Eugene Schwartz was a marketer and copywriter. His sales copy and letters generated hundreds of millions in sales, and he made enough money to amass a renowned collection of modern art.
Schwartz didn’t leave behind much “how-to” knowledge, but he did explain why most products are doomed WAY before they’re introduced. I’ll get to that after I share a few details from Schwartz’s remarkable solopreneur life.
From Montana to Madison Avenue
Schwartz was born on March 28, 1927, in Butte, Montana and studied at the University of Washington. In 1949 he moved to New York City to work for the advertising firm of Huber Hoge & Sons as a messenger boy. He became a junior copywriter before the end of the year, a copy chief in 1951, and president of his own million-dollar mail-order firm in 1954.
He sold tens of millions worth of almost every conceivable product, both in his own firms and as a consultant. (Rodale Press once paid him a commission of $54,000 for four hours of work.) He also took newsletter publisher Martin Edelston from a net worth of $3,500 to being worth more than $50 million.
He and his wife Barbara assembled one of the most famous collections of contemporary art in the world, and when Schwartz died on September 6, 1995, his obituary in the New York Times was titled, “Eugene Schwartz, 68, Modern-Art Collector, Dies.”
His book, “Breakthrough Advertising,” is a classic.
‘The Demand Has to Exist’
In 1993, Schwartz gave a lecture to Philips Publishing, in which he laid out his eight rules of great marketing. Below he explains the fifth rule of great marketing: