Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

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The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

August 24, 2004 • Volume 4 Issue 10

The Baker's Dozen Collection

13 Dramatic DM Points
from Georges Polti's 36

Theatre is not my thing.

Yes, I love a good stand-up comic. And the true comics of the daily newspaper.

Thoroughly enjoy 'live' music, especially piano, guitar and drums ... maybe a little soulful blues and swinging dixieland, topped with smooth jazz.

Yet, not the theatre.

Still, a few months ago when friend Andy Owen, a grand fellow and excellent creative mind out of the U.K., introduced the thought of Georges Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations, I just had to take a look.

What I quickly learned was from this list of 36 there are at least a Baker's Dozen worth that have direct marketing applications.

First, a little history about Georges (sometimes just George). Mr. Polti was a mid 19th century French theatre critic. He "re-discovered" there were only 36 dramatic situations possible on the stage. To confirm the theory he analyzed centuries of plays and novels -the result was a classification of dramatic scenes.

Not all were happy with his announcement in 1868 ... in fact, the debate continues to this day. Writers were delighted ... they had a full range of material available, yet within limits. Critics resented the thought that creative ideas could be counted and placed in a box.

Separately, there is a debate about timing of the 36 situations ... when and where the original material came from. The life and times of Georges Polti is a bit foggy, too; my search found disagreement on the first date of publication of 36 Dramatic Situations. It is agreed an English version of the book was produced around 1920.

No matter, Georges said there is no magic in 36 or 20 ... or any number. He said the number was not special. For there are truly an infinite number of variables through character, situation, psychology and more ways that drama can be created. With two or three dozen situations, in combination multiplied many times, there are more than enough variables to push the creative juices of any serious writer. Georges said the list is simply an aid for writers.

Ditto for we writing Direct Marketing messages. No one has a lock on creative thinking or ideas. The difference with us in DM is we need to control the drama. And, unlike a stage play, a novel or movie, we do not control the ending. Sure, we'd like to ... yet, really we do not. The best we can do is give direction.

My selection of the 13 Dramatic Direct Marketing Points from Georges Polti's 36 is this;

1. Supplication ... ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly. Georges calls it power in authority.

Beg is not a word I use. Ask, yes. Much better than demand. My philosophy is that people may not like to be sold - they sure do like to buy. So, ask them. Ask them to do so from you.

Asking may require a sales presentation, a pitch. We call it AFTO, Ask For The Order. You may need to convince, to persuade. You do this by asking ... by humbly, earnestly asking.

2. Deliverance ... a process of being set free, or a formal, authoritative message. In drama this could be an unfortunate soul, maybe a rescuer or a threatener.

Your message, no matter what it is, at some point must demonstrate authority. Sometimes formal, many times not. What this means is it must be planned, thought about, organized, structured - even if loosely.

And, in some instances, your DM may play on the drama definition. Your product/service will 'Deliver' the buyer from this or that - will solve their problem, and lift them to another level.

3. Pursuit ... the action of pursuing, an activity - In drama it involves a fugitive and punishment.

For direct marketing I call it the chase. Going after the business. Not waiting for it to come to you ... no, instead chasing it. Pursuing. Doing it over and over again and again. As repetition builds your reputation.

Sure, too much is too much. There comes a time when the audience has said 'no thank you'. Soooo, you back-off. At least for a while. You try again - later. As if you've selected your marketplace carefully, it very well could be timing is the issue. So repeat your message ... repeat your message ... repeat your message. i.e., chase.

4. Disaster ... a sudden natural catastrophe or accident, an event that may lead to ruin. Georges calls it differently - he defines disaster as a people thing, vs. an event.

Talking about Disaster is not a rational thought - it is all emotion. And emotions open the door for many fund raisers.

Something from nature - a hurricane, flood, tornado, an extreme heat or deep cold wave -can each be a 'disaster'. These events bring out the best in people - fund raisers play on this goodness. A coal mine fire a mile underground or a railroad accident on top does the same, as we flock to help those in need.

Another way Disaster can be used in DM is to paint a picture of what will happen when your prospect does not respond to your offer. What they will loose. The security business thrives on this emotion.

Although you may not have used the word Disaster, DM is successful when you use the feelings of people in your message. With or without a real Disaster in your message.

5. Daring Enterprise... a bold, audacious adventure, a leader or objective.

Georges calls it the same way as Webster.

Story time is in. Story telling as a method to introduce your offer to your audience is again popular.

This fact does not mean you are allowed to circle 'round and avoid the point of your message. The story is a means to the end - which is the purpose of DM - to get to an end result.

Share an example or case history. Use testimonials. About your offer and product and the benefits it brings to your marketplace. Tell a story, and make it exciting, interesting. This approach works for 'selling' a person, an idea, a product or service, a company.

6. Enigma ... a mysterious or puzzling person, event or 'thing'.

Georges sees it as a seeker with a problem.

See #5 above ... if your story includes a little mystery, something different, unusual, out of the ordinary, not what's expected, well, this is why Enigma works. As people like to know what's different. Even if they don't see themselves in a role, they want to understand others who do.

This allows your audience to come back to you with questions, suggestions and ideas on how you can get them to become your customer. Your buyers join you as a piece of your research center. They tell you how to sell them.

 7. Obtaining ... to get, to come into possession of - most often some 'thing'. Drama involves opposing parties, and maybe an arbitrator.

People like to own stuff. "Find out what your customer needs (or wants) and give it to them" is a quote from my Dad - shared with me when I was still at the University of Alabama. It's a line I've never forgotten.

What Dad was saying was help people get things and you'll lead a full live. Direct Marketing is all about encouraging people 'to come into possession of'. To get. To Obtain.

8. Rivalry ... one competing with another, or comparing one to another. In drama there is a preferred and a rejected character.

Marketing has learned from advertising about Rivalry and comparisons ... Hertz vs. Avis, Coke vs. Pepsi.

Direct Marketing has taken it to another level ... with an A, B, C / 1, 2, 3 chart;


Offer #1.
Offer #2.
Offer #3.
Marketplace "A"




Marketplace "B"




Marketplace "C"




And then compared. With - obviously - your product/company/offer coming out on top. In Direct Marketing there is a preferred and rejected, too.

9. Sacrificing ... an act of giving up something of value for the sake of something of greater importance, or so it seems. In drama there is a hero, with passion, maybe an ideal that must be compromised.

The definition for sacrifice is in itself moving. One gives something up in exchange for something else.

i.e., the sacrifice in baseball ... when one batter gives himself up to move his teammate closer to a score is a good example. Sometimes the something else is worth it -sometimes it is not.

Your Direct Marketing offer is similar. The hook, or offer, you hang out to get your prospect to 'bite'. You 'give something up' in exchange for a donation, a lead, an appointment, a demonstration, a sale.

10. Superior & Inferior ... higher or lower in quality, rank, status, or power. In drama there is a good guy/bad guy - a superior and inferior character.

Every product line comes with a variety of options ... high, middle and low. Often more.

Direct Marketing allows you the full opportunity to tell your complete story. With all the benefits the customer will gain when they make a buying decision in your favor. No matter it's level.

Automobile manufacturers are good at this; the base price is 'X$', yet the picture shown and the text is top of the line - at a higher price. Ditto the travel industry ... the low-ball price is touted, options for upgrading are additional. The customer makes the decision.

11. Love ... an intense feeling of deep affection, a deep attachment of great interest and pleasure. Love, in all its variables, and drama are almost synonymous.

Reach out and touch is an old AT&T slogan. Not exactly Love, yet, darn close. At least it's an effort to build loyalty.

Direct Marketing allows you to express Love ... you tell you customers how much they mean to you. To demonstrate Love ... you make an offer your competition can't touch. To share Love ... with testimonials and stories from your most satisfied clients.

Love has been a misused and over used word. It gets tossed about in far too many situations. Still, because it is such a strong human emotion as well as feeling, it has power in Direct Marketing.

12. Jealousy ... envious of another's achievements or advantages, resentful of someone, fiercely protective of one's rights. Jealousy drives stories, and thus much drama.

Jealousy drives those without to want. It's human - even the 10 Commandments, using different words, carries the message.

Good Direct Marketing copy writing has the opportunity to softly, or harshly, get an audience to Jealously want this product or that service. By painting pictures of others enjoying something they do not have.

The DM goal is always action - people respond to many different incentives ... one is 'you have X and I want it!' Countries have gone to war over less.

13. Ambition ... a strong desire to do or achieve success, wealth, fame.

Georges says ambition applies to people, a situation, a 'thing'.

We're taught from pre-kindergarten to achieve. To climb a ladder. To look up. To always do our best. To maximize our potential. The push to always drive forward and upward doesn't go away in a lifetime. That's what Ambition is all about.

Over time the philosophy becomes to make more money, to own more things, live in a bigger house, travel to exotic places, own more toys. Direct Marketing can take advantage of this 'fact of life' and, through various media and multiple communications, make all possible. Your audience will Love you for it.

So here they are ... the 13 Dramatic Direct Marketing Points from Georges Polti's 36;

  • Supplication ... to ask
  • Deliverance ... an authoritative message
  • Pursuit ... the chase
  • Disaster ... a natural catastrophe or accident
  • Daring enterprise ... a bold adventure
  • Enigma ... a mystery
  • Obtaining ... to get
  • Rivalry ... competition
  • Sacrificing ... an act of giving up something of value
  • Superior & Inferior ... high & low
  • Love ... the feeling
  • Jealousy ... envious
  • Ambition ... a strong desire to achieve

You can find the complete list of 36 and much more detail in Georges book, which is still in print. You may have to do a bit of digging - yet, online I found both hard and softbound copies, new and used.

If you'd like to continue this conversation, send me an E-mail @ Ray@RayJutkins.com, or phone +1+805-771-8300.


Over the next 30 days school is back in session from the summer break across the America's.

Making this from Anonymous very right-on;

"You are the only person on this earth
who can use your ability."

The RJm Story

An almost absolute for professional speakers are products. Books and tapes and such that allow your audience to take you back to the office with them.

So, over the two plus decades of speaking I've created product. You may find something useful to you - a book, an audio or video tape @ www.MagicMarketingMinutes.com

For any reason, a question, a comment, a thought, an idea, call us @+1+760-376-1858or send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com.

The Works of Marketing with Ray INDEX

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