How An Audience List Can Help You Hit The Six-Figure Mark With Brian Kurtz


FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark


Hitting the six-figure mark requires in-depth research, constant marketing refinement, and endless product improvement. But one vital element must never be neglected in all of these: building a strong target audience. This is where Brian Kurtz found success when running the publishing company Boardroom Reports. Joining Mitch Russo, he explains how they earned billions by keeping a consistent audience list and nurturing powerful connections with each one. Brian also shares valuable secrets behind his success, from changing the 40-40-20 marketing rule into 41-39-20, his incredible concept of RFM, to his unparalleled philosophy of over-delivering.


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How An Audience List Can Help You Hit The Six-Figure Mark With Brian Kurtz

I have something special for all my coaches in the audience. As a coach for many years, I’ve made a few discoveries that have vastly improved client performance and satisfaction. I realized that by asking a few specific questions that are carefully crafted to bring a client to a personal realization about their true purpose, I was able to help my clients align their newly discovered true purpose with their true mission, and that ends up aligning everything we’re about to do together for incredible supercharging of all the results that you can get.

I’ve shared this technique in a free book called Coach Elevation. All you’ve got to do is go to, download the book, and read it through. It’s a short read. An hour from now, you could be practicing the Coach Elevation Process on your own clients and seeing the magic that I’ve been able to get after doing this for many years.

Now, onto this episode’s guest and his incredible story. If you’ve been in direct marketing for a while, you will likely recognize the name of an iconic publishing company called Boardroom Reports, of which I was a regular subscriber. All throughout the 1990s, I loved Boardroom Reports. You’re about to meet the man who helped grow that company to over $1 billion in revenue, selling $39 products, which is amazing.

After he left Boardroom Reports, he founded another amazing organization called Titans of Marketing, which is a coaching and education company, and still scaling rapidly. His book is called Overdeliver. He’s here to tell us more about this incredible new book. We’re going to share stories of our time together, knowledge of the industry, and all the things that we’ve gone through. Strap in. This is going to be a fun interview.

Welcome, Brian Kurtz, to the show.

Thanks, Mitch. It’s great to be here. You reminded me, I was one of the early interviewees on this show. I contributed to its growth when it was small. Now, it’s big. I get to come back, talk some more, and share some stories with you. We’re not in the same business per se, although we overlap. There’s a Venn Diagram there. I do think that we overlap in terms of a lot of the same people and concepts that we both explored. I’m excited to be here.

It’s amazing how far of a history we’ve shared. We didn’t know each other for many of the years that we shared the same history, which is the case with many people. I have such fond memories of Boardroom Reports. I remember the cassette player in my used BMW while I was on the road selling, I wore out the cassette player in the dashboard and had to get a replacement because that’s how many of those cassettes I pushed through there. I enjoyed those. I used to love the Nightingale Conant tapes. To me, anytime driving was the time to learn.

It still is with all the podcasts. When I published Overdeliver in 2019, there was a story behind that as well. I remember that Hay House, my publisher, was saying that the fastest-growing part of book publishing was Audible or audio. I always thought it was Kindle and digital versions, but it is audio. It’s because of the same reasons for driving and people exercising, running, all of that. I’ve got a ton of Audible books on my phone. It’s very valuable.

Let’s go back to some of the stuff that you did as a refresher for me anyway, and certainly for some readers. When you were at Boardroom Reports, I remember the story of how you have taken under the wing of the founder and mentored them to grow that company. Give us an idea of some of the breakthroughs that hit you between the eyes when you thought about what it would take to sell a $39 product at the scale that you did.

It was Boardroom Reports when I got there, and then we changed it to Boardroom Inc. It’s interesting that we kept it Boardroom because it sounds like it’s business. We ended up being a consumer publisher because one of the big breakthroughs for us was realizing that when you have an audience of executives, but you have them at a home address, which is what we did, it was a lot of small businesses and home businesses. We realized, “We have the businessman at home. What about the businessman at home on topics not pertaining to business?” That became Bottom Line/Personal, which ended up eclipsing Boardroom Reports by tenfold.

Bottom Line/Personal became the flagship of the company. All of the books that we did early on were business and tax-oriented all the things that related to Boardroom Reports. One of the biggest breakthroughs early on was this transition from being B2C, but it was business information, tax information, and corporate-type stuff, but for small businesses. All of a sudden, we start getting into executive health, consumer issues, personal finance, and investing. We weren’t a stock picker newsletter but we were all about the consumer. It’s a bigger market. I’ve written a lot about that in my blog. People say in direct marketing that it’s not branding and that branding is crap.

It’s not because you have to know what your brand is and what it represents. You don’t just stick to a brand. It’s like the Wayne Gretzky quote, “You go where the puck is going, not where it is.” We saw this transition to consumer publishing being our big growth area then it transformed into the books we did. We had one book, The Book of Inside Information, which was all consumer information and some business stuff. That book sold three million copies in direct mail. That’s how you sell a lot of products at $39 when you sell volume like that. Someone asked me who was at Agora, which is a large newsletter publisher with over $1.5 billion in all their divisions.

FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark
Six-Figure Mark: You have to know what your brand is and what it represents. You don’t just stick to it without knowing where it is going.


I spoke to their copywriting team, one of the divisions, and they asked me the question that I hate getting, which is what are my biggest regrets at Boardroom? I spent 34 years there. I had a lot of success, but a lot of failures too. This wasn’t a failure, it was a complete oversight in that I never developed an ascension program. I’m not going to say I. Nobody on the team did. When you get a million subscribers to a newsletter, like Bottom Line/Personal and the newsletter was powerful and got many renewals, it’s not $39. It’s three-year subscribers. Now all of a sudden, it’s a $120 ticket, but it’s $39 at a time.

With the books, $39 at a time and we developed an annual. That was a big breakthrough to get into renewals on books. It was interesting that it was $1 billion of business, $39 at a time without an ascension program. In the market that you and I are in, and we’ve been in for a while, everything is ascension. You start at $39.19. You go to $39.99. You go to a $1,500 coaching program and a $25,000 mastermind. We had nothing like that at Boardroom.

I learned all the same lessons. It wasn’t like I was avoiding doing ascension, but it was hard for us to do it because the information we were supplying was $39 information. If you’re doing a stock-picking newsletter that’s making people tons of money, you obviously can charge $1,500 for that. $39 is $39 because you’re giving them good consumer tips. I tried to institute a few programs where I wanted to do some courses like a retirement course where you had not to outlive your money and that type of stuff, but I never got it off the ground.

When I didn’t get it off the ground, Marty Edelston, who was the Founder of Boardroom was the guy that mentored me. He died in 2013. I decided that I wasn’t going to stay there for the long haul. I was an equity partner. I developed a lot of skills. He gave me a lot of freedom. I said, “I’m going to take what I’ve learned and teach it.” That’s coaching. That’s what you do. That’s what I do. I hate saying I’m a consultant. It sounds like you’re unemployed.

One of the things that you mentioned a good early part of our chat is you talked about the fact that you sold to the corporate marketplace, and here’s the key, but you got their home addresses. I don’t know if you realized back then that you were potentially paving the way for the future of the company by doing that.

The funny thing was my job, when I got to Boardroom, was the in-house list manager. That meant that I was marketing the Boardroom lists in the marketplace so everybody could use them. This is for direct mail. Most people took their list and gave it to an outside list manager to represent them in the marketplace. Boardroom because we were a newsletter, we didn’t have advertising. The only way to reach that audience was through its mailing lists and direct mail. There were no space ads in the publication. There was nothing that you could get to the audience. The other thing was that it was an audience that was sold completely on direct mail. The fact that they were responsive to direct mail, they were responsive to impulsive direct mail written by the top copywriters who lived at that time.

I’m talking about legends like Eugene Schwartz, Mel Martin, Jim Rutz, and Gary Bencivenga, then later on, Paris Propolis, David Deutsch, Arthur Johnson, Clayton Makepeace, and the best of the best. We had this list of executives at home who have bought through direct mail and impulsive, paranoia direct mail. Paranoia is not a psychosis. It’s survival. That was from Frederick Adler, a venture capitalist. They were mail-ordered junkies. I say that as fondly as I can. When you say that, “We knew what we had,” you did. Our average per name rented at one point was $5 a name, which was outrageous at that time. We were making $4 million to $5 million in list rental income. We were very aware of it.

The beauty for me, from my career standpoint, is that I was at the focal point of the list. everybody who wanted to use the Boardroom list had to come to me. It wasn’t just Money Magazine, Consumer Reports, and the financial newsletters, it was the Sharper Image catalog, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Paralyzed American Veterans. It was anybody and everybody because it was hard to think about a list not being vertical when you’re talking about a direct mail list in the consumer market. We had a horizontal list that encompassed many markets. That’s why we made much money on the list, but many people could use it. What did that do for my career? I met everybody in the list business.

They just came to me. I was in a lucky place, but I did do something spectacular. Not pounding myself on the back, but I became the best list manager in the country. The competition wasn’t very stiff. Most people were selling lists by giving out data cards. When I went to a list broker to sell the boardroom lists, I would go there with all of the mailing pieces that we had used to get the names on those lists from the best copywriters of all time. That was getting into the psyche of how the lists were built and how they were assembled.

That’s what that did for me for my career even nowadays when I think about an email list or any list and how it was derived and built building on the back of podcasts, for example. When you build a list based on podcasts, you’re building on the best content and you have the most voracious audience for your topic, products, and services. I learned much about the audience and how powerful it was. I’m not embarrassed to say I was a list guy because it gave me a tremendous leg up on most of the other people who are offer, product, and even copy people. The list is the most important thing.

When you build a list based on your podcast, you build on the best content and the most voracious audience for your topic, products, or services. Click To Tweet

Let’s see if we can translate some of your incredible experience into nowadays’ marketplace because there are a lot of people here reading this show now who are basic entrepreneurs. They have businesses of all different types. What would you say are the core takeaways for the guy who’s sitting at home, who probably has worked remotely for a while, can’t quite get to the six-figure mark, but here he is reading this blog? What should he know that could take him to the next level based on your experience?

One of the things is to look at direct marketing, meaning you’re measuring your marketing and getting an ROI on your marketing. Think about it as a three-legged stool. The three-legged stools are your list, audience or media, the people that you want to reach. You then have your offer, what you’re going to offer them, the product, terms, and all of that then the creative, the messaging that you’re going to use. If you look at it that way, there was a theory when I was starting in the business that talked about the 40/40/20 rule who said that any marketing campaign depends 40% on the list, 40% on the offer, and 20% on everything else, which to me is the messaging and creative.

I change that in my book, Overdeliver, to the 41/39/20 rule. The reason why I wanted to bump up the 40/40 to 41/39 is that I wanted everybody to understand that it’s to list the media and the audience that’s the most important. I can prove it quickly and say that if you have the best creative and offer, and you think your product is the best thing that’s ever been assembled, and built, your service is the best, and it goes out to the wrong audience, you’re not going to get any orders. You’ll get zero orders. The opposite is not true. The opposite is that if you get a perfect audience for what you’re selling and you have a mediocre offer and creative, you’ll make some sales.

However, if you get all three of those things working on the same level, now you’re talking about direct marketing nirvana. You’re talking about you’ve got the audience, developed the audience, and the audience doesn’t happen. You’ve got to go farm and research for it. You’ve got to go where your audience is and find out what they want. You’ve got to survey them. Even if you have 100 or 1,000 names on your list or your Facebook profile, you need to find out. It’s not what you want to deliver to them. It’s what they want then you have to deliver that to them.

Eugene Schwartz, one of the greatest copywriters of all time, and the author of Breakthrough Advertising, one of the greatest books of all time on copywriting, marketing, and human behavior for that matter used to say that, “It’s not that the copywriter or the marketer creates a desire in the marketplace for whatever they’re doing. The desire is already there. You have to go find it and then farm it with your offer and your creative.” That’s the job of the copywriter and the marketer. It’s not that abstract. I’m trying to simplify it for the person that you’re identifying.

The copywriter or marketer does not create the desire in the marketplace since it is already present. They only have to find it and farm it with your offer. Click To Tweet

They’re sitting at home and they want to build a business whether they’re from scratch or whatever. The first thing they have to do is they have to assess their assets. You assess, “What kind of names do I have available to me?” It could be an email list, a Facebook profile, a LinkedIn profile, or whatever you have as an audience. It might be some media that you’ve worked on, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. You’ve done some stuff on Google AdWords and you’ve tested a little bit.

You need to know where your audience is. You need to explore them and go on Facebook forums and Google groups. Be a bystander and a fly on the wall. See what your audience is talking about, the language that they’re using, and what they need and want. Before you put pen to paper for a sales letter or develop your product completely, find out where your audience is.

Dan Kennedy talks about something. He talks about marketing by walking around. You’ve got to walk around. It can’t be physically walking. If your audience is Walmart shoppers, go to Walmart and observe them. You have to observe them in a variety of places. You might want to go to Amazon and take a look at the books that you think your audience is buying. Go to those sites and see the 5 or 1-star reviews and look at what they’re saying about the topic that you’re thinking about marketing.

What I’m saying is you’ve got to do a lot of research. It doesn’t just, “I have an idea. I’m going to test it on Facebook.” You can do it that way, but it’s not going to stand the test of time. The reason it’s the test of time is that you research your market a mile deep as opposed to a mile wide then you go at it in terms of your offer. You’re creative once you’ve determined where your audience is, what they want, and where they hang out. That’s a big thing. Once you find that out, you can find out anything about your market.

Understanding the three legs of marketing and how they interact, get the list and your offer dialed in. If you’re not going to write the copy yourself, hire somebody who can do it. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a product or service that’s in your sweet spot like Will Hamilton, who has a site called Fuzzy Yellow Balls. It’s teaching tennis instruction online. Will Hamilton doesn’t need a copywriter because he is a tennis enthusiast. He knows his market. Once he finds his list and develops his list, then he gets an offer like he develops an offer for a course or something, and the copy itself, he can write it because he might be his best own copywriter.

Most people can’t say that. Even if they know the market, Will check it out. He checks out some skilled copywriters to copy chief him and look at his copy. Even someone who knows the market and how to write for it needs some guidance and some coaching. Coaching in the copywriting world is paramount. Understanding how those three things work, which are list, offer, and creative, you could do all three, but you have to do them in order is one of the key things.

One of the other key things is that an entrepreneur sitting under $100,000 figuring out what to do, understand the concept of RFM. RFM is not a rule of thumb in direct marketing, but it’s a way people behave in the marketplace. Knowing what RFM is can give you a step up on a lot of other people who are floundering with how to a product to market. RFM is Recency Frequency and Monetary value. What it says is that someone who responds more recently is worth more than someone who doesn’t respond more recently. Someone who responds more frequently is worth more than someone who responds less frequently. Someone who spends more money is worth more than someone who spends less money. It’s putting those three things together.

I did it with a statistician, a PhD in Statistics, doing it in a Boardroom. We had a nine million name database that we had to do RFM across that. If you have 100 names and you have some people who bought from you, you can do this. Even if you don’t have any buyers, you have people who responded to you, then their recency could be their engagement with you. Their frequency is how often they do it. If they spend money with you, how much have they spent with you?

FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark
Six-Figure Mark: Even if you don’t have buyers but have people who frequently respond to you, their engagement alone will earn you a profit.


It’s in my book. I talk about RFM. I didn’t invent it, but a lot of people say the way I’ve described it in Overdeliver gave them a good understanding of it. I’m proud of the way that I’ve done it in my book. Basically, if I had to choose two things, it’s to understand the three pillars and RFM. You’re on your way with some additional coaching to start researching your market and assessing what you have already. It’s not just the list you have. You might have a product. You might be able to get access to a product that you love that hasn’t been sold very well.

You could white label it, take it and make it your product for a fee. You pay a commission on it. You don’t have to make everything you do. You can buy it and then do it that way. Whatever it is you need to look at what you can get and what you have content. If you’ve developed any kind of content, you blog, you have books, any kind of pamphlets, or white papers in your field, that’s an asset. You need to use it to your advantage. You give it away for free online to get people’s names, and then you develop your list.

FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark
Six-Figure Mark: If you have any kind of content, consider them as assets. Use them to your advantage by giving them away for free to develop your audience list.


Developing your own list takes a while and it doesn’t happen by magic. I didn’t have a list when I left Boardroom and I started doing some podcasts like this. I got people, 5 and 6 at a time to come on my list then every once in a while I get a bunch of people to get on my list. I don’t want to scrape people from Facebook and add them to my list. You want people who you want on your list who understand what you’re talking about. They understand who you are and you understand them.

My list for many years got to 15,000. It’s not huge and bot tiny but it’s big enough that I have a platform. When Hay House came to me, he said, “We want you to do your book with us.” They considered my platform big enough to give me an advance on my book. That was unexpected at that time. I realized that building your own platform is important and that you have to build a list no matter what you’re doing.

Let’s transition now to talking more about the book because Overdeliver is not just the title of the book. It’s your philosophy from everything I can see. I haven’t read the book yet, but I will tell you that the gifts that you give away when people buy the book to me are insane. For $29, I’m getting stuff that not only would I not normally have access to at all, but things that are very valuable by incredible people like Dan Kennedy and Jay Abraham, and all these other things that you’re doing. Tell us a little bit about the book. Why you wrote it, how it evolved for you, and then from there, give us an overview of the process of bringing a book to market and how you put all these bonuses together. People would be interested in reading that.

You as an author know that everybody has a different writing style and way of putting together books. There are a lot of different ways to do it. There’s no one way to do it. The first book The Advertising Solution was a gift almost. It was Craig Simpson who was researching six of the greats of advertising who were the precursors to direct marketing. David Ogilvy, John Caples, Robert Collier, Claude Hopkins, Gary Halbert, and Eugene Schwartz. He came to me with a rough manuscript of the book and said, “Will you do this book with me?” I said, “What do you mean? You’ve already written it.” He goes, “It needs some spruce up and your touch.”

This is where he got me. He said, “If you say no, I’m going to do it myself.” Flattery, it doesn’t work on everybody but it works on me. He said, “I’m only going to do this book with you or I’m doing it alone.” I said, “You’re doing it with me.” That was my first book. It wasn’t in my voice. It was in Craig’s voice. I didn’t want to change the voice of the book. Every time I took the voice-over in the book, it was clear that I was taking over the voice in the book. It was good though because it got me realizing that I’ve got a big book in me. Now, it was Overdeliver.

Overdeliver was a book that I basically had been blogging about for 3 or 4 years. I said, “One day, I’m going to take my blogs, stick them in a book between two covers and I’ll sell that.” I realized that was no way to think about a book. I learned a lot on these podcasts. I was on a podcast with a guy and I talked about, “I want to do this book. I’m thinking about putting my blogs together and putting them between two covers.” He said, “Don’t do that. Hire a developmental editor.” I didn’t even know what a developmental editor was.

It’s a type of editor that helps you work on what you have. It’s like assessing your assets, “This is your content. How do you going to put it in a unified whole?” She helped me so much. Her name was Laura Hanley. We worked on it. I printed out every one of my blogs for four years and I sorted them. That became the chapters. I added stuff because I thought I would do interstitials between the blogs and that would be enough. It wasn’t enough.

Having that kind of editor made a huge difference in putting the book together. I realized that the book came together in ten chapters that made sense. It was a chapter on the original source, which is important to me, “Where do babies come from? The fundamentals.” Everything in direct marketing and online marketing has its roots in traditional direct marketing. That’s another thing that spurred me on to do the book. I read somewhere that the 40/40/20 rule was changed by some online marketer to the 25/25/25/25 rule.

His thing was it’s 25% list, 25% offer, 25%, creative, and 25% technology. That made me throw up in my mouth because technology is not fundamental. It’s a way to adapt. It’s a technique. In one of my chapters on Multichannel Marketing, I quote Bill Bernbach, who was an original advertising guy in the ‘60s. He said, “Never adapt your idea to a technique. Adapt your technique to the idea.” It’s not like the technique is ruling the day that’s technology. That spurred me on to do the book. There were a lot of things coming together with the book. I was able to get all of my case histories from Boardroom and how they apply nowadays.

Technology is not fundamental. It is a technique and a way to adapt. Click To Tweet

It started with the first book with Craig, but I got into it in a big way with Overdeliver. I was approached by Hay House. If you told me many years ago that I would ever get in advance on a book that I wrote, I would’ve told you you were crazy and a nice advance. It showed me that I had built something that I didn’t even realize I had built. I had built a new business. My previous business at Boardroom was certainly one that I have to hang a lot on because that was where I got 34 years of direct marketing experience.

That’s 34 years of cumulative experience, not 1 year’s experience for 34 years. The cumulative experience of Boardroom plus what I did since then to develop my masterminds and the people that I was learning from on a regular basis in online marketing. I had a lot to offer that I didn’t even realize. I’m sure you found that with your books. You don’t realize what you know until you put it on paper. Also, everybody has a story to tell.

That’s also the best way to learn something. In fact, if you think you know something, write a book or teach it and watch what happens. It has changed my life in many ways. We’re talking about the book called Overdeliver. Readers, if you’d like to, you can go to and I’m going to warn you in advance. You’ll probably get a little bit blown away by this list of courses, programs, and downloads. This is insane. You shouldn’t be given this away. Stop that. Don’t give this stuff away.

You go to that site and there’s a button to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The procedure is Step 1) Go to the site, then you have to go to Amazon to buy the book, then you got to come back. If you go to Amazon directly, you don’t get the bonuses. A lot of people go to Amazon and then they come back to me and they say, “I bought the book. Can I have the bonuses?” I give them to them.

In the book itself, the Overdeliver book site is there. They can go in as a buyer and get the bonuses as well. It’s a way to get them into my online family too. That’s the key. You’re always building your list. As a list guy, I have trouble calling my list a list. I always call it my online family even when I’m addressing this. It’s not lip service. I know Dan Kennedy has this thing about your herd and your herd is following you.

FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark

I think that it makes the people that you’re talking to and teaching impersonal. The word the list does too. Anything I can do to bring people into my world if they want to be there, and if they buy the book, they’ll want to be there because the book is my writing. All they’re going to do is get more of my writing. Even when they’re on my list and they’re part of my online family, I don’t do affiliate deals, for example.

I sell stuff that is of value in direct marketing education. I don’t take affiliate commissions. For someone to sell something to my online family, they have to agree to not pay me, but to give my audience a discount of 50%, which would’ve been my affiliate commission. It’s my way of adding to the education of them being in my online family. It made sense on to have all of these incredible bonuses from all of my mentors.

I was going to tell you a quick story because the book was launched on April 9, 2019. On April 10th, I had a near-fatal stroke. I’m not saying that for dramatic effect. It’s the truth. I almost died. I had podcasts and all kinds of stuff set up for April, May, June, and July through the summer, which had to be put on hold.

I wrote in my blog because I remembered that. You said at the beginning, I have a new book. It was very ironic that you said that because basically, I said in my blog that my book is on a perpetual launch. It came available on Amazon and bookstore on April 9, 2019, but it’s still available. It’s evergreen. I constantly refer to it in podcasts. I’ll probably do an update of it if I need to at some point. I know Jeff Walker did an update of his book launch and it’s selling well because it needed an update. Mine will need an update at some point.

This idea of a perpetual launch of your content is not just my book. It’s anybody’s content. You were talking that you’ve got all this stuff that you’ve assembled, reassembled, reused, repurposed, and made something different and new. That is an evolutionary way of dealing with your content and it’s assessing your assets in a new way every month, every year, or two years. This idea of a perpetual launch was something that I believe in. Having that site,, was almost more important than having the book. When I woke up for my stroke in the hospital, I certainly had to think about it because the doctor told me he thought I was going to die or I’d be paralyzed, which I wasn’t.

FTC Brian Kurtz | Six-Figure Mark
Six-Figure Mark: The evolutionary way of dealing with your content regularly is to assemble, reassemble, reuse, and repurpose it into something different and new.


He said, “You’re in a 5% category of people who had the type of stroke you had to come out of it pretty much whole.” I always tell my wife when I forget something or I spill something, I have brain damage. That helps me out of things that I screw up around the house. It was interesting because I thought about lying in the hospital bed like, “What would be my footprint?” Not legacy, because legacy to me says you’re already dead. What’s my footprint in the industry? It can be a living legacy while I’m still alive and then hopefully, will live on after me. It was more about what I’m going to do with my life.

I was already doing what I wanted with my life before my stroke. It wasn’t like a come to Jesus moment where I said, “Now I’m going to live,” because I was already living in the moment. What happened was I realized the importance of mentors. You and I are about the same age. We both have incredible mentors. We have some of the same mentors. We were saying that we’re both writing a blurb for a new book by a friend of ours. I realized I stand on the shoulders of giants and then I looked at my page. I see all those giants either writing a testimonial for my book, but more importantly, the actual giveaways are from Gary Bencivenga, Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Perry Marshall, Dick Benson, Gordon Grossman, Eugene Schwartz, and Joe Sugarman.

Joe passed already.

I wrote a tribute to him in my blog.

I had dinner with him in 2012. It was such a fun dinner. He kept asking me, “Am I going to buy the sunglasses or not?” It was incredible.

I put a link to the BluBlocker commercial in my blog of the one where he’s walking down Venice Beach. He got the best testimonials because he walked down Venice Beach. These people are saying that he has them put the glasses on. They put the glasses on and he’s filming them. He got these real testimonials. They weren’t making it up. Joe was a genius. All these mentors are on that page, then I realized, “That’s what it’s all about. My life is all about that.” It’s about my mentors, but it’s about remembering how what got you here. Remembrance is one of those things. I talk about this in other podcasts and on my blog, about the movie, Coco. It’s a Pixar movie. It’s Mexican. It talks about Dia de Muertos, which is the Day of the Dead.

Dia de Muertos is where, in Mexico, they spend 2 or 3 days honoring and celebrating the dead. They don’t mourn them. They celebrate them. They have parties and all of that. There’s death in Mexico and there’s final death. This is what Coco talks about. I have a poster of Coco. I’m a huge fan of the film. It’s a kids’ film, but it’s not a kids’ film. The idea that you’re not dead if you’re remembered is when you’re no longer remembered. That’s your final death.

I’ll think of an obscure one that no one is talking about like Al Azkhar. He was an all-time mail-order guy. I learned about him through Dan Kennedy and a few other people. You mention his name and now he lives. You have to keep mentioning him. Gordon Grossman and Dick Benson are two mentors in direct mail, both gone, but they wrote two of the best books on direct mail. I have full PDFs of their book on and then they’re not available anymore except on eBay or something so you can get the whole book.

I’m lying in my hospital bed and I said, “ is now my footprint.” If I want to add some bonuses to that page, I will of new mentors or something like that. It was very meaningful to have all those bonuses. Not just because I wanted to overdeliver on the bonuses, but over-delivery is a philosophy of giving 100 zero. You are not meeting people halfway, not always getting the upper hand and everything, giving, contributing with no expectation of return. I’ve got 40-plus years to prove it. What comes back is incredible without expecting a return. That’s what over-delivery means to me.

Some people say over-delivery is a dangerous concept because when you overdeliver all the time, then you have another offer to people or you want to do something else for them. Your new offer isn’t as good as the one you overdelivered on originally. They always think what are you doing for me lately and all of that? I’d rather err on that side than underdeliver. Hope that they still want to follow me, learn from me and I can learn from them. Overdeliver is a concept to live by.

Some people consider overdelivering a dangerous concept. People would assume you would always do something else for them, or that your new offer isn't as good as the one you first delivered. Click To Tweet

I also want to mention one of the resources that you alerted me to at the beginning which is something I’m very interested in. I like Perry Marshall. He was on my show. We had a fantastic conversation. The other thing is that you have this site called, where if somebody puts their name in, they’re going to get access to your interview with Perry.

It’s like an hour and a half, but it’s my three biggest successes in my career. The failures came after or during. One of them was probably a $300 million profit center over 4 years. We got on infomercials on TV. That alone is worth listening to. More importantly, on my site, there’s a lot of free content at The key is you have to opt in because I want you and my online family. The interview is a welcome mat.

You did a great job with this site. I love this site too. It’s remarkable. You are in every facet of everything I see always over-delivering and I love that. It’s been such a pleasure reconnecting with you again. Brian was probably one of my first 15 or 20 interviews that’s over 350 interviews ago.

The podcasts that have longevity are always the best ones.

I’m very comfortable doing this. I’m an extrovert, which means I’m energized by others like you. To me, this is a treat. Every time I get to break away from sitting around and writing copy or focusing on products, email books, or software, I get to talk to my buddies, my friends, all over the world, and interview them. That’s my joy. That’s what I call one of the greatest ways ever to have a wonderful life. It is to connect with others who you admire and appreciate. Y

I get diarrhea of the mouth when I start talking about direct marketing. If you give me one question, I go off. You have to do a lot. You steered me in a great direction. I appreciate your questions and your guidance. I’m a big fan of yours. I’ve seen what you’ve done over the years. You’ve pivoted in some neat ways too, and not just pivoting for pivoting sake. Everything is intentional and I appreciate that about you.

Thank you, Brian. I appreciate that too. It was great catching up again. Readers, you do need to go get the Overdeliver book at If you download the giveaways, it’s worth the price of admission. The book is a bonus. That’s the way I think about it.

The bonuses are worth thousands of dollars.

Go check out and listen to the Perry Marshall interview. That is incredibly valuable. If you don’t know Perry, he is one of the business thought leaders that I follow and I think you should too. To have Brian and Perry in the same room, I could even be quiet for a little while and experience that.

I was humbled. I did a video and it was Perry who initiated it. He called me and John Carlton, the all-time copywriter. He’s the marketing rebel and he’s known for ranting. Perry asked me and John to do a video on rants. I’m sitting there going, “I’m the nicest guy in direct marketing. I never rant.” By the end of that video, I realized we all rant in different styles. Perry’s got a guy to a perfect rant, like Nine Steps To A Perfect Rant. I looked at the steps and I said, “I do that in my own way.” John was all over it because he was always ranting.

It was one of the most insightful interviews I’ve ever done. It was with me, Perry and John Carlton. Sitting there on video with them is like sitting there on video with you. You’re looking at genius. You’re not trying to outdo the genius. You’re trying to add to the mix on screen. It’s so much fun. There’s nothing better than contributing and connecting.

Readers, go do that. You will love it. Brian, thank you much for your time. It’s valuable to listen to us old guys even if you’re in your 20s or 30s because 40 years does teach you a lot of lessons. Brian made a reference to me pivoting. Sometimes pivoting is not a choice. It’s something you have to do. I could tell you story after story about pivoting, but the most important thing is when you do a pivot and when you make that change, you learn a whole new part of your next life. That’s why I love doing it, but I love doing it the right way. It’s taken me a while to figure it out to do it.

Entrepreneurs don't have to learn how to pivot. It should be embedded in their very individuality. If you don't learn how to do it, you will have to work for somebody. Click To Tweet

It’s a lot of trial and error. The thing about pivoting, I wrote this during the pandemic and I said something like, “Entrepreneurs don’t have to learn how to pivot. Pivoting is embedded in being an entrepreneur. If you don’t learn how to do it, then you’re going to work for somebody else.”

Go digest everything that the two of us said and dig into all the content that we treated you to. I want to hear back from you. What did you like about this episode? What did Brian say that inspired you? Get back to me and let me know.

Thank you very much.


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