Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Treat your customers as your WIFE. Find out how this principle influenced the work of this advertising executive! [Monday: Marketing Marvels]

April 11, 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:

Hi, everyone! How was your weekend? 

We hope you had a great time bonding and relaxing with your family and friends. 

Let’s welcome another work week with motivation from today’s “Marketing Marvel.” Every Monday, we feature these kinds of people and discuss their outstanding work, insights, and experiences. 

In this article, we’ll talk about one of the legendary marketers of all time. His successful advertising campaigns show industry professionals how to effectively persuade and influence prospects while creating memorable, evergreen content. 

Know more about today’s Marvel by reading the article below. We hope this person’s contributions will inspire you as you brainstorm various strategies to market your brand. 

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

Marketing Marvels 

“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” 
– David Ogilvy, founder of the Ogilvy & Mather advertising company

As an advertising executive and copywriter, Ogilvy (June 23, 1911 – July 21, 1999) was known for creating some of the world’s most successful and iconic marketing campaigns. He created these ads for large corporations like: 

  • Hathaway Shirts
  • Sears
  • Rolls Royce
  • Schweppes
  • Dove

He was also a pioneer of the information-rich, “soft sell” ads that piqued the curiosity and interest of his prospects. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that in 1962, Time Magazine acknowledged Ogilvy as “The most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry”? 

Some industry professionals even believe that he was the inspiration for the character of Don Draper, the main protagonist in the hit TV series, Mad Men.” 

Before we further proceed with this marketer’s contributions in the industry, let’s first take a quick look at his humble beginnings… 

Photo from Inc.com

Ogilvy was born on June 23, 1911 in West Horsley, Surrey in England. His mother was a daughter of a civil servant from Ireland and his father was a stockbroker. 

As a child, Ogilvy went to St. Cyprian’s School on reduced fees because his father’s business was badly hit by the Depression during the middle of the 1920s. At age 13, he received a scholarship to Fettes College in Edinburgh. 

By 1929, Ogilvy received a scholarship to Christ Church in Oxford. However, he didn’t graduate because he left Oxford for Paris in 1931 and became an apprentice chef at the Hotel Majestic, a historic luxury hotel in France. 

A year after, he returned to England and sold AGA cooking stoves from door to door. He became such a successful salesman, and this got the attention of his employer who then asked him to write an instructional manual for other AGA salesmen. 

This was Ogilvy’s first exposure to the world of sales and copywriting… 

30 years later, editors from the Fortune Magazine read Ogilvy’s written manual. They were amazed at how well-done the piece was and called it “the finest sales instruction manual ever written.” 

Good job, Ogilvy! 

His older brother, Francis Ogilvy, also read the manual. Seeing that it was actually well-made, his brother showed it to the management team at London advertising agency Mather & Crowther—the place where Francis was working. 

The managers at the firm saw David Ogilvy’s potential and offered him a position as account executive. 

The Birth of a Legendary Ad Agency 

After gaining a few years of experience and expertise as account executive, Ogilvy established his own agency with the backing of Mather & Crowther. He named it Ogilvy & Mather

Photo from Adweek

The new agency was founded on Ogilvy’s principles—particularly, that the function of advertising is to sell and that successful advertising is based on information about consumers. He also believed that customers should be treated as intelligent people. 

This was where he coined the phrase, 

“The customer is not a moron, she’s your wife.” 

What Ogilvy meant by this was marketers shouldn’t treat customers as ignorant people who cannot identify whether a marketing message is realistic or not. 

For example: He said it’s inappropriate to advertise a shampoo brand by saying it can help grow a person’s hair in just a week. Why? 

Aside from the fact that the hair grows only ½ inch per month on average, he stated there weren’t any shampoo brands yet that were able to deliver on that promise. 

For Ogilvy, advertising in that format without actually delivering real and good results will only disappoint customers… and when they’re disappointed, they will likely lose trust in a particular brand—similar to trust that’s given by a wife to her husband.

So… having worked his way from being a chef, to copywriter, to an advertising executive, and to a business owner, what are some of Ogilvy’s “Advertising Commandments” that you can apply in your own career? 

  1. Do your homework. Study your target market in detail. 

Ogilvy said that doing your homework is the most tedious part of marketing… but it’s mandatory and you have to do it. Why? 

If you don’t know who you’re selling your products or services to, you’ll end up faking your advertisements and creating more problems than you can imagine. 

According to Ogilvy, you’ll never come up with an effective ad if you ignore or don’t know these details: 

  • Who you’re marketing to
  • How your target market thinks
  • What your target market needs

On the contrary, if you know who your customers are, what they want and need, and how they think, you’ll have a communication strategy that will compel them to choose your brand. 

  1. Talk to consumers in the language they use every day. 

Talk to your customers in the same way you would talk to a friend. Then, when you write for them, take note of Ogilvy’s advice: 

“Don’t address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.” 

Simply said, address your target market as “YOU.” This will help you connect with them even if you’re only reaching out to them through an ad or copy. 

  1. Write great headlines and you’ll successfully invest 80% of your marketing efforts. 

According to Ogilvy, you must always think that your customers can’t afford to waste time reading complicated copies or headlines. They only need the right amount of headline information that compels them to linger on your ad or article a little longer. 

However, writing catchy and effective headlines is not as easy as it sounds. 

If you want these copies to be read, understood, and compelling enough for consumers to read the rest of the article, you have to master your target market’s language and know everything you can about what you’re selling. 

Another thing that Ogilvy said about writing headlines? 

“Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… people read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.” 

That’s it—Ogilvy’s “Advertising Commandments” that you should take note of! 

Who would’ve thought that a middle-aged man starting an advertising career with no advertising background or college degree would later establish a multinational ad agency that still creates timeless marketing campaigns to this day? 

Ogilvy’s story shows that with passion, dedication, creativity, and willingness to work, you’ll achieve your goals and make waves in your field of expertise. 

… and for that, we thank Ogilvy for serving as one of our role models in the business and marketing industries. 


We hope you gained a lot of interesting tips and insights from today’s “Marvel!” 

Remember: Treat consumers as your “wife” and your marketing strategies and efforts will effectively “sell what you create!” 

(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
“Monday Marketing Marvels”

Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some brand or company’s marketing strategy. 

… only for the audience to later find out that its product was a flop, or worse, that the brand or company went bankrupt.

The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole. 

What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?

At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the roles of marketing and communication are always paramount to that success. 

Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies, marketers, and communicators. 

However, the difference between our articles and the numerous ones out there is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group) in keeping with a person’s leadership skills in the area of marketing and/or communication.

We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.

Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful. 

Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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