Direct marketing with Brian Kurtz

Table of Contents

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Direct Marketing: Brian Kurtz

In this podcast episode, renowned direct marketer Brian Kurtz discusses the importance of understanding and connecting with your audience in the B2B marketplace.

He emphasizes the role of intention, preparation, and research in successful marketing. Kurtz also highlights the significance of data in making informed decisions and the discipline he learned from direct mail. He shares his approach to email marketing, balancing valuable content and sales pitches.

Additionally, Kurtz discusses incorporating charity into his marketing strategy and the importance of emotional connection in marketing. He concludes by sharing a personal story about his near-fatal stroke and his efforts to honor his mentors through his book and website.

Understanding and Connecting with Your Audience (00:00:00)
Brian emphasizes the importance of knowing your audience deeply and connecting with them on a personal level in the B2B marketplace.

Brian Kurtz's Background and Experiences (00:00:30)
George introduces Brian Kurtz and shares three interesting facts about him, including his extensive experience in distributing promotional copy and his near-death experiences.

The Importance of Intention in Marketing (00:04:38)
Brian and George discuss the significance of intention in marketing and how it influences the preparation and execution of marketing strategies.

The importance of believing in your numbers (00:10:41)
Brian discusses the significance of trusting and understanding the numbers in direct marketing campaigns.

The value of original source knowledge (00:12:34)
Brian talks about the importance of understanding the origins and fundamentals of marketing to adapt and succeed in the present and future.

The discipline of direct mail and its application to email marketing (00:13:47)
Brian emphasizes the discipline and attention to detail required in direct mail marketing and how it can be applied to email marketing for better results and relationships with the audience.

The importance of delivering value in email marketing (00:20:49)
Brian discusses how he approaches email marketing, focusing on delivering value and content to his audience before selling.

Finding the right balance in email marketing (00:21:43)
George asks Brian about the right mix between valuable content and sales messages in email marketing and how to determine what works best for each individual.

Brian's approach to mixing content and sales in his emails (00:22:46)
Brian explains his method of using storytelling, teaching lessons, and providing valuable content in his emails, while also including subtle selling messages and hyperlinks to related products.

The Importance of Incorporating Charity (00:30:46)
Brian discusses the benefits of incorporating charity into marketing strategies and shares his personal experience with charity water.

Using Logic and Emotion in Marketing (00:32:54)
Brian talks about the balance between using logical and emotional appeals in marketing and gives an example of how he combined both to persuade a member to renew their membership.

Over Delivering and Bonus Offers (00:38:07)
Brian explains the concept of over delivering and promotes his book "Over Deliver," highlighting the additional bonuses and valuable content included with the purchase.

The stroke and reflection on legacy (00:40:58)
Brian discusses his near-fatal stroke, his time in the hospital, and his thoughts on the legacy he would have left behind.

The importance of the "Overdeliver Book" site (00:41:52)
Brian explains why the website for his book, "Overdeliver," is a more important footprint for him than the physical book itself.

Remembering mentors and standing the test of time (00:43:58)
Brian talks about how the "Overdeliver Book" site serves as a way to remember and honor his mentors and how it will stand the test of time.

Understanding Your Audience: A Conversation with Brian Kurtz

In a recent episode of "Your Intended Message," I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Kurtz, a renowned direct marketer with a wealth of experience and knowledge. Brian has distributed over 2 billion pieces of promotional copy throughout his career, both online and offline. He's also a little league world series umpire, a role that holds personal significance for him. But perhaps most importantly, Brian has a unique perspective on marketing that emphasizes the importance of understanding and connecting with your audience.

The Power of Intention in Marketing

During our conversation, Brian emphasized the importance of intention in marketing. He believes that intention is everything in marketing and that thorough research and preparation are crucial for success. This ties into the title of my podcast, "Your Intended Message," and underscores the importance of delivering a message that resonates with your audience.

The Role of the Audience and the List

Brian also highlighted the importance of the audience and the list in direct marketing. He quoted renowned copywriters who believe that the list is the most crucial aspect of direct marketing. Brian's strength lies in analyzing the audience and the list, weaving stories into sales messages, and understanding data to make informed decisions. He emphasized the importance of having a dashboard with numbers to assess the performance of his business.

The Discipline of Direct Mail

Brian shared the discipline he learned from direct mail, where every communication had to have a purpose and be somewhat selling something. He compared this to email marketing, where he still applies the same discipline and mentality. He cautioned against bombarding subscribers with repetitive messages and emphasized the need to provide value and build relationships with every email sent.

The Balance Between Content and Sales

Brian discussed his approach to email marketing and finding the right balance between providing valuable content and selling. He described himself as someone who had to make every sale count in his early career, but now enjoys the freedom to deliver value and content without always focusing on making every email count in terms of dollars. He uses the body of the email to tell a story, teach a lesson, or mention products that he owns the rights to. He may include hyperlinks to sales pages, but he separates the selling message from the rest of the email.

Incorporating Charity into Marketing

Brian shared how he incorporated charity into his marketing strategy. He didn't want to collect a commission for selling a friend's product, so he had 15-19 people buy it at $500 each. These people are now renewing their subscriptions at $1000 a year instead of $1500. Brian also encouraged his audience to donate to his charity of choice, Charity Water, and offered them a discount on their renewal or on any future purchases. He believes that incorporating charity not only works well as a marketing strategy but also feels good.

The Mix of Logic and Emotion in Marketing

Brian admitted that he's not a copywriter but he's good at tapping into people's emotions. He gave an example of how he convinced a member of his mastermind group to renew his membership by appealing to both logic and emotion. He emphasized the importance of understanding your audience and connecting with them on a deeper level. Brian refers to his email list as his "online family" and takes the time to engage with them personally, even though it may be time-consuming.

Leaving a Legacy

Brian shared a personal story about his near-fatal stroke and how it made him reflect on the legacy he would leave behind. He mentioned his book, "Overdeliver," and the website as his way of honoring his mentors and preserving their knowledge. Brian believes that the website will stand the test of time and serve as a lasting tribute.


My conversation with Brian Kurtz was filled with valuable insights and lessons. His emphasis on understanding your audience, providing value, and incorporating charity into marketing are all strategies that can help businesses succeed in the B2B marketplace. If you want to connect with Brian and access more valuable content, opt-in to his email list on and consider buying his book, "Overdeliver."

"I'm excited the way you prep for this and the way you interacted with me in advance was... I'm on probably 300 podcasts in my career or in the last five six years and so I judge the host by how much they prepare, how much they are into it and you go deep with your guests and you got to know from my perspective that means a lot and so I really appreciate you."