John D. Rockefeller

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

Two days ago,'s "Red Tape Chronicles" used Instagram's recent policy change as a chance to attack marketing data providers. Click through to the story to read more: "Instagram's abrupt change of terms this week created a predictable Internet chatter bomb, as Web users erupted in anger that the firm might violate their privacy and property rights. Sadly, there is no such outrage at companies which buy and sell our privacy as their business model—and much less interest in promising efforts to rein them in. What do they

So you've bought into the idea of mailing prospects or customers more than once. How should you go about handling your remailing efforts? Here are just four ideas for you to consider.

In June 2005, I started writing this e-newsletter.

My wife, Peggy, who is the publisher, came up with the idea of having takeaway points―a short collection of bulleted one- and two-liners or short paragraphs at the end of each piece―that summarize why a particular column might be worth reading.

I assume readers are very busy. I have no interest in wasting anybody’s time.

For example, many blogs start off with the writer clearing throat, rolling up sleeves, rubbing hands together, by which time the reader is on Page 2 with nothing to show for the time spent. That is why my private definition of the typical blog is “a cross between a blob and a bog.”

Put another way: It is imperative to remember that on the Internet a writer is one click away from oblivion. If I don’t ruthlessly self-edit, the reader is gone in a twentieth of a second.

Readers of Business Common Sense can scan the lede, and if they have no interest in today’s subject, can be out of here in less than 20 seconds, maybe with a useful takeaway or two, maybe not.

Every now and then a reader would write me and ask if I ever were planning to publish a collection of the takeaways. I said thanks for the suggestion (I personally answer all e-mail correspondence), and put the idea on the back burner.

In 2010, I moved the idea to the front burner and what turned up is:

Quotations, Rules, Aphorisms, Pithy Tips, Quips,

Sage Advice, Secrets, Dictums and Truisms in
99 Categories of Marketing, Business and Life

If you like what follows, you’ll find more information and how to order at

I persuaded the publisher (my wife, Peggy) to offer readers a fat pre-publication discount.


In the late 1970s, I was hired to write a membership mailing for Comp-U-Card, a Stamford, Conn. organization that claimed to have built “a data base of price and product information on approximately 60,000 brand name products.” Consumers could tap into this wealth of information and presumably save many times the $25 membership fee. Goods were shipped directly from wholesalers to the customer. I met briefly with the president, Walter A. Forbes, who was good-looking, articulate and very intense. At one point in our meeting, he took a phone call and asked me to step outside, which I did. When I returned, Forbes told me that

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