With Ethan Boldt

With Ethan Boldt
Straight Talk: Brand and Direct Work Together

The direct people. The brand folks. The sales force. Richard Rosen, in his 2009 book "Convergence Marketing: Combining Brand and Direct for Unprecedented Profits," speaks to all three audience segments about how best to sell to customers across all media—which includes combining the best of what each camp brings to the table. He presents unique tools, such as his Rosen Velocity Scale, that attempt to create more profit while strengthening brand loyalty.

Straight Talk: Evolution of the Voucher

She began life after college as a school teacher before getting a job in the circulation department of a small magazine in New York City. That was when Caroline Zimmermann began to learn about direct marketing, including how much she liked it, to the point that she next got a job at a boutique direct marketing agency, where she became fascinated by both the art and the science of direct marketing—including whether or not her promotions worked.

Straight Talk: Getting Certified for the Future

You're already aware that the field of direct marketing is becoming more "integrated" than ever, with new media like email, social networking and mobile saddling up next to direct mail and other traditional channels. But did you know that more than 52 percent of all advertising expenditures in the U.S. have shifted from general advertising to direct marketing?

Straight Talk: A Conversation Starter

In the B-to-B world, especially when you're targeting benefits managers and human resource managers from corporations with at least 5,000 employees, sending yet another #10 envelope and follow-up email just won't do the trick. These folks are bombarded on a daily basis and tend toward the purge/delete response. But they might, just might, stop for a second with high-impact direct mail, especially if it not only catches their eye, but also starts a conversation.

Straight Talk: DM Unemployment Bottoming Out?

The most widely followed employment report in the direct marketing industry, distributed to thousands of agencies, service providers and direct marketing organizations, the Bernhart Associates Employment Survey is now in its eighth year. It tracks an industry that employs and directly supports 10.9 million jobs in the United States, and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the total gross domestic product, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

Straight Talk: Postal Service Under Pressure

Founded in 1988, the Mailers Council is the largest coalition of mailers and mailing associations in the U.S. Collectively, its members account for more than 70 percent of all mail, and they are primarily interested in ensuring a future for the Postal Service. With that future increasingly in peril, I spoke with Mailers Council Executive Director Robert E. McLean. He meets frequently with Postmaster General John Potter and his senior officers about mailers' concerns, which include making sure postage remains affordable for mailers and focusing on policy issues at the highest levels. Just before this interview, he testified at a House of Representatives Postal Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

Straight Talk: Postal Service Pressured From All Sides

Founded in 1988, the Mailers Council is the largest coalition of mailers and mailing associations in the U.S. Collectively, its members account for more than 70 percent of all mail, and they are primarily interested in ensuring a future for the Postal Service. With that future increasingly in peril, I spoke with Mailers Council Executive Director Robert E. McLean. He meets frequently with Postmaster General John Potter and his senior officers about mailers' concerns, which include making sure postage remains affordable for mailers and focusing on policy issues at the highest levels. Just before this interview, he testified at a House of Representatives Postal Oversight Subcommittee hearing.

Straight Talk: Perfecting Your Copywriting Craft

Copywriting is hard, intensely creative work. Thus, like most crafts, you get better at it as you practice it more in your business, particularly if you also teach the upcoming copywriters as well.

Straight Talk: Time to Start Socializing?

I'll begin with your question: What on earth does social networking have to do with direct mail? Not much ... yet. Look at this statistic courtesy of TechCrunch: In November 2008, Facebook drew 200 million unique worldwide visitors; more than one in five people who accessed the Internet that month visited the site. That's a lot of folks; that's a veritable community that may be more friendly to direct mail than you think, especially if you mix the two together skillfully.

Straight Talk: The Reuse Revolution in Direct Mail

Nearly seven years ago, Ann DeLaVergne got an envelope in the mail from an environmental company that was encouraging people to reduce waste by reusing envelopes. But it was sealed shut, plus it had print and labels all over it. There was no way to reuse it.

Straight Talk: Guess-free, Waste-free Marketing

In the preface of his recent book "Prove It Before You Promote It" (Wiley & Sons), Steve Cuno says that cutting marketing because sales are down is like reducing insulin when a patient's diabetes has gotten worse. But while marketing's role shouldn't be diminished, Cuno illustrates how it can be far better played.

Straight Talk: Creating a Higher Level of Engagement

In October, I attended the DMA08 show in Las Vegas and had the great pleasure of hearing Wayne Pick, executive creative director of Rapp New Zealand, talk about how truly creative direct mail can warm up cold prospects. He discussed how many folks are suffering from the double-whammy of fiscal and, to use his term, "time poverty" and simply require more innovative, relevant and even honest mail in order to respond. Afterward, I invited him and his wife, Kim Pick, head of copy at Rapp, to be a part of our webinar series and present on a similar topic. Because "Winning

The Measurable Magic of Direct Marketing

In this uncertain economy and with so many businesses looking for a better way to market themselves through the mail and other channels, could there be a better time for making the case for direct marketing versus traditional advertising? Grant Johnson doesn't think there has been. "Now IS the perfect time for all advertising and marketing practitioners to discover the accountability, measurability and testability of direct marketing," says Johnson, who is the president and chief marketing officer for Johnson Direct, a measurable marketing communications and direct branding counseling firm based in Brookfield, Wis.

Straight Talk: Rather Than Brand, Give Them Something to Act Upon

Enthusiastic from the beginning of our conversation to the end, it was clear that Jonathan Salem Baskin didn’t write a book to pad his résumé or sell a product. He wrote a book because he had something —actually, many groundbreaking things, some of which will ruffle some feathers of many brand marketers—to say. “Branding Only Works on Cattle: The New Way to Get Known (and drive your competitors crazy)” (Business Plus, Hachette Book Group, September 2008) came after 26 years of working in nearly every corner of the marketing communications field. Baskin currently writes a biweekly column for Advertising Age and runs his