Friday, February 19, 2016

How to be a creative genius in 5 easy steps

Recently I was asked to teach a class on creativity for a local writing group. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have made a lifelong study of the subject and have read dozens of books on the subject. One of the best of these is "A technique for producing ideas" by James Webb Young.

This is a an old book, originally published in 1940 but has never been out of print.

It is a small book, just 60 pages or so.

It is a simple book, written in simple language.

Most of all, it is a practical book written by a man who built a career on coming up with ideas for his advertising clients. James Webb Young was a giant of the advertising business in the early to mid 20th century. Unlike artists who can work for years on a single creative project, advertising people have to produce ideas on demand under the pressure of an immovable deadline. Young was exceptionally good at this and excelled in the industry. When others approached him as a mentor, he analyzed his creative process and broke it down into 5 simple steps:
  1. Gathering information
  2. Digesting the materials
  3. Incubating the idea
  4. Birth of the idea
  5. Developing and refining the idea
Though it is over 75 years old, I think "A technique for producing ideas" is a "must read" for anyone in advertising or any other creative enterprise. It is available for just a few dollars on
Amazon ( you can use the attached link). It is at once an easy and entertaining book and a book that will greatly enhance your abilities.

Thanks for reading and for referring this blog to others.

Jim Busch

Friday, August 14, 2015

Selling When the Shot Clock is Ticking

The good news is that you've finally been able to reach the decision maker at a key account after months of trying..

The bad news is he/she says, "Okay, you've got two minutes to show me what you've got!"

What do you do? Do you start talking a mile a minute and try to compress a half hour presentation into two minutes? Do you skip the entire presentation process and ask for an order?

It is unlikely that either of these strategies will work. You simply do not have enough time to position the value of your product in the customer's mind. In this scenario you have to read between the lines to hear what the prospect is really saying. The translation of, "you've got 2 minutes" is, "Don't waste my time." It is unlikely that the customer really has to be somewhere in 2 minutes, he is just saying that is the most time I'm willing to waste.

The key in these situations is not to get flustered, to stay calm and collected.  When you get the two minute warning, you're job is to engage the customer and make him think, "This guy/gal might have something to offer after all. It can't hurt to listen to what they have to say." If you can use a question, a testimonial or make a statement that gets the customer thinking, you will get the time you need to properly present your product.

As with most things in life, it pays to be prepared. Thinking about what you're going to say before the clock starts ticking greatly increases your chance of staying in the game long after the 2 minute buzzer has sounded.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This is your brain in print!

Here's an interesting study from across the pond. The United Kingdom's Royal Mail Service wanted to understand the differences between how readers process direct mail messages  versus ads viewed on a screen. They asked the firm of Millward-Brown to look into this issue. Working with Bangor University Millward-Brown conducted a rigorous study of the issue using fMRI technology.

Their study found that readers presented with information in card format (physical ad) were much more engaged with the message than readers presented the material in a digital (virtual) format. They found that the physical were more engaging both intellectually and emotionally. This lead them to surmise that the brain would be better able to recall the printed ad over a similar digital one.

Here is a link to a brief synopsis of the study in PDF form:


This study is a good justification for print advertising as well as for direct mail.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch

Thursday, October 9, 2014

David Ogilvy's vision of a good leader

Thirty years ago when I got into advertising sales, I wanted to educate myself about my new industry. I hit the library and discovered "Confessions of an Advertising Man" by David Ogilvy. Since that time, Ogilvy has been one of my heroes. He was that rare person who excelled in all aspects of the business. He was an incredibly creative copywriter, a great sales person and an excellent manager/leader. His thoughts are as valuable today as they were back in the "Mad Man" era when he helped shape modern advertising. Here are his thoughts on what it takes to be a leader from the book : The Unpublished Ogilvy :

The qualifications I (David Ogilvy) look for in our leaders are these:
  1. High standards of personal ethics.
  2. Big people, without pettiness. 
  3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
  4. Brilliant brains--not safe plodders.
  5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
  6. Charisma--charm and persuasiveness.
  7. A streak of unorthodoxy--creative innovators.
  8. The courage to make tough decisions.
  9. Inspiring enthusiasts--with thrust and gusto.
  10. A sense of humor

Not a bad list to look for or aspire to.

Thanks for reading!

Jim Busch

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is this the next "disruptive technology" that will change advertising

I just watched an extremely interesting Charlie Rose interview. Charlie's guests were the founders of SPRITZ. Spritz is a new digital reading system. Since the Sumerians first starting making marks on a clay tablet thousands of yeqrs ago, text has been presented as groups of words covering a page. This was the only way to deliver complete messages on a clay tablet or...on a tablet computer. SPRITZ presents words one of a time in a rapid sequence. To facilitate reading the letter which is the focal point of each word is shown in red to draw the eye quickly to the message. I tried this system on their website ( ) and it is amazing how quickly one can absorb printed information using Spritz. Spritz claims that it is possible to read a 1,000 words a minute using their method.

The question is, "How does this impact advertising?" Typically people would be attracted by the content of a page and would stumble upon the advertising sharing the page when they are reading. With Spritz, one only see the desired content one word at a time. If this system catches on, which I think is a very real possibility, it could change web and mobile technology. This will be an interesting innovation to watch, a potential game changer.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The "one-two punch" technique for cold calling

It is estimated that some 80% of business calls end up in voice mail. I would not be surprised if a similar percentage of business e-mails end up in the "junk mail" or "deleted items" folders. I heard a technique today that should increase your chance of getting through to a decision maker.

The technique starts with a phone call. When you get voice-mail, leave a message something like this: "This is Jim Busch from Company Name,  I know you're busy so I will send you a e-mail detailing how businesses like yours are attracting new clients. Look it over and if you're interested, give me a call. Thanks."

this low key approach doesn't sound overly "salesie" and enhances the chances of your e-mail being read.

Follow this up with an e-mail using the subject line: "Per my e-mail"

In your e-mail use a customer testimonial and tell the prospect you'd like to give them some information that they will find valuable. Do not give them all the details. Include your number and ask them to call or e-mail you.

If the customer calls back be prepared to share some research or ideas with them to make good on your promise. If they do not call back, follow-up in a few days leaving a message that you are following up on your voice-mail and e-mail messages. This will tell the customer that you have made an effort to reach them and they may feel obligated to call back.

Will this work? I'm not sure but this is a good idea to experiment.

Thanks for reading

Jim Busch

Monday, October 14, 2013

Double your pleasure

Many customers look at advertising as an "either/or" proposition. They will advertise either in the daily or the weekly paper. They will do cable or print. This attitude stems from a desire to save money and they see reaching the same consumer twice as a waste of money. There are two reasons why this is penny wise and pound foolish. First, each media attracts a unique readership. While many people may access multiple media, few are touched by all the available media in their area. By leaving your paper out of the mix the "thrifty" advertiser misses readers who may be the ideal customer for the product or service they sell. The best way to ensure the success of your business is to reach as many potential customers as possible. The customers that they reach in one media that they do not reach in another represents their unduplicated reach.

Advertisers should also ask themselves,  "is duplication necessarily a bad thing?" Customers assume that when a consumer sees their ad, it is love at first sight. That they will jump up out of their chair and head for the advertisers business as soon as they see their ad. This is a very unrealistic view of  how advertising works. Most people take much more convincing. The more often they see the customer's message, the more likely they are to recall their name. After a while the consumer begins to associate the business with the products they sell. The more often a consumer sees the customer's name and is exposed to their message, the more likely they are to patronize the advertiser's business. I argue that far from being an unnecessary waste of money, that duplicated reach actually provides the advertiser with a significant benefit.

I hope you found this post valuable. Please feel free to post your thoughts on this subject in the comments section and to pass this blog along to others.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Busch