Make an Offer
August 1, 2008

How important is the offer in B-to-B marketing? Very. I have seen numerous tests in which a simple change of offer has increased the response rate by 25 percent to 900 percent-dramatically improving return on marketing dollars. The best of these B-to-B offers share six common characteristics, and to lift your response rates, your offers should, too.

Spam Spammity Spam. It’s Well Worth Studying.
August 21, 2007

Yahoo! has been instructed not to filter my e-mail for spam. I want to see everything. What are the new trends? How many millions does Mme. Obi-Wan Kenobi want to transfer into my bank account from Darfur? What is the current method of spelling V*I-A*grA? “One mathematically minded blogger who looked into it,” wrote Michael Specter in the Aug. 6, 2007, New Yorker, “found that there are 600,426,974,379,824, 381,952 ways to spell Viagra.” Specter’s 4,600-word article is almost the last word on spam—a monumental discourse on the history, arithmetic (amount of spam and the ROI needed to make a profit), how it works and

When and If to Pull Your Ads
April 17, 2007

Don Imus—and his producer, Bernard McGuirk—have a long history of using the airwaves for sexism, racism, gay bashing and borderline slander of people and organizations that crossed them or whom they simply found to be irritating. Management would wince, but always give Imus a pass, because of the gorgeous lucre he brought in annually—a reported $22 million to CBS Radio and $8 million for MSNBC. When he stepped over the line with his gratuitous slur of the Rutgers women’s championship basketball team, Imus was suspended for two weeks by MSNBC and CBS radio, which carried him on more than 60 stations. The CEOs figured

Famous Last Words: Is Grossman’s Math Still Alive?
August 1, 2006

For years, the coin of the realm for magazine circulation efforts was the double postcard. The advantages of the double postcard over a full-dress package: • It mailed at a special low First Class rate, because if the bottom half was used, postage would be collected for mail going both directions. • It’s quick and cheap to produce and stockpile. • It’s easy to personalize and takes color well. • Upfront response usually beats full-dress packages. The disadvantages: • Bill-me is the only payment option so pay-up is lousy. • Can only be used for a well-known or self-descriptive product (e.g., TIME, Philadelphia magazine) going to an obvious universe. This past June, I

July 20, 2006

Readers Respond to “Book Pirates!” published July 18, 2006, which discussed Kessinger Publishing’s copyright theft. A fine depiction of your copyright problem. Since the damages occurred where you live, how about filing for the max in small claims court—separately—against all parties involved. That way they have to show up in your local court, without lawyers and at the mercy of your neighborhood judge. Subpoena their records relevant to the infringements. If they don’t supply them, they lose. Very unlikely they’ll want to show up and, if not, they lose. You can usually collect via local sheriffs or similar. My guess is that you’ll get some

The Passing of Ed McLean
December 1, 2005

In the 1970s—before telemarketing, infomercials and spam—direct mail was the main response medium. And like every medium, direct mail had its stars—a charmed circle of brilliant copywriters whose names were synonymous with big results and big fees. Among them: Bill Jayme, Chris Stagg, Frank Johnson, Linda Wells, David Ogilvy, Maxwell Sackheim and Ed McLean. With the passing of Ed McLean on Aug. 13 at age 77 after a long illness, the last of the great stars has ceased to shine. McLean was a very special guy—short, funny as hell, with a small mustache and an impish smile. He was enormously supportive when my wife,

The Unforgiving Internet
September 6, 2005

Editors as chumps and four lives ruined Vol. 1 Issue #28 IN THE NEWS CARBONDALE, Ill. - Kodee Kennings' story was pure gold. For nearly two years, the motherless 8-year-old spoke and wrote movingly of her struggle to deal with her soldier father being shipped off to fight in Iraq, and Southern Illinois University's student newspaper chronicled her thoughts in its pages. But there was no Kodee Kennings, and the elaborate hoax exposed Friday left The Daily Egyptian embarrassed. --Jim Suhr "Series is exposed as hoax, retracted by student paper" Associated Press, Aug. 29, 2005

Time Warner and the Vision Thing
August 18, 2005

As Time Warner Goes, So Goes TIME IN THE NEWS Despite recent major world events like the London terrorist bombings in July and the late December tsunami in Thailand, newsweeklies continued to struggle for the first half of the year. Time magazine, published by Time Inc., saw circulation remain flat for the period at 4.05 million, while newsstand sales dipped 3.4 percent to 157,217 copies. Newsweek saw its newsstand sales plummet 14 percent to 126,163, while total paid circulation rose 1.8 percent to 1.05 million. --Stephanie D. Smith "ABC: Celeb Titles Enjoy Circ Gains" MEDIAWEEK.COM, Aug. 16, 2005 NEW YORK - Financier Carl Icahn

Whispering Down the Lane at Harvard
August 4, 2005

Prexy pilloried for a speech nobody read "When an individual assumes certain positions of public responsibility, we require him to place his financial assets in a blind trust. We do this in order that he not profit personally from his office. When an individual assumes the presidency of a great university, we require him to place his testicles in a blind trust. We do this in order that he not rebel against the dictates of political correctness." --Roger Kimball "Dr. West and Mr. Summers: A Harvard Tale--Cornel West vs. Larry Summers" National Review, January 28, 2002 The resignation of Conrad K. Harper--distinguished New York

A Tragedy of Errors-Six Words That Roiled the World
June 2, 2005

It has been a big year (so far) for public relations catastrophes and crisis management. But no story can compare with Newsweek's huge gaffe when investigative reporters Michael Isikoff and John Barry wrote the following in the Periscope column in the May 9, 2005, Newsweek: Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. These six words--"flushed a Qur'an down a toilet" --traversed the globe, reportedly caused riots in the Arab world where 16 people were killed and more than