Strategy Session: Think Like a Direct Marketer
According to Wikipedia, the few employees who know the recipe must fly on separate planes when traveling and cannot be left alone with strangers while they are together. As recently as 2006, three people were arrested who were trying to sell the secret recipe for Coca-Cola to the company's arch-rival, Pepsi, for $2 million. Pepsi was decent enough to decline and called in the FBI.
KFC also has kept its recipe a secret since the 1930s. The Colonel-Harland Sanders-carried the secret formula for Kentucky Fried Chicken in his head and the mixture of 11 herbs and spices in his car. Today, the recipe is locked away in a safe in Louisville, Ky. Only a handful of people know that multi-million dollar recipe, and each is obligated to strict confidentiality by contract.
Now at this point, you may be wondering: What the heck does direct marketing have to do with soft drinks and fried chicken?
There are few secrets in direct marketing. And I have always been amazed at how much information the great direct marketing professionals were willing to share with others-what worked, what didn't work and why.
Lee Marc Stein is one of the top experts in our industry, and I enjoyed his Strategy Session columns in Inside Direct Mail for years. Beyond being a brilliant strategist, Stein is a wonderful writer who made his columns both informative and entertaining. I know how much I'm going to miss his columns, and I promise to do my best to live up to the high standards he set, along with Ethan Boldt, Hallie Mummert and all the excellent editors at Inside Direct Mail.
But, I admit, that's going to be a challenge for me.