"To be successful in this business, you have to see who's mailing what … Look for those mailings that keep coming again and again, which means they are successful, and then steal smart."
Dorothy Kerr said that at a Direct Mail Writer's Guild luncheon attended by Denny Hatch in the late '70s, and he's quoted it often since. It was one inspiration for the Who's Mailing What! direct mail archive.
The archive was Denny's baby. He's written many times about how he and his wife, Peggy, started it and its newsletter, which were eventually bought by North American Publishing Co. and saw Denny and Peggy take over this very magazine.
Here's how direct marketing consultant Lee Marc Stein described it: "Denny added a strategic dimension to the business. We were all pragmatists, but how could you do what worked if you didn't know what was working? Now we could see what the top practitioners were doing; we could engage in competitive intelligence."
The ability to see what your competitors are sending—especially what they're sending repeatedly; the famous Grand Controls—is nothing short of a light in the dark for direct marketers. Wouldn't you like to have access to that today, and for email and social media, too?
The great news is the Who's Mailing What! Archive still exists, it's online now, and it's been expanded to include email and social media in addition to direct mail. In fact, it relaunched last month with new capabilities. Check it out: whosmailingwhat.com.
The archive started much of what we're doing today, and everyone in the Target Marketing Group had a hand in this relaunch—especially Ethan Boldt and the great team at Direct Marketing IQ. It's their baby now.
I can't think of anything more valuable to our readers than to be able to see what's working for the competition. Go to whosmailingwhat.com and take the tour; I'd love to hear what you think of it.
And, if you decide to sign up, you can take $75 off the annual subscription with the discount code "THORIN."