Direct Marketer of the Year: Beth O’Rorke, COO and Vice President, The Economist
October 1, 2004

Playing by the old rules—and winning big. In 1981, Beth O’Rorke had been out of work for three months after spending a year as circulation manager for a start-up magazine called Prime Time, which had run out of money. Robert Cohn of the PDC circulation modeling consultancy steered O’Rorke to The Economist, a British magazine that needed someone to take charge of its direct mail, which she could do in her sleep. On her way to the interview with circulation director Peter Kennedy, O’Rorke bought a copy of the publication at a 42nd Street newsstand and blinked in disbelief. Here was a skinny little

Cover Story Profile - Select Comfort (2,858 words)
April 1, 2003

By Denny Hatch Where channel integration means a sales and marketing network that never rests. You have to be in awe of a company that opened its doors in 1987 and ended 2002 with 26 patents, 321 retail outlets, 25,000 testimonials from happy customers, net sales of $335.8 million and a dazzling stock performance in what can only be called a bungee-jumping market. The company is Select Comfort, headquartered in Minneapolis, manufacturer of beds that encompass a revolutionary design and blessed with a marketing team that rivals the legendary David Oreck and the wizards of Bose. About the Interview That Follows Noel

The Wireless World (782 words)
May 1, 2001

By Bill Robinson You cannot be involved in business today, much less technology, without being bombarded with talk of "wireless marketing" or "location-based services." Indeed, someday our cell phones (or whatever mobile devices win the day) will "know" where we are, thus generating the opportunity for marketers to directly engage us as consumers at the precise moment of our closest proximity. Walking by a shoe store? Your mobile device will alert you to a 10-percent discount on boots that day only. Is this direct marketers' Holy Grail or what? I say it's "or what." I'll grow to resent such marketing ploys, just as

Granta's Grand Control (1,483 words)
December 1, 1999

Ever since I bought the Granta issue called "Krauts!" the journal has had a special place in my heart. I was studying German around the time of the Reunification, and found that the blend of articles by top authors Granta published as a "group portrait" perfectly captured the strange truth about German culture in search of itself. The outright audacity of the issue title "Krauts!" is in sync with the equally daring approach taken in Granta's 14-year control mailing, "Throw Away This Envelope" (see below right.) Inside, the editor's letter reveals that this explosive reverse psychology is actually a trick playing on (a)

Magalogs - Send the Sizzle or the Steak (1,821 words)
May 1, 1999

by Denny Hatch A direct mail format that has always baffled me is the magalog—that curious 81⁄2˝ x 11˝ booklet that is a cross between a magazine and a catalog. The very first magalog was a self-mailer written by freelancer Dick Sanders and designed by freelancer William Fridrich in the mid-1980s for Dick Fabian's Telephone Switch Newsletter. Sanders' sales letters kept getting longer and longer, and he kept wanting to make them longer still. At the same time, the creative team felt the need to break up the information. Clearly a new format was needed, and since Fabian had done a self-mailer,

Ugly Mailings that Make Millions (1,396 words)
October 1, 1998

Looks can be deceiving, as the old saying goes. And it's espcially true when it comes to the mail. Often, what you might call "plain Jane" direct mail packages get the job done as well, if not better, than their fancier counterparts. Why? The answer is simple, really: These successful mailings were not designed to be beautiful; they were designed to get response...because that's the name of the game in our industry. Highly successful direct mail pieces—long-term controls that have made a lot of money for the companies that mail them—don't necessarily have slick brochures, colorful poly envelopes or expensive interactive devices