Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Selling starts with the FIRST thing consumers read in your ad or copy! Here’s why… [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

October 4, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

Return Driven Strategy (RDS).

This pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations that you can apply to your business strategy. Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo explained this in detail in the book, “Driven.”

Did you know you can also apply RDS to your own career strategy? Just apply the tenets and foundations to the microlevel and you have Career Driven Strategy (CDS).

Today, let’s focus on an important aspect of copywriting and how it falls under one tenet of RDS and CDS.

Keep reading to know this copywriting guru’s take on creating effective and compelling content.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy

Famous advertising revolutionary David Ogilvy once said:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as they read the body copy.”

What Ogilvy implied here is once you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 80 cents out of your dollar.

… and unless your headline sells your product, you’ve wasted a HUGE percentage of your advertising budget.

This principle not only applies to print advertising, which was the most common way to promote goods or services during Ogilvy’s time. Nowadays, this concept also holds true for pay-per-click (PPC) ads, landing pages, product pages, pricing pages, and more.

Why You Should Spend 90% of Your Copywriting Time on the Headline

Joanna Wiebe, one of the copywriting gurus we follow, also agrees with Ogilvy’s statement. She says the headline is the most important copy on your page, and as the first message your target market will see, it should effectively do ONE task: To stop readers on their tracks.

Allow us to repeat that:

A headline’s job is to stop readers on their tracks.

Wiebe says your headline can make the difference between a person reading your entire ad and a person bouncing from or ignoring your ad. If your title or header is good enough to keep readers interested, it will also help set the tone for your brand, the credibility of your content, and the rest of customers’ experiences while going through your copy.

Besides, your headline will impact whether or not people will read the next line of your copy or act on your call-to-action (CTA).

That’s why your title or header has to do a TON of heavy lifting. It must:

  • Match readers’ expectations.
  • Intrigue readers enough for them to keep reading your entire ad or copy.
  • Communicate your brand’s message clearly.
  • Get to a reader’s point of view.
  • Highlight a benefit.

How can you make sure your headlines work effectively?

This is where Return Driven Strategy (RDS) and Career Driven Strategy (CDS) come in handy…

Writing Compelling Headlines and Communicating Holistically

RDS and CDS’ Tenet 11 talks about holistic communication. According to Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo, high-performance firms understand the integral role of communications throughout an entire business.

So, as a business owner, leader, marketer, or copywriter, how can you communicate holistically through your headlines?

  1. Follow the 4 U’s! 

Your subject lines, captions, or tweets must be: 

  • Useful – Provide information that would be useful or helpful in solving your readers’ problems. 
  • Unique – Communicate the idea that your offering is unique, or present information uniquely. 
  • Urgent – Provide a sense of urgency. Tell your readers how your offering can solve their problems quickly. 
  • Ultra-specific – Be extra specific with all the points above. 

Applying this formula will enable you to create headlines that engage your target market. 

  1. Turn features into benefits. 

The headline is an important tool that helps readers identify that your brand’s product or service is what they’re looking for. 

If they see the value of the offering you’re promoting through the subjects or captions, they will be compelled to open or click your article and read the whole content. 


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By following this tip, you’ll have more chances to get more consumers to know about your brand’s offerings! 

  1. Keep your headlines simple and on point. 

Remember: Just because a headline is lengthy, that doesn’t mean it’s substantial. In fact, long headlines often complicate the message and confuse readers! 

That’s why you have to make it a habit to get straight to the point when writing subject lines, headers, captions, etc. 

Answer the what’s-in-it-for-me question, with “me” being your target market. This will help you get a better idea on how to make your headlines as crisp, concise, interesting, and on point as possible. 

When targeting customers, Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo say the purpose of communication becomes more effective when the focus is on a desired action—to get people to buy a product or service, subscribe to a newsletter, attend an event, visit a page, etc.

That’s why it’s important that at the first point of contact with customers and prospects, you’re already impacting thoughts. Having engaging headlines will help you capture readers’ attention, connect with them, and compel them to continue reading your entire ad or copy.

We hope you learned a lot from today’s topic!

Keep in mind that a holistic communication strategy does wonders for your career and your brand. So, always ensure both your written and spoken communications succeed not only in exchanging information but also in positively impacting your target market’s hearts, minds, and lives.

Stay tuned for more “Return Driven Strategy” articles in the coming weeks!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.”

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy—frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals.

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society.

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy.

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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