Claude C. Hopkins is not a household name, even though he helped popularize many household items like coupons, toothpaste, and even advertising.
Claude C. Hopkins, an original ad man.
Hopkins, an advertising pioneer of the early 1900s, is probably best known for his book Scientific Advertising (published in 1923). Through his book and his lifetime of work, he became a pioneer of the modern advertising industry. I suspect, though, that he would be appalled with what he saw now. In many ways, Claude wasn’t nearly as much of an advertiser as he was an expert on human psychology. He understood how we think, and that is what made a message from 1923 completely relevant today.
How we think hasn’t really changed, even though we might think we’re more “modern.”
There are dozens of useful nuggets on marketing and sales in his autobiography, a book that I would recommend for just about anyone. While the methods of advertising have changed, the principles of how we market and sell our products to consumers hasn’t changed at all. In fact, in this “new” era of content marketing, I believe that they resonate more than ever.
Ditching The Pitch
In our day, most advertising is just a new take on screaming ”buy me” to the customer. Sure, we use humor, celebrities, and loud music on occasion, but at the end of the day, isn’t most advertising just begging for a sale? Hopkins says that this method doesn’t work. “[We] have to consider the woman at the front door.”
In other words, we have to ditch the pitch, and put our customer first.
One must know what buyers are thinking about and what they are coming to want. One must know the trends to be a leader in a winning trend. - Hopkins
Here are ten rules of advertising that I learned from Claude C. Hopkins.