Write for the buyer (not the non-buyer!)

90% of people don’t care about the problem you solve. That’s fine. But don’t write your copy to try and please those people. For them, even short copy is too long, and even perfect copy is too boring. Don’t write for your mom, your colleagues, or even yourself. Write for the actual buyer.


  • Controversial tip: drop the personas. Personas are a fake, imaginary average of your audience. But averages aren’t that helpful here—the average person has one boob and one testicle. Rather than blending things down into a persona, pick «one single person» that represents the group. Ideally a person that you actually know. Create all your marketing for them.
  • Some businesses have multiple segments or audiences that they sell to. In our case, Double sells to both early-stage entrepreneurs, as well as to CMOs or Heads of Growth at high-growth scale-ups with $100+ million raised. Obviously, these people have different needs, wants and concerns. In this case, you can pick multiple people to market to. Just be careful that each message is addressed to either one of them, not the average of them, which might not resonate with either of them.
  • Most actual buyers have a lot more specific questions and needs than you might think (assuming that what is being sold is not trivial). Buyers have questions that non-buyers don’t have. They want to know the ins and outs of everything. Good marketing gets as close as possible to experiencing the product. No single detail should be omitted, lest it might block a buyer from actually buying.
  • Being through doesn’t excuse you from rambling and being disorganised in how you present information. On the other hand, nothing should stop you from providing to a buyer all the information he needs to know to make an informed decision. See Law #26: the more you tell, the more you sell.

In Practice

In the early 2000s, Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire for controversial marketing tactics that promoted exclusivity. The apparel brand was vocally unapologetic about only wanting good-looking customers and excluding plus-sized women from wearing their clothes. Comments from CEO Mike Jeffries ignited outrage. He proclaimed Abercrombie only made clothes for "cool" and "attractive" people. Critics accused the brand of promoting discriminatory ideals of beauty.

But while scandalous, this shameless messaging spoke directly to Abercrombie's target teen customer. The clothes were aspirational symbols for insecure young consumers wanting to be seen as popular and hot. Abercrombie's marketing reinforced that its clothes could make you cool too. So despite some consumers boycotting the brand, core fans kept flocking to stores. Exclusivity and vanity were exactly the values Abercrombie's audience of high schoolers cared about most.

The controversial approach was risky but deliberate. Abercrombie intentionally filtered out older, conservative shoppers that might be offended to reinforce its positioning as a provocative, cult status label amongst teens.

It worked financially, with sales growing for over two decades based on this undiluted branding tailored precisely to obsess over the preferences of its young target audience alone. Abercrombie optimised its messaging strictly for buyers, at the cost of outrage and boycotts from non-buyers.

Pair with

Start with the problem