A Free Parting Gift, From Denny Hatch
After 23 years with North American Publishing Company, this is my final online column for Target Marketing.
It has been a glorious ride!
In 1992, Peggy and I sold our cranky little newsletter and giant archive of direct mail samples — Who’s Mailing What! — to North American Publishing Co. and moved to Philadelphia.
The challenge: take over the management of a dying Target Marketing magazine as well as continue the newsletter and archive service.
After eight years of founding and running a newsletter — based on paid subscriptions — we found ourselves in charge of magazine that was given away free and completely dependent on advertising.
Mercifully we were mentored by a group of world-class professionals who knew the trade magazine business cold. Thanks to them, we did not make a lot of mistakes.
The owner of North American Publishing Co. was great human being and humanitarian, Irvin Borowsky. A man who not only changed our lives, but worked like a demon to change the world.
Before Peggy and I arrived, Irv had taken the company public. Whereupon he discovered the misery of being perpetually second-guessed by stockholders, lawyers and regulators. Irv sold off some properties (including what was to become TV Guide) and bought back his company. From then on, NAPCO has been privately owned and debt free — a splendid working environment.
Irv was chairman of the company, and his son Ned was president.
As editor and publisher, I had two jobs:
- Planning and overseeing editorial content, as well writing feature stories.
- Endless travels on listening tours with sales reps, where I tried to learn every facet of the direct marketing business, including the daunting disciplines of lists, data management, printing and production. My entire focus was putting readers and advertisers together so everybody made money.
Meanwhile Peggy — a brilliant manager, mentor, diplomat and counselor — ran the show in Philly.