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How can you have a beautiful ending with out making beautiful mistakes.

Robert Sturtevant
Today's fortune submitted by:
Robert Sturtevant

East Bridgewater, MA, USA

Robert Sturtevant is an instructor at The Saturday Course at Milton Academy, teaching diverse subjects to grades 4-8. Known for his dynamic teaching and strong business acumen in Boston, he excels in building trust and enhancing educational and professional engagements.

I met Rob through the AMA. He is not only approachable and professional but truly impressive, making a lasting impact on everyone he interacted with.

A Beautiful Mistake

Today's Marketing Cookie makes me chuckle because of the beautiful mistake I made several years ago.

We had the lead generation program completely fine-tuned for one of our largest clients. We had tested hundreds of variations and developed a control that could not be beaten. We had figured out the most effective construction for a direct mail letter and landing page combination that consistently pulled better than anything we could come up with to put against it. We knew the right placement of the text, the thickness and texture of the paper, the size, color, and style of the fonts, and the best call-to-action. Our refined formula eventually doubled response rates and generated a record-breaking amount of leads for less money.

For the record, the sample size for our A/B tests numbered in the millions. We tested all types of new printing innovations and formats, and every possible envelope configuration we could find. We even tried handwritten mailing addresses and real postage stamps rather than metered postage. We tried it all.

Because I like you, I'll tell you the secret. The workhorse of our direct mail lead generation program, which I have been talking about so much today, was ugly. It was plain Jane, no-frills, and simple. No matter what we did, we could not outdo nor beat our ugly creation, and it was an absolute torment for our creative department.

One day, a new EVP of Marketing joined the company, and we presented our lead generation strategy. As part of the presentation, we showed the ugly direct mail that could never be beaten. The new EVP refused to allow those ugly letters to go out any longer and forced us to follow the new creative that we were using on TV. Our creative team was absolutely thrilled to finally create something beautiful.

Did I say beautiful? The new direct mail was drop-dead gorgeous! Our creative team was back to dreaming of happy unicorns and dancing with glorious merriment in their happy place, and we finally had something beautiful to show in our portfolio.

Unfortunately, the beautiful direct mail didn't work nearly as well as the old tested and proven ugly stuff. Slowly but surely, my nightmares about sagging line charts, leaking landing pages, and angry zombie salespeople demanding more leads all came true. It just goes to show that making the direct mail look better was my biggest beautiful mistake.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie

Percent Daily Value


Percent Daily Values are based on the essential nutrients required to maintain a healthy mindset, fostering success in your marketing, prosperity in your career, and fulfillment in your life.








Submitted by:

Robert Sturtevant

Unpackaged in: 

East Bridgewater, MA, USA

Cookie Ingredients:


What marketing is really saying:

"Kid's popcorn, candy and soda: $158."

What marketing says:

"Kid's discounted movie tickets: $8."

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by Myles Bristowe

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