7 Marketing Insights I Learned From The Great Joseph Sugarman

7 Marketing Insights I Learned From The Great Joseph Sugarman by Charles Sledge

If you’ve never heard of Joseph Sugarman and you own or operate a business you are doing yourself a disservice. Joseph Sugarman is one of the copywriting greats and is perhaps most famously known for the Blu Blocker sunglasses which he sold millions of. Sugarman has written great books such as Triggers and The Adweek Copywriting Handbook both of which I highly recommend you pick up at some point. While I have never met Joseph Sugarman I have studied him and learned a ton.

Here in this article I am going to lay out seven marketing insights that I have gleaned from his books and lectures. Joseph Sugarman has sold millions of dollars worth of products and made many men and women rich. If you are a copywriter, business owner, or just someone who wants to make money (and that should be all of us) then you are going to want to listen up. After reading the lessons in this article I would encourage you to further your study into the works of Joseph Sugarman and his marketing prowess.

Insight #1 – Concept Over Product

I’ve learned from Joseph Sugarman that when you are selling a product to the masses it is the “idea” or concept behind that product that matters the most in the long run. Let me explain what that means. It means that people don’t care much about widget X rather they care more about what widget X is going to do for them. In a personal example no one cares that I wrote The Primer what it is people care about is The Primer can turn them into the man all women want and all men respect.

The Primer is the product and turning you into the man all women want and all men respect is the concept. The concept is way more important than the product. This works with other things as well. Marlboro is a famous example. It’s not just another cigarette but a cigarette that turns you into a manly John Wayne esque cowboy when you smoke them. Concept over product. Marlboro really isn’t that much different from other cigarettes yet it carries a completely different connotation.

Insight #2 – Curiosity To Sell Books

When it comes to selling books Joseph Sugarman found out that the best thing to do is pique people’s curiosity. Curiosity is the key to selling books. That is why books with “The Secrets of X” do so well because people are intrigued by the knowledge that is contained inside the book and what it will do for them. For example in the sales letter for Become A King the headline reads “The Secrets of Ultimate Power Unlocked” because Become A King is all about becoming powerful and contains the knowledge to do so within. If you’re selling a book be sure to use curiosity to do so.

Insight #3 – Cure Not Prevention

You’ve probably heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” this is very true however most people don’t follow it and don’t want to. People are lazy, they don’t want to have to work to fix something much less prevent it. They just want some pill so that when the time does come they need it they can just pop it and go on their way. People want to eat fast food all day and then just take a pill when their hearts are about to explode instead of taking the time and effort to prevent their hearts exploding in the first place.

There is way more money is selling cures than prevention. Pepto-Bismal will always outsell gym memberships and healthy food. Pace makers will outsell running programs and so on and so forth. People will pay big bucks for the crab grass removal but never invest in crab grass prevention. You get the point. While practicing prevention in our own lives is a must understand that the market is looking for cures.

Insight #4 – Tell A Story

Humans learn best through story telling. That is why my book Mind Is The Master which teaches you how to maximize your most powerful asset to create the life that you want and even shape reality to your will teaches many of its concepts through stories. Think back to stories you heard as kids that were designed to teach you lesson compared with the lectures that you heard in school. It’s a good bet that you remember the lessons from the stories yet can probably recall less than a few lectures.

And the stories were told years before you heard your first lecture yet you remember them so much better. Long standing books designed to teach also have taught through stories which is why they have been around so long. Think the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, or The Grimm Fairy Tales. The youngest is hundreds of years old yet still teaching its wisdom to us today. Whenever you want to get a point across (including in a sales letter) then tell it through a story, a narrative that the reader can identify with.

Insight #5 – Guarantee

If you sell a service or product you absolutely must include a guarantee. I know in my marketing consulting practice many businesses are scared of guarantees worried that they’ll lose money or that people will take advantage of them. In my and also Joseph Sugarman’s much more extensive experience this has never been the case and including a guarantee has always resulted in increased revenue. Dan Kennedy who has worked with thousands upon thousands of businesses has also found this to be true as well. Guarantees increase sales period.

Joseph Sugarman states that you want a guarantee so great that people can take advantage of you. This always results in a net profit. Most people are just too busy to return something even if they want to. Only a few will go through but most importantly many many more who wouldn’t have purchased in the first place will absolutely purchase now. So for every returned order you can have as many as twenty new orders that you wouldn’t have had before. Making for a net gain of nineteen orders. Quite a substantial net gain.

Insight #6 – Your USP

You have to develop a USP or “unique selling proposition” this is what makes you different from the rest of your competition. It has to be specific and contain a major benefit even a guarantee if you can. Dan Kennedy has talked about the famous Domino’s USP “Fresh hot pizza in 30 minutes or less or its free” contained is something specific (fresh hot pizza, 30 minutes), as well as a benefit (3o minutes or less or its free). Your USP is what differentiates you from every one else. So things like “We have great service” or “We try really hard” are going to fall flat on their face.

People seem to forget that the U in USP stands for unique. Joseph Sugarman recommends that you use “imagine” in your USP if you can’t get specific. Or if you can pull it off than you can do both. Branding (of which your USP plays a central roll) is all about differentiation. And good service, quality product, and that basics are not unique they are givens. It’d be like going to a restaurant with a USP being “We don’t use horse manure in our burgers” no shit you don’t use horse manure that’s a given. Well so is a quality product and good service. You need more than that now.

Insight #7 – Use Testimonials

Use every freaking testimonial that you can get. Testimonials are one of the greatest sales “technique” (can’t think of a better word) that there is. When someone else is vouching for your product or service it is one hundred times more powerful than you talking about it yourself. For example for the The Primer if I said “It’s the greatest book ever” you’d be like “Sure Sledge, whatever you say bub” because I’m the one who sells it and benefits from the sale of it. Now let’s change that a little bit.

Now let’s say I say “Listen to what noted blogger and red pill superstar Seth Rose of Masculine Books says in his great review of The Primer, he called it “a road map to a brighter future””. Or something that that extent. Now it’s a lot different. Or say I took a review from Become A King and said “Listen to what an amazing reader Spencer Bellamy has to say about Become A King “this book put the battery on my back… It definitely was a game changer for me.” now tell me you don’t want the same thing for your life?”. I think you get the point.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast marketing and copywriting knowledge of Joseph Sugarman. I would encourage you to pick up his books as well as attend any lectures you can (you can always find some on YouTube). He is one of the great business minds of our generation and worth learning from. I hope this article helped you and gave you some ideas you increase your own net worth.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.

-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge