Andrew J. Byrne

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Peggy Hatch is a senior advisor at NAPCO Media. A direct mail copywriter, she co-founded Who’s Mailing What! with her husband Denny Hatch. Her previous position at NAPCO Media was Group President for the Target Marketing Group.

It was October 1984 when Denny and I launched the premiere issue of Who's Mailing What! Back then, it was a paid newsletter that analyzed direct mail and included a members-only archive service.

A very bright guy I know in Philadelphia recently forwarded me a sales letter that may very well be the worst of 2014 ... though we still have four more months for someone to prove me wrong. He wrote, "Thought you might want to take a look at what is spinning currently in the online marketing world.  I would love to figure out what it means.  Perhaps you can discern how it works.  It also could be a topic for your column."

This past summer came a stunning announcement: "Floating an Idea: Would P&G Sell Ivory Soap?" The Wall Street Journal further writes, "As Company Pares Brands, an Icon's Status is Weighed Against Sinking Sales." I grew up with Ivory soap. Throughout my life, I would try different brands—often with negative reactions. Whereupon, I went back to Ivory. Ditching Ivory would be like General Motors trashing Chevy!

The five most important words in "Write Everything Right!" are: "Avoid gray walls of type." —David Ogilvy. This hits me in the snoot every time I read The New York Times. See the illustration—301 words in a long column of solid type—gray wall—with no break in the monotony of words, words, words. This tough slog for the reader is made all the more nasty by the 8.7-point Imperial type.

In early April, I received a press release about Americans losing millions of jobs annually. It was a mess. As you can see, this is a gray wall of tiny type. "Avoid gray walls of type," counseled the great guru David Ogilvy.

Avoid gray walls of type. —David Ogilvy. Today, the communications coin of the realm is the 140-character Tweet. Everybody reads tweets—politicians, celebs, kids, seniors, business people, groupies. The country's most popular Tweeter in 2012: Lady Gaga with 19,341,413 followers. Tweets are fun, punchy, readable and, yes, well written. Twitter users spend time reworking information to make the biggest impact.

More Blogs