What Dickens Did for Direct
Direct marketers call this seasonality.
Now leave it to Dickens to come up with the clincher—the word “free.” Dickens came up with the idea everyone else has followed for more than a century: Of the 20 installments, the customer only bought 19; the 20th installment was free.
Dickens, indeed, was a direct marketer. All authors of the Victorian era copied his strategies and publishing tactics. All of Dickens’ novels, “Davis Copperfield,” “A Christmas Carol,” “A Tale of Two Cities” and others, were sold in easy-to-pay-for installments.
From Victorian times to today, in the year 2004, direct marketers are still using the involvement techniques introduced by Dickens in 1836. He truly is the Great-grandfather of Direct.
Bob Hemmings is president of Hemmings IV Direct, a full-service agency. Hemmings is a member of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Hall of Fame as well as a seminar leader for the DMA’s Basics of Direct Marketing course. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.