59,523 years ago, we’d have been friends // Dale Carnegie wouldn’t approve of this, but your customers might

“I see you’ve got your ADHD eyes going again…”, 

my friend Nik said as we were chatting in her lounge.

She’s the first one to ever point this out to me. She’s either a) super perceptive or b) not as meek when it comes to spotlighting physical foibles as my other (two) friends…

Apparently, I do something weird when I’m talking to you.

I thought I’d let you know, on the off chance we should meet at a community library opening ceremony or Ursula Andress look-a-like competition.

Even though I’ll be totally engrossed in your story about the time you asked your mum for a Bakewell tart and she misunderstood, instead bringing you a lady of questionable moral virtue from the village of Bakewell…

… my eyes will be all over the place.

Not in an “oh my god, are you having a seizure?” kinda way…

I’ll just be scanning the environment.

59,523 years ago, I’d have been a useful member of the tribe.

I’d be the first to yell, “Fuck – a tiger!”

We’d definitely would’ve been Facebook friends then.

Now, when we’re chatting in the relative safety of your miniature Argos homeware department, it’s not quite so critical.

I just look like I’m sizing up your assets to see if it’s worth clubbing you to death and hawking your stuff.

So I want you to know, if we ever meet and you see my eyes looking around… 

I’m probably not planning on clubbing you to death.

Looking at everything might be a Dale Carnegie faux pas, but it’s a pretty useful skill to have when it comes to copy.

Being able to come up with new hooks, angles, and mechanisms can often make or break your campaign,  so being able to look at your offer from every possible angle is like me 59,523 years ago – pretty darn useful.

It’s also how comedians create hilarious new jokes from “done to death” material, like holidays, relationships, and having kids – there’s always a fresh new angle lurking for those that know how to look.

You might think you already know everything about your product, market, and audience… but you probably don’t.

If you came at it from a different angle… what would you see?

What are you missing?

An easy way to try this is to stretch yourself – instead of coming up with 5 email ideas for your next promo… come up with 20, 30… or 50.

The first few will come easy, but the rest will be a struggle.

Your brain may hurt. Keep going.

I’ll warn you now – you’ll come up with some of the most god awful, “I wish I could set fire to my eyeballs so I could unsee that” ideas doing this, but…

… you’ll also come up with some unexpected gold every once in a while. Gold you’d never have discovered unless you looked a little harder.

John Holt