5 David Ogilvy Quotes To Boost Your Content Marketing To The Next Level


Take David Ogilvy’s advice to boost your content marketing effectiveness. One of the original Mad Men, Ogilvy’s advice defines modern content marketing.

Here are five of David Ogilvy’s quotes to take your content marketing to the next level accompanied by actionable recommendations.

  1. What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form. Regardless of how you dress it up, consumers are looking for information. Since 70% of consumers do research online before they purchase, it’s important to provide information that solves their problems, preferably with your products or services. HOW TO FIX: Offer content that helps prospects and customers use your products better to meet their personal needs. Think in terms of how-tos, FAQs or recipes that your audience should find useful. Take this one step further and make this content easy-to-consume with bullets and bolding.
  2. There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers. Ogilvy understood the power of straight copy to sell. In fact, the more your content marketing looks like third party media, the more likely your audience will find them credible. This Ogilvy reference reveals that, even during the Mad Men’s heyday, advertising wasn’t as credible as other information sources. (A delema otherwise known as how to market when the trust is gone.) HOW TO FIX: Skip the promotional mumbo jumbo. Just cut to the chase and give your audience information that answers their buying related questions before and after they purchase
  3. Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon. Get rid of the sanitized corporate-speak from your content marketing. Your language should sound like a real person. Take this one step further. Don’t let a committee write your content or it won’t sound like a real person. This is human element is at the heart of social media communications. HOW TO FIX: Eliminate marketing jargon from your content marketing. Ask yourself does this sound like a human being wrote this? Another alternative is to ask your mother what she thinks. If she doesn’t understand something, she won’t be shy about telling you.
  4.  I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacularYour content and related marketing information should use your audience’s language to persuade them to buy from you. You need to make your information understandable. HOW TO FIX: Get rid of your formal language to build a relationship with your prospect or customer. Remember people like to engage with people like themselves. Using their language helps you breakdown barriers.
  5. Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine. This famous quote makes two important points. Don’t say anything that you’d be embarrassed by whether it’s a trade secret or foul language. The idea is to be a straight shooter. Don’t use your content to hurt someone, either directly or indirectly. Related to this is the importance of telling the truth, which will become public on social media. HOW TO FIX: Tell the truth. This is simple and straightforward. If there’s an issue with your product, don’t try to cover it up. This is especially true in a social media world where people will let others know if there is any kind of issue.

At the end of the day, what matters most is talking to your prospect in his language and providing him with sufficient information to persuade him to purchase from your company or organization.

Do you have any other suggestions that you’d add to this list? If so, what?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:David_ogilvy.jpg

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  • http://www.visiture.com Visiture Internet Marketing

    I really love #5; however, I have a little problem with #4. I think being accessible is paramount, but ignoring the rules of grammar for the sake of appealing to the masses makes me cringe. I’m also an English fanatic, so I’m sure I’m one of very few who cares.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Amber — I agree with you that content requires strong grammar. I interpreted David Ogilvy’s words as meaning to speak the way that your audience does, not to forsake good English practice. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.eatsleepsearch.com Michael

    Write in the vernacular…my favourite

  • Rod Taylor

    My favorite O’Gilvy quote is: “When you’re selling fire extinguishers lead with fire.” I used to be in the agency business and I used this all the time.