The killer and the poet

‘Most good copywriters . . . fall into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.

David Ogilvy

The challenge, however, is that a copywriter/marketer who’s both a killer and a poet is a rare combination. Most lean towards either being a killer or a poet, seldom both. And here’s why I think that’s a bad idea:

  1. Killers tend to overly focus on the concrete stuff — sales, metrics, marketing strategy, branding and so forth. The think creativity and talent are overrated, and the results (sales) are what matters the most.
  2. Poets obsess over the art and craft of their copy or whatever they are creating/producing. They would get into the nitty-gritty of language, type, style, formulas, templates, word-count, and everything else that takes time, effort, and a lot of brainpower to process.

As a writer, there was a time when I couldn’t help but get into the “poetic” mode. It took the “killer” within me to tone things done and keep things under control. Else, I still wouldn’t have gotten past 12 posts on this blog!

Aiming for balance, as with all great things in life, is not just a terrific but a great idea!

Listen, obsessing over metrics is just as bad as wasting time on analysing the language, tone, and how creatively a copy is written. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how the copy educates, entertains, and sells your product or service? If not, it doesn’t matter if you’re a killer or a poet.

Get them working together and see the magic happen.

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