Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

If You Build It, Will They Come?

May 9th, 2005 by Bob Bly

Laypeople who look down on marketing ? especially long-copy, hard-sell direct marketing like e-book microsites ? say, ?If your product was any good, you wouldn?t have to promote it with such hype.?

Doctors, attorneys, and other professionals have traditionally held that point of view, along with many others.

Nice to think so, but na?ve. Sad to say, it doesn?t work that way in the real world.

?The expression ?If you build it, they will come? is not true,? said Steve Murphy, CEO, Rodale Inc., in an interview with Fast Company (3/05).

?We had lots of great properties at Rodale, but not enough of them were known. We needed to expose them to the mass market.?

Does your product or service ?sell itself?? Or do even good products need great marketing?


This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, 2005 at 10:56 am and is filed under Direct Marketing, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

62 responses about “If You Build It, Will They Come?”

  1. Dale Hansman said:

    Bob, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for the long copy pitches we see from you, AWAI and many, many others. For me, some of them represent a free lesson in good copywriting. I put them into my swipe file.

    I am torn between the effectiveness of short and long copy, and I read other people’s opinions about them (Nick Usborne and Ken Evoy, in particular).

    But, I’m not torn about whether one should promote one’s product or service. Mr. Murphy from Rodale is right. There are just too many options for our customers today. If you’re not in front of them with an intelligent, compelling message — long or short — they won’t go looking for you. My $.02.

  2. Everett said:

    A good thing to mention might be Apple. Thinking back to the mid 90’s and prior, their print ads looked a bit like their website does now – very long-copyish. (For instance, look at their OS X page.) And they’re presently the apex of cool, hip, and so forth.

    But on the other hand, the long copy seems to be the antithesis to their ethos – beauty in simplicity.

    What does that say?

  3. Ray Edwards said:

    The difference between hype and information is, I think, completely in the eye of the beholder. Some people respond well to the style of someone like Ted Nicholas; others prefer the more subtle (but just as ingenious) Seth Godin. If you tink Seth’s books are anything but long-copy sales letters for his consulting and speaking gigs… read them again.

  4. Richard Leader said:

    One of the markets I sell into – the accountancy market – sees itself as very much ‘marketing averse’. What that means is they are averse to what they see as marketing. However, they respond well to what they see as practical, useful and helpful information. And that’s what we use to market products.

  5. Henry Abbott said:

    There’s a generational thing going on. Seniors, I find, are impressed with the majesty of a well-made pitch. Teens, on the other hand, see directly behind the curtain of marketing, and would rather get that little Wizard of Oz out and see if he can dance.

    The rest of us are somewhere in between. And I’m sure long-form copywriting is still extremely effective for a lot of people. But I bet the trend is towards short and useful, instead of long and flowery. My top piece of evidence: consider the medium we are all using to communicate right now!

  6. PSloan said:

    Good marketing is a catalyst – it drives the offering to its true market position faster. This is particularly true when the market has not completely aligned its problem/need to the new solution.

    In rapdily changing, highly competitive markets with high barriers to switching, great marketing creates critical first mover advantage and reduces the probability of “false negative” market launches. In less competitive, slower moving markets, the advantage of good marketing is usually less obvious.

  7. Thomas said:

    Dear Bob,
    I’m writing from germany and may have an interesting point to make for you folks overeas. In the January issue of “Absatzwirtschaft”, a top-ranking german marketing magazine, the title story was about the ability of the germans to innovate — and about their inability when it comes to marketing their innovations (wich they leave to the americans, very often. Example: The Apple iPod).
    In today’s crowded marketplace, you clearly cannot hope to market your product successfully without “marketing”, even if it’s an innovative product.
    Rosser Reeves told us decades ago, that the world won’t automatically beat a path to the man with the better mousetrap, if the world doesnÄt know this better mousetrap first. So that’s the job of marketing, wheter it be ads, mailings, PR, blogging or other tactics: to tell inform people about new products — and make them want them.
    For me it is crystal clear that even a good product needs good marketing. (And you can’t save a bad one with any amount of marketing effort, BTW).

    Kind regards,

  8. GramBorder said:


    I want to all of you know, World is mine, and yoursite good


  9. toyota of morristown said:

    toyota of morristown

    ha-rd-po-rn-fu-ck 2795002 Search results for ‘toyota of morristown’.

  10. OnlineDrugstore said:

    Online Drugstore Online Drugstore

  11. asian erotic mature said:

    asian erotic mature

    ka-ka-sh-ka 2795002 Advantages of asian erotic mature.

  12. Andrew Hopkins said:

    I can do a blog on your website? how much it will cost?

  13. RMils said:

    How add your blog to google database?

  14. ProCopywritingTactics said:

    Well, I think you know the answer to that one Bob. If you don’t tell the world how great your product is, how will they know?

    Yeah, word of mouth comes into play later, but you gotta toot your own horn first….and then add all the happy customers comments as testimonials later… -:)

  15. joomla said:


    […]If You Build It, Will They Come? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  16. APT Marketing said:

    If you plan your build with APT. Your dream home will definitely come to fruition. Check out our latest projects.

  17. maxine said:

    this is indeed great post. All the target employees can check their work schedule at target ehr login portal

  18. susan mayer said:

    I would recommend my profile is important to me, I invite you to discuss this topic. Looking for some inspiration for your next trip? Find great vacation ideas and inspiration from Things to do with your source for the web’s best reviews and travel …

  19. liteblue said:

    Nice Article to see here a good one lite blue

  20. sites like ometv said:

    sites like ometv

  21. terry nuzzi said:

    nice post…..btinternet login email

  22. terry nuzzi said:

    nice post….. Account

  23. terry nuzzi said:

    nice post…..fildo mp3 music

  24. terry nuzzi said:

    nice post…

  25. Liam said:

    Agree 100%, you need to market it, if you look down on that your competitors are going to take advantage of it.

  26. Arthur Rodriguezs said:

  27. wolokirsds said:

    The bout is a warm up for The Heaviest Boxing Fight Of All Time, where Bjornsson will be facing fellow strongman Eddie Ward vs Bjornsson live Hall. Known as The Quiet Man, Ward will be giving up a hefty size advantage to Bjornsson old will be towered over by the Icelander, and it is likely to be a large weight difference too. Ward is a former WBO European light heavyweight champion, and most recently fought at cruiserweight.

  28. lorocesd said:

    UFC 257 is set to take place at the Yas Islands in Abu Dhabi on January 23 and the PPV Poirier McGregor 2 online tv marks the return of the most popular fighter in the promotion’s history, Conor McGregor.

  29. sdsdssdsds said:

    Logan Paul recently took to social media and trolled Floyd Mayweather, who he’s scheduled to face in a special exhibition fight on February 20, 2020. The YouTuber, who’s more than 6 feet tall, took aim at Mayweather’s 5ft 8in frame in a doctored picture. In the now-viral pic, Logan Paul can be seen looking down on the boxing mayweather fight live legend, as he captioned the post 50 and oh my god he’s small. It will take place on Saturday, 20th February 2021.

  30. ???? ??? ???? ??????? said:

    Thanks for sharing this nice post!!

  31. lagsdsds said:

    If you’re a sports fan, you won’t want to miss the stunning Fury vs Joshua tickets rematch between Anthony Joshua versus Tyson Fury on Saturday night. Anyone can it live, thanks to the Office website.

  32. kihosds said:

    Now, the New Zealander is fit again and has won his last Chisora v Parker Fight for free four bouts. Chisora, meanwhile, lost to Oleksandr Usyk last October and will want to hit back.

  33. jacob said:

  34. Max said:

  35. sam miller said:

  36. Corwin said:

    Pugs for sale,pugs for sale near me,cheap pugs for sale,pug puppies for sale,pug puppies for sale near me,teacup pug,pug for sale,teacup pugs for sale,teacup pugs,teacup pug puppies for sale, teacup pug for sale near me,pug puppy for sale illinois,pug puppy for sale in pa,pug puppy for sale texas,pug puppy for sale az,pug puppy for sale arkansas,pug puppy for sale atlanta,pug puppy for sale adelaide,pug puppy for sale australia,pug puppies for sale alberta,pug puppies for sale austin texas,

  37. roaresds said:

    All Blacks second Test against the Flying Fijians at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton, All Blacks v Tonga live and Tonga playing Samoa in a RWC 2023 Qualifying match prior.

  38. jahosdsd said:

    we’re just staying focussed, no time has been missed in our training Czar Amonsot camp, and we’re just staying to the grind and staying on course. We’re focussing on five weeks now come Wednesday.

  39. robert said:

  40. Punjab Singh said:

    Thank you for the information. For any additional information about India we would recommend visiting the website. You will be getting all the information you required to travel to india. As it is a Govt. certified website for information.

  41. john said:

    Thank you for the information. For any additional information about India we would recommend visiting the website You will be getting all the information you required to travel to india. As it is a Govt. certified website for information.

  42. to said:

  43. tasesds said:

    The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama in the What channel is Alabama game on today? sport of American football.

  44. Borjan Shoes said:

    Borjan offers its customers the best Sports shoes for girls in Pakistan. We have the highest quality ladies Sport shoes for the most affordable prices. So, get Borjans amazing collection of Sports shoes for girls online. Get the best girls Sports shoes from Borjan to keep yourself in both style and comfort at the same time.

  45. gijoxasdsds said:

    Hong Kong, which played had a significant influence in the worldwide advancement of the Sevens game, facilitated the New Zealand sevens world cup live occasion. The last was won by Fiji over South Africa. The competition was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The occasion got back to Hong Kong.

  46. PSW said:

    PSW is a Cleaning, Restoration and Maintenance Say goodbye to all the dirt, grime and debris and say hello to new and sparkling exteriors of residential and commercial property.

  47. Kishore Kumar said:

    Ijazat Hai Lyrics by Raj Barman is new released Punjabi song in his voice, Sachin Gupta has made its tune. Ijazat Hai song lyrics are written by Kumaar. Its music video is released by Zee Music Company.

  48. Odisha Shayari said:

    Ramayana Story in Hindi

  49. ShopECS said:

    Visit ECS for spring casual shoes online in Pakistan. ECS offers premium quality products for casual shoes collection.

  50. TheCareer-Coach said:

    Interview Preparation If you’ve already managed to polish off your CV to stand out – congratulations! If you haven’t, check out our Jobseeker Plan here to check out our all-inclusive plan for those looking for their first job or their next job!

  51. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure is known in the nation as Pakistan top shoe brands online, offering quality apparel and footwear.

  52. Alexpeter said:

    The Career Coach is Europe’s top career coaching consultancy – and has helped more than 10,000 people land their dream jobs, all in less than 40 days.

  53. Shanewotson said:

    PSW is an Asphalt Contractors Houston that uses extreme crack repair fillers for structure resurfacing to prevent the unwanted penetration of water and moisture and weed growth.

  54. Shanewotson said:

    Thermoplastic Striping Houston helps manage the space properly and directs the inflow and outflow of the traffic.

  55. Rios Cosmetics said:

    Rios is a multi-brand store providing amazing Face Powder and glamorous face powder. The store aims to provide satisfaction through high quality products like Face Powder. Grab their face powder online, it is perfect and just what you need Rios fulfills your every demand.

  56. Sifa pk said:

    Buy the latest Lawn suits for women online in all over Pakistan from Sifa online store. Select your favorite new lawn collection dress today.

  57. bertgil said:

    Best Shisha in Dublin offers you a wide range of shisha with flavourful drinks to go with it. Bring in your friends and family and enjoy the secluded atmosphere we offer you. We are offering amazing deals on drinks and shisha combos throughout the week.

  58. carls12 said:

    java software architect design experience around Security, Data, Cloud, Service and Solution. You will be seeing designs through from start to finish incorporating everything from technology to solution, assurance, governance, and security.

  59. Emma Harriet said:

    La distinción entre exageración y récords está, creo, absolutamente en la Tucuman escorts atención del espectador.

  60. joy12 said:

    Our seal coating companies are the primary deterrent to asphalt deterioration; skipping these treatments might have serious consequences. Over time, the surface will gray and cracks will appear. Not only are these fractures vulnerable to water and chemical intrusion, but the asphalt itself becomes permeable. When you complete a seal coating job, you eliminate these problems while also restoring the pavement to its original black color.

  61. Mike Rooney said:

    I found this post very exciting. I am also sending it to my friends to enjoy this blog. Chicago Cubs Bomber Jacket

  62. Babbu Singh said:

    Tenu Takeya lyrics by Pav Dharia & Khan Saab is the latest brand new Punjabi song. with music also given by Pav Dharia. while Tenu Takeya song lyrics are written by Vicky Sandhu and featuring by Pav Dharia & Ebrar.

Leave a Reply