Make an Offer, Not a Threat
October 1, 2014

By 2007, the only sound coming out of Newsweek was a death rattle. A half-million subscribers were cut from the rate base; in 2008, more than 100 staffers were axed; and, in 2012, editor Tina Brown folded the print edition and announced the future was digital. Whereupon, Newsweek totally dropped off of my radar screen.

Denny's Daily Zinger: Can You Bring Back a Dead Brand?
January 29, 2014

A catalog that keeps dead brands alive—memories of your grandparents' childhood—is Voice of the Mountains, published by the Vermont Country Store. Among the stuff they sell: Wooden Pick-up Sticks, The Original 1935 Monopoly Game, Zud Heavy Duty Cleanser Powder. Plus slews more oldies and goodies

America’s CEOs Are Lemmings!
October 22, 2013

Remember lemmings? They are little arctic rodents that multiply quickly and destroy their habitats by overeating, over-breeding and over-excreting. In desperation, they try to swim to a new location. They are legendary for blindly following each other over cliffs and into water where—if the distance is too great—they drown. Some call it mass suicide.

Annoying Emails Work Better Than You Think
June 6, 2013

The broad targeting of soccer moms and NASCAR dads was all in the past. Now it was about using “proclivity models” and other analytical tools to mobilize and persuade and make voter contact more efficient. Whether a voter was an 85 on the support scale or a six on the persuasion scale was more important than if she was a young African-American woman in Pittsburgh or he was an old Jewish man in Cleveland or vice versa. Some tech staffers had dismissed email as old-fashioned and uncool, without understanding how indispensable it would be in saving the campaign.

New York Stock Exchange Joins Content Marketing Push
June 5, 2013

The 225-year-old New York Stock Exchange may be perceived as old-school, but it's trying to prove it’s as digital as the next brand by capitalizing on the content marketing trend. To that end, NYSE has just launched a standalone site, called The Big Stage. Designed by Digitas, it's a photo-heavy platform that’s reminiscent of the visually-rich treatments seen on some mainstream news sites. Visitors will find videos, feel-good profiles and Q&As around NYSE-listed companies and their executives. "Second Servings" looks at the tough but hug-happy executive who's behind the remake of IHOP, while "Animal Pharm"

USPS's Top 10 Stories of 2012
January 2, 2013

The Postal Service faced its own fiscal cliff in 2012 while the larger mailing industry continued to press for reform and innovation. But don’t count mail out just yet. A strong election season reminded many Americans that mail still matters, even in the digital age. And in Europe, one postal operator didn’t let 500 years of history stand in the way of reinventing itself. Looking over the headlines, the staff at the Office of Inspector General has pulled together the list below of the top 10 postal stories for 2012. After you read them, vote for your top story

7 Secrets to a Successful Direct Mail Campaign
June 26, 2012

Direct mail is one of the most overlooked yet one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to dramatically increase the leads to your business. ... Direct mail and direct marketing are trackable, inexpensive and the results are easily measurable. No matter what your business is, lead generation is vital. Direct mail is a great way to have a predictable number of leads coming into your pipeline each and every week or month for a low cost. Below are the seven keys that I have noticed from my own real estate business and from studying direct marketing

DATA RAPE: The New Direct Marketing
November 2, 2010

"As political professionals, the more data we have, the happier we are," Indianapolis Republican consultant Kristen Luidhardt told The Wall Street Journal."We'd love to know absolutely everything about you."

Au contraire, Kristen. When your communications are as intrusive as your data collection, you’re not only going to spook everybody and piss them off big time, but also trash your brand.

A case in point, Ms. Republican consultant, is the blizzard of robo-calls from floundering, desperate office-seekers―and their spouses and assorted pimps at all hours of the day and evening over the past three weeks―that have only crystallized my contempt for all politicians and all parties.

For the first time in 55 years, I may sit out today’s election. It doesn’t matter who wins any more. They’re all a bunch of four-flushers in my book.

Dumb It Down!
April 1, 2009

People love talking about themselves. Many years ago, I had a client who mailed consumer surveys, which were happily filled out and returned by the zillions. All kinds of questions were asked: on toothpaste, leisure activities, travel, vehicle ownership, hobbies and interests, auto insurance, etc. Much of the information the responders revealed was highly confidential, especially in the area of health.

Marketable Smiles
February 1, 2009

Smile! Dentists make a promising market for anyone targeting entrepreneurs or medical professionals. There are more than 228,000 dentists in the U.S., according to the American Dental Association (ADA), and their incomes tend to start at more than $100,000 and reach more than $200,000 later on, particularly for specialists.