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Denny's Daily Zinger: Direct Marketing Has Been Hijacked

March 24, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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I was invited to a meeting of elite direct marketers at the Yale Club last week. So elite, only 24 people showed up.

The title of the presentation: "Data Stewardship: Big Topic. Gigantic Challenge!"

It was a bitch-and-moan session about how unfair the recent Steve Croft "60 Minutes" segment was to "Data-Driven Marketing."

"We have to convince everybody that we collect data only for marketing purposes," was the mantra of the meeting. "Nobody understaaaaands!"

"Data is everything," they cried, "and 675,000 jobs are at risk!"


Yep, that's what it's being called these days.

At a conference in Hong Kong, I was there when Stan Rapp came up with the delicious definition, "Direct Marketing is intimate advertising."

How sweet. Gentle. I loved it!

I was proud to be part of it.

Alas, the Data Dweebs-in their crazed need for affirmation-have hijacked the industry and perverted "intimate advertising" into "Data-Driven Marketing."

It is now the Direct Marketing Association's slogan.

"Data-Driven Marketing"—cold, impersonal and, above all, a dog whistle! It's like calling ObamaCare "Non-Death-Panel Health Coverage."

(Of course "death panels" existed. They were insurance companies that refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions, causing people to die.)

"Data-Driven Marketing" is the dog-whistle that sets the attack hounds howling—privacy protectionists, consumer action groups and, above all, politicians.

I am not in "data-driven marketing."

My profession and expertise for 50 years has been:

  • Intimate Advertising
  • Customer Delight Marketing

I used to love this business.

Right now I think it sucks.

Denny Hatch  is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. Click on the title below to read the first three chapters of his most recent book "Write Everything Right!" (Opens as a PDF) No cost. Contact him at


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