Is your marketing like a pair of £120 trainers?


No question.

1992 was the year when I was the coolest I’ve ever been.

Secretly, this annoys me a great deal. I should be the coolest I’ve ever been NOW.

I do card tricks for a living for crying out loud!


My kids should be the most popular in school, I should be constantly besieged by ladyfolk and I should be whizzed to the front of the line at McDonald’s.


As it turns out, I’m not. Not even close.

When I show my eldest a new trick – something I’ve been working on for months (getting the sleights down to perfection and the script to it’s absolute funniest), instead of applause and adulation, I get a, “yeah, that’s good. 9/10. What’s for dinner?”

So, yeah, 1992 was the year I was most cool. In 1992, I was 16, had a job and a weekly travel saver bus pass meaning I could travel anywhere I liked within Blackpool (20-mile radius, T&Cs apply), but, more importantly, I had money in my pocket.

But not for long.

On this day in 1992 (I can’t remember which day, please forgive me), I was heading into town to spend some money.

A lot of money.


That might not sound like a lot by today’s standards, but remember – this was 1992, I was 16 years old and I was only working 5 hours a week.

£120 was a LOT of money.

And I was going to spend it on some trainers.

Not just any trainers though. Oh no, these were the brand new Rebook “pump” trainers.

(any 40-somethings nodding along with me here?)

That’s right, no more sucky uninflatable footwear for me!

Finally – an end to my “whatever-the-hell-adding-an-inflatable-element-to-the-tongue-of-an-already-overpriced-piece-of-footwear-does” problems!

I remember withdrawing the cash from a machine about a mile away from the shop. I remember it clearly because the machine gave me all tens and I became aware that, to any potential muggers watching, this would look like a massive wad of cash. I suddenly became conscious that the entire planet was watching me and my 12 notes.

I swear I heard the sound of a flick-knife open.

I grabbed the notes and put them in my jeans pocket. I want to tell you this I did this in a cool and calm manner, like James Bond collecting casino winnings, but, I probably most resembled a frantic toddler, desperately trying to grab as many chocolate biscuits as they can, as they hear mum’s footsteps coming down the stairs.

I walked to the shop with my hand in my pocket, clutching the notes, the entire way. If you’ve ever watched a show about serial killers or stalkers, you’ll know how this looks.

Fortunately, I wasn’t mugged, arrested or pepper-sprayed on my way to the shop, so I managed to buy the shoes and become the coolest version of myself I would ever be.

The next day at school, I rocked up to P.E., put on my shoes, pumped them up for maximum effect, grabbed a basketball and tried a free throw…

…nothing but air.

I missed it by a fucking mile.

I was still shit at basketball.

What they didn’t tell me in the shop was that, if I wanted to be a better basketball player…

…I should probably work on being a better basketball player, rather than spending two months wages on some shoes.

It’s the same when I talk to copywriting clients.

They’re always interested in the latest software, funnel, template or hack to get more sales.

🤔 Long or short copy?
🤔 LinkedIn or Instagram?
🤔 Post once a day, or 3,236 times a day?
🤔 Britney or Christina?

(Yeah, I know that last one’s dated, but I think we’ve already established that I’m not cool, so I don’t care)

If you haven’t got the basics right, no amount of hacks will help you.

👉 Get a clear offer
👉 Define your market
👉 Discover where they are
👉 Show them you can help by giving them value
👉 Make offers from a place of genuine service

LeBron James isn’t one of the best in the world because he has good footwear.

(Give him a pair of ‘Dunlop Green flash’ and he’ll still run rings around me)

He’s LeBron James because he works hard on the fundamentals so that the gimmicks don’t matter.

What are the fundamentals in your business that you neglect most often? Let me know in the comments below.