Meet the Masters - Bob Stone
Bob Stone got into direct marketing from a unique angle: He received a marketing degree from Northwestern University.
Stone took a course in letter writing as part of his curriculum. He recounted how he got into direct marketing many years ago: "I was working for a surgical dressings manufacturer in the late 1930s. The country was preparing for war; gas rationing restricted travel of the sales force. My first job in direct marketing was to sell surgical dressings to the First Aid departments of industrial firms...by mail. The effort replaced 25 salesmen."
Besides good fortune, Stone moved forward in his career in "a matter of progression." At the end of World War II, Stone joined National Research Bureau and set up and ran the circulation department. Fifteen years later, he started his own business.
"I called my company National Communications Corp. Our core business was the 'Businessmen's Record Club': We sold memberships by mail."
In 1967, Aaron Adler and Stone formed Stone & Adler which they billed as the first full-service direct marketing agency in the middle west. In 1983, Stone & Adler was acquired by Young & Rubicam.
Stone counts Homer J. Buckley as his most significant mentor. Homer J. Buckley was, amazingly enough, the man who actually coined the term direct mail.
Stone met Buckley and other mentors—Cy Frailey, George D. Graw—as a result of his membership in the Chicago Direct Mail Club.
In 1946, Stone received a contract from Prentice Hall to write a book titled "Profitable Direct Mail Methods." Stone asked Buckley, a fellow member in the Direct Mail Club, for help with the book. "I asked Mr. Buckley, a very busy man, if he would review my manuscript. He agreed. The major changes he made were the factor in making it a saleable book."