The Secret of Starting an Instantly Successful Business
Here was another product that saw the light of day only because customers asked for it and we made it happen.
Who’s Charging What
Some of the best-kept secrets of direct mail in those early days were the names of the writers and designers, what their specialties were and what they charged.
For example, when I wanted to do a piece on the great copywriter for Boardroom Reports, Martin Edelston—founder and owner—not only refused to cooperate but also threatened to cancel all of the firm’s subscriptions to WHO’S MAILING WHAT! if I pursued this and divulged the writer’s name.
I received a ton of requests from mailers all over the country asking who did this or that mailing or asking for recommendations for freelance help. For a number of years we printed “Who’s Charging What!” in the newsletter, but in addition to contact information and fees (which was all we had room for) readers wanted to know areas of specialization and names of their clients.
The result: We pulled this feature out of the newsletter and turned it into a yearly directory, “Who’s Charging What,” which is still being published today.
Again, this little ancillary business—or “line extension”—grew out of requests from our customers.
After nine years of publishing these products out of our home in Stamford, our little publishing company was acquired by North American Publishing Company. Peggy and I moved to Philly to run these publications plus Target Marketing magazine.
These little products traveled well. Today WHO’S MAILING WHAT! is still being published under the name of Inside Direct Mail. The archive contains information on roughly 150,000 mailings in nearly 200 categories. Many of them have been flagged as controls and several hundred are “Grand Controls” that have been in the mail for three or more consecutive years. These represent pure marketing gold.