Famous Last Words: The Wisdom of Milt Pierce
I have known Milt Pierce for many years as a world-class freelance copywriter of direct mail, space ads and TV commercials, and teacher of direct marketing at New York University.
Now direct marketing entrepreneur Bob Bly has assembled a fascinating compendium of Milt Pierce’s work over the years and published it as an e-book with the intriguing title, “Milt Pierce’s Marketing Success Secrets.”
With all the razzle-dazzle of data warehousing, Internet marketing, co-op databases, myriad list appends and content-management systems, the old true, tried and tested rules of direct marketing tend to get shoved into a mental bottom drawer and ignored. In fact, a great many newbies to the business never learned the basic rules—or secrets—of marketing in the first place. Hence the dot-com bust of 2000 that cost investors billions and thousands of dewy-eyed, hotshot greenhorns their jobs.
So, “Milt Pierce’s Marketing Success Secrets” comes at a propitious time.
Swipe Files—Essential to Success!
Readers of this publication know that I first achieved notoriety by amassing a giant archive of direct mail and using it to start the newsletter, WHO’S MAILING WHAT! (now called Inside Direct Mail). But why did I start collecting this stuff? For the same reason Milt Pierce says you should collect it:
I have a swipe file. I have used that file for years. I keep adding to it, week after week. And when a client comes to me and asks, “Can you write a direct mail package for me?” I smile and say, “Yes,” with the full knowledge that I shall go running to my swipe file to get ideas for copy and ideas for formats and ideas for headlines and ideas for a million other things.
Some writers will take a direct mail package and break it into its component parts. Then they will create a file for good letters, a file for good sales brochures, a file for good lift letters, a file for good outer envelopes and a file for good order forms.