The Hacker Group

Just Say No!
December 16, 2014

There is a great deal of information out there on how advertising and direct agencies can generate more new business. We're not going to talk about that today. Instead, we're going to talk about growing your business faster by saying no to a new client.

Everybody’s Going Nuts for ‘Big Data’
July 3, 2012

Eighteen years ago—shortly after I took over as editor of Target Marketing—I was granted an interview with the smartest list person I ever met, the late Rose Harper of the Kleid Company. She said: "With increasing concern about 'invasion of privacy,' those of us in the list business must do all we can to recognize and address this concern. The truth is we are not dossier compilers or personal investigators. But in today's world, what one is, is often less important than what one is perceived to be."

How Mobile Is Your Marketing?
July 1, 2011

Mobile is one of the fastest-changing channels in marketing today. CTIA-The Wireless Association reports that 96 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone; 37 percent of those are smartphones, according to The Nielsen Company's latest numbers, up from 28 percent in November 2010.

5 Ideas for Better B-to-B Mail Campaigns
October 28, 2009

New media sources might be multiplying like rabbits, but it's comforting to know the tried-and-true best practices of direct marketing tend to perform no matter the channel or medium.

Doing More With Less
March 1, 2008

Selling can be a delicate process requiring the finesse of a diamond cutter. I was approached recently by someone who wanted to sell me a service I have no need for now, but might at some time in the future. I told him I have no clients in this sector right now. He continues to e-mail me every couple of weeks, telling me how great his service is. I don’t need those e-mails; I have his contact information. And now he’s beginning to annoy me. On the other hand, I was approached a few months ago by another person who sells office furniture. My company is

Three Methods to Regain Control of Your Brand
December 12, 2007

General advertisers believe they are losing control of their brands. They’re wrong. They’ve never had control! Advertising is focused on changing the way people think, while direct marketing changes the way people act. Here are three ways to get your brand back: 1. Behavioral targeting is easy when your product/service is associated with a particular activity or pursuit. It can still be done, even with more general products and services—but it’s a bigger challenge. 2. If your marketing program is broken, you need to test everything. If your program is healthy, spend about 20 percent of your budget testing. If it’s somewhere in

Famous Last Words: Golf? No Thanks!
November 1, 2007

When I was a kid, I tried golf—once. I found my eyesight was so lousy—even with glasses—that every ball was a lost ball, even those that went straight down the fairway (which was almost never). I have not picked up a golf club since. In my Friday Philadelphia Inquirer, I received a massive lead-generation piece—a 16-page, 91⁄4˝ x 11˝ (one spread opened up to 361⁄2˝ across) color brochure flogging membership in The Cliffs golfing communities of South Carolina, and especially the new Tiger Woods-designed golf course at High Carolina. This piece—which must have cost 50 cents with printing and insertion—came through my door mail slot in

Three Ways to Prevent Multichannel Failure
October 10, 2007

In the mad rush to get their multichannel marketing plans going full-steam, many companies lose sight of some multichannel fundamentals. “In a dysfunctional multichannel environment, everyone has a separate P&L, everyone is taking credit for each other’s sales, and no one understands where sales are coming from,” asserts Mark Swedlund, senior vice president of Haggin Marketing, a multichannel agency based in San Francisco. Here are three ways to get past the multichannel stumbling blocks: 1. Watch for siloed organizations. When the marketing people don’t talk to the sales people or the online folks don’t strategize with the offline bunch, trouble brews. Such trouble can

Smile—and Flash Your pURLy Sites
October 1, 2007

Direct marketers have worked for decades to personalize their contacts with customers. Back in the 1940s, for example, after a human typed “Dear Eric” on the first line of a sheet of paper, the remainder of the sales pitch would be typed automatically by a player piano roll that was hooked up to a typewriter. By the 1970s, people saw their names on contest letters from Reader’s Digest and thought they might be winners. With new technology comes new ways to personalize pitches, and the personalized URL—or pURL—is a new tool that will bring great benefits to marketers who know how to use it correctly.

Marketing Is Everything
June 13, 2006

Sim Wong Hoo blew it. In 2000 the Singapore entrepreneur came up with the idea that eventually became the iPod. He was approached several times by Apple’s Steve Jobs to do a joint venture. Jobs was turned down, and Sim went his own way—creating half-baked in-house marketing materials and doing no brand advertising. Jobs brought out the iPod and ate Sim’s lunch; now Sim is suing for a patent infringement. It seems inventors like to invent, but they operate on the better mousetrap theory—that buyers will beat a path to their door. “Build it and they will come,” was the refrain in Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams.” “Build it