David Ogilvy

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.

Since this is the Target Marketer of the Year issue, let’s reflect on the great marketers of all time. Here are the mentors I wish I had. To this day I continue to read their work and marvel how their marketing philosophy, smarts and rules of the road apply directly to the data-mania environment of today.

Ad agency presidents are dazzlers at selling. David Ogilvy, Lester Wunderman and Frank Vos would show up to deliver the pitch. Hire the agency and you are lucky to see these brilliant sweet-talkers once every six months.

Tests have shown that a sentence of eight words is very easy to read; of 11 words, easy; of 14 words, fairly easy; of 17 words, standard; of 21 words, fairly difficult; of 25 words, difficult; of 29 or more words, very difficult; so this sentence with 54 words, counting numbers, is ranked impossible.

A good envelope shouts, "OPEN ME NOW!" The fat blue carrier from "David Birnbaum, Private Jeweler Extraordinaire" did just that. Birnbaum's name and address on the label were in shiny gold. The name on the address in gorgeous script: "Mr. Denison S. Hatch"

Headlines are the one copy element almost every ad, email, brochure, blog post, whitepaper, landing page, self-mailer, postcard and Web page have in common. An irresistible headline is the lure that hooks your reader.

The search engine Google is a boon to freelance copywriters, giving us fast access to much more information than we could ever dig up at those old-fashioned data depositories we used to call "libraries." As a result, it's easier to write stronger copy today, because specifics sell, and Google gives us all the specifics we need.

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