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Entrepreneur Stories – Meet the ‘guerilla copywriter’ Peter Ning and the art of war and persuasion

Peter is the new breed of copywriters bringing unconventional or surprise tactics to connect customers and business. In the marketing war of decreasing attention span, SMEs and entrepreneurs are needing novel ways to overcome customer apathy and consumer resistance. Customer boredom is something which Peter knows all about, as he moved from job to job looking for that vital spark which is so easily lost with familiarity.

“As a middle sibling in a family of six, I had to ‘wheel and deal’ from a young age to get anything. And being a one parent family meant my Mum wanted all of us to go to university to study science and then a secure career path.”

“I trained as a chemist and was researching the popular folklore of protecting roses from deer by the anti-deterrent effect of lion dung. An unusual idea opened the door to a world outside the laboratory and into export technical sales.”

“From that point, my passion has always been words, communication and the psychology of persuasion.”

Peter’s journey from ‘nerdy to wordy’ was a steep learning curve where being loud, out-going and intuitive were new but could be learnt in the training room. More importantly, travelling in Western and Central Europe allowed those skills to be developed and the importance of culture, observation and different ways of doing things.

Sellling can have negative connotations but Peter was working with the full range of businesses ranging from multi-nationals to sole traders. It wasn’t just about the price but whether the product could do the specific job in the target market. The speciality chemicals had to be tailored to the customer needs which meant working with a wide range of people including scientists who were interested in quality and formulators who had to produce the finished product. Consumers may not be interested in the science and logistics to deliver the finished article but the importance of the marketing mix of product, price, place and promotion was clearly seen.

He moved into management, which included formal marketing training and examinations leading to the widely respected Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma. At the same time Peter was developing his networking skills with the international volunteer management JCI organisation whose alumni include John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates and Kofi Annan.

“I expanded my understanding of the core business processes with roles in information technology and advertising. When I moved into project management, I thought I had finally found a role which would satisfy both my technical and communication know-how. But the Gershon efficiency review and resulting public sector cutbacks showed how a step change in the market place can change everything.”

Peter realised his ability to speak to the janitor, the chief executive and everyone in between in their language was a skill sharpened by his previous roles. In the public sector, people were being asked to accept reduced services and had to be persuaded and helped to rely on self-help. More importantly, there was a business need for this skill and a shoe-horn fit to his long established passion.

“I could understand technical subjects quickly and more importantly use it to plan out both strategy and tactics.”

Peter took his first steps as a business owner as a project manager contractor and has now focused on guerilla copywriting. Creative selling in print is the core service offer within the broader context of marketing and business advice.

Peter works with companies looking for a ‘twist’ or new connection to their target audience.

For more information see:


James Caldwell
Editor for the Business Bible. James took on the role in March 2019 and shares his vast experience of International Business and Trade. James was previously Director of an international events company in Manchester and still remains active in the events industry.
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