Reading Overdeliver, I think I grew up a little.
Billed as a direct response marketing book, this is actually an operation manual for life, relationships, and business.
It pushes the cobwebs out of the dusty corners of your thinking, and asks you to rethink everything you do — especially your motivations and outcomes.
After reading the book, I’m impressed at how accurate the title is: Build a Business for a Lifetime Playing the Long Game in Direct Response Marketing.
I had been putting off reading this book because I was afraid it would be another direct response manual pushing the idea of selling at all costs.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The title is 100% accurate. Kurtz spells out a plan for winning in the long-haul, not overnight, and to do so by doing things better, smarter, and more ethically.
That’s important to me.
When I first got into marketing, I felt like I was signing up for something that verged on manipulation. It was distasteful. But Kurtz gives us another way.
What I love is that the methods he used to build an empire line up perfectly with the way I prefer to do business.
His way is the way I’ve operated in every area of my life. How refreshing to find a guidebook for achieving my highest goals without having to change my personality or approach to life.
Overdeliver doesn’t try to persuade you to become a direct marketer or to start an information business. It’s an ode to Marty Edelston, Chairman of Boardroom Inc, who Kurtz worked with to drive three decades of exponential growth.
He tells the story of how they turned a daily unknown publishing company into an iconic brand. Between the lines, he tells you how to think, how to build a solid brand, and a bit about how to live a good life.
I’m so glad I read this amazing book. I only wish I’d done it sooner.
Here’s just some of what I’ve taken away from Overdeliver.
People are the Point of Business
Kurtz promises in Chapter 1 to teach you “how to sell aggressively without ever losing sight of the people you are selling to or compromising the respect and care they deserve.” He does indeed overdeliver.
He starts with this: To create a company that is truly transformational, the list (meaning real people) has to be an obsession.
Overdeliver is essentially about how to serve people. If you’re in business solely for profits, or even to create stuff you love, you’re probably doing it wrong. Business is about people.
Our mission, then, is to serve those people, to provide the solutions they ask for. Do that, and you’ll be rewarded with all the profits and growth you could hope for.
As commonsensical as this is, I was surprised at how remarkable it sounded. Because Kurtz doesn’t just talk about it. It’s clear he lives by these words.
I think, as professionals focused on strategies and tactics, we forget that, without customers, we have no business. But if there’s a golden thread throughout this book, it’s that people (your customers) are the point of everything you do.
“Ignoring your lists is like ignoring your family. It’s a prescription for disaster.”
Direct Marketing Is the Only Hack You Need
“Expecting an acceptable ROI must always be standard operating procedure. Just because a lot of stuff is cheap to do online doesn’t mean you should allow sloppy campaigns out the door or skimp on requiring tangible results.”
Quality Matters More Than You Think
“Every marketing message is a representation of you and your brand. Look after your marketing like you would your own child — it connects you to your customers, and that relationship must be protected at all costs.”
I’ve always tried to deliver value. I’ve always aimed to deliver the highest quality possible. But Kurtz inspired me to take it up a notch. To treat my marketing as I would my child…
Well, let’s just say that’s a whole lot of love.
Marketing Is Not Evil
“It is irresponsible to bring your product or service to the marketplace without the same passion with which you created it.”
If you’re committed to serving your audience, and if you’ve created the highest quality products possible, marketing isn’t rude or disruptive. In fact, “the more people you reach, the better.”
I love this. If you’re truly overdelivering on value, people appreciate being marketed to.
This impacts us on three levels:
- If we’re confident we’re offering our best to our clients (which we should be), we can afford to be more aggressive offering our products and services.
- We need to 100% believe in our clients’ or employers’ businesses and products. It’s far easier to write amazing copy and creating powerful funnels if we believe we’re helping people.
- We need to rethink the meaning of “value.” Clearly, we’re undershooting.
Instead, we need to overdeliver.
A Must Read for Every Business Owner or Marketer
These are just a few of my takeaways — I’m not sure there’s a single spread I didn’t mark up with underlines, stars, or comments.
Which is why Overdeliver is now one of my top recommendations for your Business & Growth reading list.
If you’re looking for a “this is how I do things” or “look at me, I’m a guru” book, Overdeliver is not for you. If you’re looking for a direct response playbook, look elsewhere.
But if what you want is a guide for leveling up your approach to marketing and business, this is a great place to start. Because Overdeliver will teach you how to think and how to succeed.
Each month, you’ll read and discuss a book that will help you uplevel your skills and thinking.