Meet the Masters: Paul Goldberg
When a direct marketing manager of The Journal of Commerce got fired in the 1950s, Paul Goldberg got his big break, taking a post as its circulation director. In the early 1960s, he moved to Consumers Union as circulation director of Consumer Reports, where he built the circulation of the then-struggling publication from 400,000 subscribers to 2.2 million by the time he left 10 years later. After two years as general manager of the direct marketing division of March Advertising (now McCann Direct), he went out on his own to form a one-man
consulting organization, P-J Promotions. Here the co-founder of Who's Mailing What! (now Inside Direct Mail) pauses to reflect on Amazon.com, Bill Jayme and the ideal client-consultant relationship.
Q: What was your first job?
A: The first job I ever had was selling newspapers at the side entrance of South Station in Boston when I was seven. Interestingly, one of the newspapers I sold was The Christian Science Monitor, which has now been a client of mine for several years.
Q: What quality do you admire most about a great direct mail campaign?
A: Brilliant creative copy and art. I miss Bill Jayme enormously. There is still no one who comes close to his phenomenal genius.
Q: What is the strangest product/service you sold direct?
A: It's a toss up between the pornographic magazine At Home, which I worked on with Denny Hatch, and monogrammed paper lunch bagsand I can't forget gnomes and industrial oil cleanser.
Q: What is the strangest piece of white-mail you have ever received?
A: An answer to a badly matched multigraph letter from an elderly man who was certain that it was a personal letter from meand would not let go until I told him where we had met and how wonderful it was knowing me.
Q: What made you begin a career in the advertising/marketing industry?
A: My background was foreign languages which I used in my first job with the N.S.A. and then when I was in the army. After being discharged I came to NYC and fell into a job as office manager of a boiler room operation at The Journal of Commerce. When the direct marketing manager was fired for all the wrong reasons, my boss Ted Bihler asked me if I'd like to take over the direct marketing, and the rest is history.
Q: What is the most difficult aspect about your job? The most rewarding?
A: The most difficult is making clients listen. The most rewarding is when they get it, and I see real, strong young talent develop and take off with it.
Q: If you could choose another line of work, what would it be?
A: There are two answers to that: First, I'd like to be a client again so I could give my suppliers as much of a hard time as some of my past clients have given me (present clients are all excluded, since they are all wonderful).
Second, I'd like to be a good labor lawyer. I've been on two different negotiating teams, on the management side both times. What a difference the lawyers in charge can makeand how rewarding it must be when you have really made that much of a difference to so many people.
Q: Which advertising or marketing icons, dead or alive, do you admire most?
A: Max Sackheim (co-founder of Book of the Month club) and Bill Jayme, both for the same reasonthe sheer brilliance of their creativity.
Q: Tell me one thing that's different today in direct marketing than 25 years ago.
A: The people are not as helpful or understanding of each other as they used to be, but maybe that's my age talking. Of course the technology is totally different, and I wonder how we managed to do so well in those early years without technology.
Q: What companies do you find market best one-to-one?
A: I think Amazon.com does the most amazing job when they tell me what other kinds of books people who have ordered what I'm ordering have been buying. It's an amazing operation.