What we often forget is that marketing is marketing. The Internet is just a medium to get your message across. We often forget some old time basics of marketing like direct response, but it’s coming back. Affiliate marketing requires something somewhat different in that your copy is pre-selling, not selling. Yet you could consider it direct response marketing for the click, not the sale. You have to depend on the product vendor’s sales page to complete the transaction.
When I think of marketing giants, I think of Gary Halbert and Joe Karbo. These were guys that wrote long copy for newspapers and magazines that sold products directly to the consumer by mail order. This is the old school version of your current online sales pages, and much more difficult to do.