Friday, [1:41] PM
I went to Walmart last night.
I was there between about [10:45] PM and midnight.
I went totally incognito… in my “civvies” (as we used to say on the P.D.)
My whole “Doberman Dan” super hero outfit with “DD” on the cape… and copywriter super hero utility belt, containing yellow notepads, 3×5 cards, disposable blue pens and a dog-eared copy of Breakthrough Advertising… was all left at home in the closet.
I walked amongst the mere mortals of Walmart as if I was one of them.
I was a chameleon…. blended right in. Nobody even looked twice at me.
We’ll come back to Walmart a little later.
For now, let me tell you a little story:
There once lived a boy in the town of Barberton, Ohio who at a very young age showed an unusual talent for music.
In fact, as early as age 7, he knew his life-long dream.
More than anything in the world he wanted to be a professional guitarist.
But he made a common mistake many people make as soon as they figure out their dream or goal…
He announced his dream to the people
he expected would support and help him!
Instead of recognizing a talent that should have been encouraged, trained and developed, the people he most expected to support him conspired against him and did whatever it took to destroy that young boy’s dream and crush his spirit.
And since these evil dream stealers were those closest to him… his parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and teachers…
…And since he was yet too young to understand how to set and achieve goals…
…And too young to know that to actually make a dream come true you have to fight for it with every ounce of strength you have…
… And didn’t understand that small-minded people too cowardly to develop and fight for their OWN dreams, instead choose to tear down others’ dreams…
… This poor kid allowed their well-planned assault against him crush his young spirit.
But there was something unusual inside him. Something that could NEVER let his dream die no matter how much opposition he faced.
So instead, he put his fragile and badly injured dream on life support and hid it in “dream intensive care” for 40 years. He let the dream stealers THINK they successfully killed his dream just to get them off his back… but he kept it alive all this time.
Now that was a VERY unusual reaction because, like all his peers, his indoctrination into servitude started almost immediately after birth.
And at age 5 his parents willingly relinquished their responsibility of raising him to the State so he could complete the mandatory 13 years in a government sponsored youth indoctrination camp.
His parents didn’t know any better. That’s what everybody else in their socio-economic class did… so it must be the correct thing to do… right?
Besides, the State threatened to throw them in jail if they refused to hand their children over. It seemed completely normal to them to give up their children to the State.
So in spite of decades of indoctrination into his pre-planned life of servitude… and YEARS of concentrated effort under constant duress to teach him to NOT think rationally and only obey orders… this young boy secretly knew the entire system was complete bullshit.
But since their influence was so strong and they controlled the purse strings, he had not yet figured out how to break free from this system of servitude.
After his release from the government sponsored youth indoctrination camp, instead of doing what he REALLY wanted to do and pursuing his life-long dream of being a professional guitarist, he did exactly what “they” told him to do.
He got a “good job” so he could have 50 to 60% of his life values stolen from him, automatically taken out of his paycheck… and lived like the rest of the sheep… barely able to pay the bills with what was left over after the slave-masters stole half his life values.
After just a few years years of this life, this young man decided he was going to get himself free of this miserable life of servitude… or die trying.
After nine long years of struggle and constant failure… and indescribably painful betrayal by those closest to him…
He finally gained that freedom!
He didn’t gain his freedom with his original dream, but he was free nonetheless.
And the last 14 years of freedom have trained him to think differently than the sheep.
Now unlike many other pompous and delusional copywriters, consultants, marketers and gurus, he has never believed his own publicity.
He knows he’s just a simple guy from Barberton, Ohio who was somehow able to see past the carefully orchestrated and manipulated matrix of lies and deception that have been used for eons to keep the majority in servitude.
And last night at Walmart, moving about incognito in my civvies, this humble former-Barbertonian had a few epiphanies I think will help you in your marketing.
First of all, the most obvious thing I noticed was approximately 75% of the Walmart shoppers were overweight.
And 50% of those were morbidly obese.
Looking in their shopping carts revealed the reason. These poor folks are poisoning themselves with chemicals and processed foods that are as addictive as morphine.
Heck, even foods that USED to be healthy are now secretly laced with addictive chemicals that cause obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Here’s a phrase we copywriters love to use:
“It’s Not Your Fault!”
It takes the prospect off the hook and makes them feel better about their failure and poor choices. It’s used all the time in weight loss ads.
The thing is… in this case it really is mostly true.
1. They honestly don’t know any better. In fact, they THINK they’re eating healthy food because the USDA and other “experts” have told them this is the healthy way to eat. (BTW, all the “experts” and alphabet agencies who promote this type of diet are heavily lobbied – which is just a nice sounding way of saying “bribed” – by big Pharma.)
2. Even if the food was healthy in its natural state, it has now been processed to death, all the formerly healthy stuff totally extracted… and loaded up with addictive chemicals that cause a host of diseases and health issues…
3. And finally, since most of these good people are forced to try and stretch a $20 bill to pay for what is now $100 worth of groceries, they’re forced to buy the lower-priced food. And THAT is the processed food loaded with these disease-causing chemicals that are the biggest culprit in causing this health crisis. The actual honest-to-goodness healthy food is simply out of the budget of the average family. They have to choose quantity over quality.
(There’s a reason for that. In a nutshell, when you hand control of a country’s currency over to a group of private bankers… and give them free reign to print as much of it as they want, you destroy the middle class. They don’t understand why it’s harder and harder for them to get by each year. They just know that to survive, they now have to buy the cheapest food at Walmart… which is slowly killing them.)
So there I was… pushing my cart around as an “undercover marketer”…
…Observing what people were buying…
…Listening in on conversations (and in several cases, arguments) about how their extremely limited and unbeknownst to them, continually shrinking budget should be spent…
…I took notice of what the overweight people had in their carts…
…I took note of what the grossly obese people had in their carts. (HINT: They’re consuming an inordinate amount of HFCS and don’t even know it. Soda or “pop” as we called it as kids in Ohio is the biggest cause of obesity and diabetes.)
…I watched as people had to pick and choose what they could and couldn’t afford. And I’m not talking about extra luxury or “treat” items. I’m talking about staples like chicken, eggs, fish, etc.
And a feeling welled up in my gut I tried to choke back… and my eyeballs started to “sweat.” (A guy who worked for 12 years as an inner city cop doesn’t cry. My eyeballs DO occasionally sweat… or I get “allergies.”)
You see, I’m mad as hell about why this is happening to millions of good hard working people.
99.99% of the good people in this country don’t understand it… but it’s an insidiously evil and carefully orchestrated plan that has been implemented gradually over the past 100 years or so.
The gradual long term implementation was the evil genius part of the plan.
A rapid implementation would have caused an armed revolution… but done gradually over decades makes it easier to “boil the frog.” It keeps the sheep fat, dumb and happy in their pens so you can continue to frequently shear them.
Pure evil, too… but you have to admire the forethought and planning by these evil masters.
In the next issue of The Doberman Dan Letter, I’m revealing a plan how you can protect yourself so you don’t wind up broke and can keep more of what you make… without all those “non-fun” austerity measures recommended by guys like Dave Ramsey.
But I’m a realist. I know I can only personally reach a very small percentage of people and save them from slowly going broke. And it makes me feel powerless and angry.
So there I was in Walmart… feeling powerless and angry about all these good people suffering like this.
I choked back that weird feeling and eyeball sweat that some people who don’t know any better would describe as crying… and started thinking like a marketer, instead of the overly sensitive musician that I REALLY am.
Look, unless you’re selling Rolls Royces, Hummers, Rolexes and other expensive toys to the affluent… you need to start hanging out in Walmart. Preferably between the hours of [8:00]PM and midnight.
You’ll get an understanding for today’s consumer market like never before. These are the people you’re trying to reach with your website and sales copy. And you better be able to speak their language, understand their challenges and give them a damn good reason why they should buy your product.
Because, in many cases, their dilemma isn’t, “Gee, should I buy Acne Treatment System A… or Acne Treatment System B?”
The REAL question is, “Gee, should I buy Acne Treatment System A… or the fruit I need to put in my children’s lunchboxes this week?”
You need to get away from your stupid time-sucking e-mail, walk away from that damn computer and get to Walmart for some REAL market research.
I don’t mean you should stand back with your arms crossed, piously observing all the “sheep” from a distance. You may be out of your office physically but with an attitude like that, you’re still in your ivory tower.
Even though many copywriters are introverts and this puts us outside our comfort zone, you need to actually mingle, meet some new people, open your mouth and talk with some of these folks.
These are good, hard working, “salt of the earth” people… who unfortunately have been deceived and are now stuck in the rapidly-disappearing middle class.
Ask them questions about their lives, their jobs, what they’re buying, etc.
You may be surprised at the marketing intelligence you pick up.
Do you want a REALLY advanced marketing education?
The kind you won’t get from ANY current book or course?
Simply ask them about their hopes and dreams for the future.
You may be shocked.
And then depressed.
999 out of a 1,000 don’t have any hopes or dreams…other than maybe getting a large screen LED television this year if they can get their credit card paid down enough to put it on their card.
Many may not be college educated… and a lot haven’t even finished high school. But they certainly are NOT stupid. Most are quite savvy and aware of what’s happening to their financial situation.
They know things are not getting any better for them. And most will express a very diminished hope for the future.
Hey, I don’t mean to be negative or depressing… but my incognito trip to Walmart was quite eye opening.
Our world has changed a LOT in just the past couple years. And a lot of marketers have not kept up with those changes.
You can deny it if you want, recite delusional “money chants” and HOPE for the best… but the economy has changed the way money is moving. And I don’t think it’s ever going back to how it was just a few years ago.
We’re at a precarious time when what works and what doesn’t work has changed dramatically.
Nowadays, you have to be totally in tune and up to date with the changes in buyer motivations and spending habits. If you don’t know how to strategically react to these constant changes…
… In your advertising copy…
… Customer acquisition programs…
… “Reason to buy” presentations…
… And customer retention programs…
… You’re going to lose out on at least HALF of your potential sales and income.
Or worse, you may not even BE in business next year.
A mere three years ago you probably could have coasted along without keeping up with all these changes and done OK.
Depends On It!
You need to stay in the loop about what’s working most effectively RIGHT NOW.
Based on my recent research (including my undercover Walmart trip), I’ve been forced to re-evaluate all of my marketing strategies and tactics.
I’m doing a complete 180 with all my personal business projects… and I’m pretty excited about it.
I’ll be sharing every single detail about all my new projects in The Doberman Dan Letter.
Trust me on this…
Get away from your computer for a few hours, stop reading the “ivory tower” marketing B.S. from the online marketing gurus and make an undercover trip to Walmart between the hours of [8:00] PM and [12:00]AM.
If you really do chat up and interact with the people there, you’ll come back with some highly valuable market research… and a much better understanding and empathy for your prospects.
P.S. One last tip:
Things work a helluva lot better in your marketing and copy when you understand how the world REALLY works… instead of how you think it SHOULD work.