. I’ve read through those letters religiously. They’re THAT good.

One of the things that always come to mind from those letters is Gary Halbert’s genius hamburger analogy. He gave this analogy while teaching a group of aspiring marketers.

This what he asked them:

If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and you could have any advantage in the world to beat me, what would you want?

Now all of his students started giving him all kinds of different answers.

Some said they would want a better location, better hamburger meat, some said they would want better sesame seed buns, etc.

Now wise old Gary only wanted ONE advantage that was sure to beat all of them.

This is what he said, “All I want is a starving crowd!”

How does this relate to marketing? Well, we as marketers should CONSTANTLY be looking for groups of hungry people. Not hungry for food, but hungry for solutions. Because no matter how good your copy or marketing is, if you don’t have a market of people hungry for what you have to offer, it really won’t matter what you do.

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say I tried to offer you a product on knitting. Now the marketing was impeccable. I have a killer squeeze page and a sales letter written by Gary Bencivenga (another one of my favorites) himself.

Are you going to be the least bit interested in buying my knitting product?

Didn’t think so.

No matter how adept you are at marketing, it’s easy to forget these simple principles.

It’s also the reason why you should never stop going over the basics.

And always remember, if you don’t have an irrationally passionate market (example: golfers are irrationally passionate) it won’t matter what you do.

Thanks Gary.

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