In the late 1960s, I went to work for the godfather of American political fundraising. Walter Weintz was the circulation director of Readers Digest before he went on to start his own direct mail agency. In 1952, Walt was ordered to take paid leave from the Digest to help get Eisenhower-Nixon elected. Using primitive data and old-fashioned direct mail testing, he revolutionized the business and philosophy of political campaigns. He not only generated votes, but-wonder of wonders-raised cash to pay for the mailings. For the first time this was cash from Joe and Jane Lunchbucket, not from rich high rollers.
Although digital marketing is considered to be a relatively new industry, many of the theories underlying it have been around for almost 90 years and are still generating sales for some of the Web’s biggest brands. In 1923, Claude C. Hopkins wrote "Scientific Advertising," one of the most valued resources in the advertising industry. Hopkins pioneered split testing of his ads and defined a set of principles which, when applied to digital marketing, can increase both traffic and conversions. David Ogilvy said: "Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read
"Success in direct mail," wrote the legendary guru Ed Mayer many years ago, "is 40 percent lists, 40 percent offer and 20 percent everything else." On the Internet, lists count the least. Names are so cheap, you can blitz the world practically for free.
Pegg Nadler loves the unknown. Where others see challenges, she sees opportunities. Where others fear change, she fears boredom. These are some of the qualities that have driven her 30-year direct marketing career, the bulk of which she's spent advancing database marketing operations at commercial and nonprofit organizations and giving back to the direct marketing community. And they're why she's Target Marketing magazine's Direct Marketer of the Year.
Is Half Your Advertising Wasted? It is imperative to make and offer and close the loop. Feb. 16, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 13 IN THE NEWS Retailers shift ad strategies in digital age CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. retailers are experimenting with new advertising strategies as they try to reach customers who fast-forward through television spots, block Internet pop-up ads and do not subscribe to newspapers. Television advertising isn't going away any time soon, and newspapers will remain a primary means of letting customers know about special sales, but retail marketing executives are increasingly turning to glossy direct-mail catalogs, online coupons and even
Spend Time on It, and You Can Change Your Life Jan. 19, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 5 IN THE NEWS More Jobs Being Found Online, but That Doesn't Mean It's Easy One of the first things Brooke Christiansen did as college graduation neared last spring was post her résumé on three of the largest Internet job boards: Monster, CareerBuilder and HotJobs. For the most part, she said, it was an exercise in frustration. —Barbara Whitaker, The New York Times, Jan. 15, 2006 Cover Letters Get You In the Door, So Be Sure Not to Dash Them Off A great cover letter is
By Denny Hatch Many years ago, freelancer Malcolm Decker wrote a major analysis of the direct mail package for my newsletter, Who's Mailing What! (now Inside Direct Mail). Decker likened direct mail to a sales team, with the envelope knocking on the door, the letter being the main salesman and the brochure acting as the demonstrator—a third member of the team who sits nearby and points to photos, graphs, charts, and illustrations and says, in effect, "See, everything the main salesmen (the letter) says is true." Decker wrote, "Be sure the right person signs the letters." Some time ago, two investors' newsletters—Advance Planning Letter
By Alicia Orr Suman Ask a dog lover to name his family members and he'll likely include Fido along with his wife and kids. "That's the nature of the pet owner," says Geoff Walker, CEO of PetFoodDirect.com, an Internet seller of pet food and other pet products. Particularly when it comes to dogs and cats, pets are seen as part of the family, and as such, people want the best for their pets—from toys and treats to food and healthcare. Last year, the Pet Food Institute reported there were more than 75 million pet
By Hallie Mummert After more than 40 years of perfecting the direct mail sweepstakes, Reader's Digest has closed its prize money vault. In 1998 newly appointed Reader's Digest Association CEO Tom Ryder saw the writing on the wall for the publishing giant, and announced a plan to revitalize the brand—starting with product improvements and a gradual weaning of sweepstakes promotions. Not surprisingly, this plan came at a time when Congress was pushing for sweepstakes reform, and the state attorneys general were punishing direct marketers they felt were the poster children of sweepstakes. Only a few years after strict legislation regulating sweepstakes promotions was passed
By Kate Mason If mailers look to the list industry as a barometer of direct marketing's overall health, they need not pull on their rainhats just yet! Even as uncertainty grips most markets—from catalogs to publishing—list companies are still expressing optimism about the future. John Papalia, president and CEO of Statlistics, poses a common attitude: "We may head into a long and difficult period of time and direct marketing has never known such a period or experienced a prolonged war time economy. I'm optimistic that America will flourish, but I'm hesitant to make any predictions right now." Despite the effects of a staggering