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Everybody knows that you can tame a wild horse and make the animal useful. But it is impossible to put life into a dead horse.

Horse

Mr. Caples was an iconic advertising figure from the 1920s (pre-Mad Men) who pioneered many direct marketing methods.  Today, the highest honor you can garner in Direct Marketing is called The Caples Award.

His book, Scientific Advertising is as relevant today as it was when he published it.  Why?  Because people are the same. 

That’s why a Bible story is just an interesting or enlightening as it was two thousand years ago.  Our surroundings are certainly different, but our human nature is the same.  Just as it will be two thousand years from now.

In Business:

Your business marketing should be “wild horse” ideas, tamed to suit your market. 

Obviously, if you’re a dentist or accountant or anyone in a professional services field, you can’t be too outlandish and still maintain your credibility.  You can start with a wild, outrageous marketing idea, though; then polish and refine it to compliment your professional image.

Examples of “dead horse” marketing include variations on:

“Service, selection and savings all under one roof.”

“Our people make the difference.”

“You’ve tried the rest, now try the best.”

“For all your [whatever] needs.”

You’re never going to breathe life into those.  Rope yourself a wild horse instead, and then tame it to suit your market.

In Life:

When designing your ideal lifestyle, start with the “wild horse” ideas, and then tame them to fit your own personal comfort level.

For instance, you might love to have a house at the beach, right on the ocean.  But you really don’t want the hassle of the constant repair and upkeep, plus the enormous expense of owning oceanfront property, and the worry that goes along with it.

You could tame that wild horse by renting an oceanfront house in the off-season.  Rates are much lower, beaches are way less crowded, and if Mother Nature decides to level the place, you just hand in the keys and walk away.

Let your wild horse ideas run free in your mind, then figure out how you can tame them into reality.

So remember…

Everybody knows that you can tame a wild horse and make the animal useful. But it is impossible to put life into a dead horse.

— John Caples

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