An Interview With Ken McCarthy

Today’s podcast is a lesson in the history of marketing online. I believe there is great value in knowing the history of our industry.

Most of you in direct response internet marketing may not know we owe our careers to Ken McCarthy. Time Magazine credits Ken McCarthy with originating the idea of using click-through rates as the key metric of website performance. 

In the early 1990s, as the owner of a direct response company, Ken saw the potential of direct marketing on the internet even as software CEOs, internet enthusiasts, and advertising executives all failed to grasp the power of commercializing the internet.

In 1994, Ken organized and sponsored the first conference ever held on the commercial applications of the World Wide Web. Marc Andreessen, co-author of Mosaic and co-founder of Netscape was one of the twelve attendees of this world changing conference.

Ken’s early internet marketing experiments included email advertising, contributions to development of the banner ad, pay-per-click advertising and internet video.

Ken’s success was built on anticipating changes in the internet during the Golden Age of Innovation. A true visionary, he shares his fascinating insider's stories from the early years of the World Wide Web.

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Feature Presentation: “An Interview With Ken McCarthy”

Here are some snippets from our conversation:

  • 1994-2011 Systemseminar.com – How learning from cutting-edge direct response pioneers will benefit your business. 42:00
  • The internet turned content on its head – Understanding the difference between print and the internet and how it shaped the world. 43:00
  • An early discovery that still impacts direct response marketing today –  How Ken McCarthy realized the unexpected power in giving.  44:00
  • Give away foundational material for free – How pre-system lessons shaped our industry. 45:00
  • Split testing – Embracing this one practice changed an early web designer's approach. 46:20
  • So many System Seminar firsts – Why we owe homage to Ken (the first to use email for marketing, create sequential autoresponders, develop push-button audio, and integrate video advertising on the web). 48:00
  • Being cutting edge – How anticipating what was coming on the Internet was foundational to Ken's career. 51:00
  • “You can only work binge for so long.” – Understanding John Reed's insight and why systematizing your business is essential. 53:00
  • Apple almost closed its doors until Jobs proclaimed it, “The Education Computer” – How to follow Steve Jobs’ one simple action and revolutionize your business. 59:00
  • One foundational job of every entrepreneur – Why you can’t afford to miss this opportunity (it’s like pouring gas on a fire). 1:01
  • Ken McCarthy’s success principle – How new opportunities appear when you’re listening, looking, paying attention, talking, and reading. 1:04:25
  • Being prolific – Why doing lots of stuff leads to success (even though not much happens with 90-95% of what you produce). 1:01:45
  • The ONE thing writers must do every day – Embracing the Irving Berlin Principle will change your writing and transform your life. 1:02:09
  • Follow your passion + Have commercial instincts – How to grow your business, avoid a bland life, and optimize the fire within. 1:05:30
  • Claude Hopkins and David Olgilvy – You’re not born with it…you can develop it. (This one skill separates the successful from the struggling.) 1:06:00
  • No one has this instinct – Learning how to sell, persuade, and package from the giants in the industry will set you apart.1:06:45
  • Enjoy the process of learning – How learning from your predecessors and being prolific is key to your success. 1:07:46
  • Behind the scenes of work and success – Keeping the engine running requires this. 1:08:45

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

 

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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