Bank of America

25 Ways People & Companies Deal With Recession
December 18, 2008

To create this e-zine, I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for stories to download into my private archive of more than 37,000 entries in 224 major categories. How much time do I spend on the Internet?

Day — Date — (Number of visits excluding e-mail)
Thu — 12-11-08 — (226)
Wed — 12-10-08 — (251)
Tue — 12-09-08 — (390)
Mon — 12-08-08 — (240)
Sun — 12-07-08 — (36)

The point is to find dots and try to connect them to each other and back to our businesses, careers and lifestyles.

One set connecting this week is the myriad ways people and companies are dealing with this horrifying recession—some positive, some painful and some downright illegal.

These are the stories that caught my eye; maybe some will catch yours and give you some ideas.

Shadow Government, Shadow Management
November 11, 2008

My wife, Peggy, and I overdosed on the 2008 election.

Eighteen months ago—with 10 Republicans and eight Democrats vying for their respective nominations—we started slowly. By August of this year, we were hooked. We'd start the day at 6 a.m. watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and his happy crew—Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Pat Buchanan, et al. At 1 p.m., over a sandwich in the kitchen, I'd look in on Andrea Mitchell. After work we'd surf the dials, hitting Chris Matthews, David Gregory and Keith Olbermann on MSNBC; Brit Hume and his wonderful roundtable on Fox News; as well as checking in on Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs at CNN. Compared to the energy and excitement of the cable shows, network evening news was a cure for insomnia.

The cable folks parsed every speech, analyzed every gesture, trumpeted every miscue, interviewed everybody and anybody who might shed some light on the outcome, and involved viewers in the minutiae of political campaigning. It was a giggle while it lasted.

Now Obama is in while McCain and Bush are out.

The suspense is gone. Life is normal once again.

So whither cable? Will it wither and die?

Welcome to the new shadow government.

The Crash of Two Iconic Business Models — 1
January 8, 2008

Most consumers know that their buying and bill-paying habits are closely monitored by the three great credit rating agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. What is less understood is the highly complex algorithm of scoring—taking all that bill-paying data on an individual and determining the chances that he or she will fail to pay a credit card charge or default on a loan. The dollar amount of credit extended and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) charged are pinned to a consumer’s score. The unquestioned master of scoring alchemy is Fair Isaac, on whom some of the blame for the sub-prime crash—and perhaps the coming

Corporate Strategy Hits My Nabe
October 4, 2007

I live in Center City Philadelphia six blocks from Independence Hall. Around the corner is Philly’s hangout for mostly kids—what Gourmet magazine called “raffish South Street.” There you can get tattooed, body pierced, tanned, a fine Philly cheese steak at Jim’s, hear live funky music every night at TLA and foul stand-up routines at a comedy club, buy sex toys at Condom Kingdom, and eat at any of 40 neighborhood restaurants ranging from D+ to A+. If you’re a HOG, you will find Mako’s Retired Surfers Bar & Grill, where you will meet and greet other Harley-Davidson owners from all over the country. Plus,

TM0907_Cover/chart
September 1, 2007

The full list of 2007’s Top 50 Mailers (excludes catalogers) Company Sales/Revenue Industry List Manager(s) (in millions) Citigroup $146,558 Financial Does not rent Bank of America $117,017 Financial Does not rent JP Morgan Chase $99,845 Financial Does not rent 4 Sprint/Nextel $41,028 Telecommunications Does not rent American Express $27,136 Financial/Media Millard Group Washington Mutual $26,454 Financial Does not rent Capital One $15,191 Financial Does not rent Time Inc. $5,846 Media Millard Group/ Belardi-Ostroy Inc. 4 Pitney Bowes Co. $5,730 Business Services MeritDirect Salvation Army $5,300 Nonprofit Does not rent 4 Discover Card Services Inc. $5,000 Financial Does not rent Hearst Magazines $4,550 Media Direct Media International American Red Cross $3,919 Nonprofit The Carol Enters List Co./ American List Counsel The New York Times Company $3,289.9 Media American List Counsel BMG/Columbia House $2,400 Media Specialists Marketing Services/American List Counsel Reader’s Digest Association $2,386.2* Media American List Counsel/ The Catamount Group 4 Scholastic Inc. $2,283.8 Media Specialists Marketing Services/ Millard Group/List Services Corp. Dow Jones & Company $1,783.9 Media American List Counsel Meredith Corp. $1,600 Media American List Counsel/ Millard Group Company Sales/Revenue Industry List Manager(s) (in millions) Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Society $1,623 Nonprofit Direct Media International Conde Nast Publications $1,400 Media Millard

Gotcha!
June 7, 2007

One of the sublime pleasures of researching and writing this cranky little e-zine is watching a story build and then spin totally out of control—just like the cyclone in “The Wizard of Oz.” Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get worse for the people involved, they do. Julie Roehm, the 35-year-old dynamic senior VP-marketing communications at Wal-Mart was brought in from the automobile industry to oversee the company’s half-billion-dollar-plus advertising budget. She allegedly rubbed Sean Womack, Wal-Mart’s VP of marketing communications, the right way and everybody else the wrong way—and the two lovebirds were thrown out on their tails. Not only is Roehm

You Need a Lift!
February 7, 2007

A lift letter can add a substantial boost to a direct mail package, and this tactic should not be disdained or overlooked when you’re trying to sell something by mail. In fact, that’s why it’s known as a “lift letter” in the copywriting business. (You may also see it referred to as a “publisher’s letter” or a “second letter.”) Bob Stone, one of the direct response industry’s pioneers, and a copywriter who has been collecting response data for decades, has stated that “such a letter boosts response 10 percent or more.” Wouldn’t it be silly to walk away from a fact like that without

Battle of the Banks
January 1, 2007

In the past year, Bank of America has secured more than a few No. 1 positions. First, in early 2006 it purchased MBNA, making it the largest issuer of credit cards. Next, it acquired U.S. Trust from Schwab, garnering the title of largest private bank in the United States. And then, just a month ago, it scored a victory that CEO Kenneth Lewis has been aiming for since taking the company’s reins in 2001: Bank of America passed rival Citigroup to become the largest U.S. bank based on market value. These developments have prompted financial expert Michael Sivy to predict that the Charlotte, N.C.-based

Five Ways to Make Your Fulfillment Piece Irresistible
September 20, 2006

Do you plan to generate leads through a direct mail or e-mail campaign? Will you be offering a fulfillment piece that can be downloaded from your Web site or sent via snail mail? Then you had better use a little imagination and creativity! You see, the days of telling prospects that they can get a free whitepaper are over. At least for successful companies. The whitepaper, as an offer, is so overused, tired and flat, that I urge my clients to try something different. Let’s take a look at five ways to make your next fulfillment piece so enticing that prospects will just have to request