The Wall Street Journal

December 1, 2003

By Denny Hatch I've been an American Express Cardmember since 1964. As a company that has been in business for a long time, you would think it would have business on the Internet aced. Think again. I lost my American Express platinum card (for which I pay $300 a year) and wanted to report it. I went on Google and searched both "American Express Platinum Card" and "American Express," and went through screen after screen looking for how to report a lost card. Finally I found an 800 number to report a lost card and dialed it. The recorded message: "You have

We're #18. We Try Harder
November 1, 2003

By Lois K. Geller Do you remember the Avis No. 2 campaign? "We're #2, We Try Harder." It was brilliant. Hertz's reaction also was brilliant. In an article I read a few years ago, Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer of advertising agency TBWAWorldwide, recalled that the president of No. 1 Hertz told his ad agency something like this: "I don't want us to talk about efficiency, clean cars, price, anything like that. The competition can duplicate all those things tomorrow. What I want our advertising to do is to make people like us." Make people like you. What a concept. By the

A Lesson in Postal History
October 1, 2003

By Lois K. Geller It was a cold and snowy day in our nation's capital. I had just finished speaking at the Travel Learning Conference. My son, Paul, came by to tell me he had a real treat in store for me. The snow in Washington, D.C., was 4 inches deep and looked as if it would get much worse. I silently hoped that the treat involved a fireplace and maybe chamomile tea, but I knew better. Just as I feared, the treat involved more of a Valley Forge experience. We donned heavy boots, bundled up and trudged through the suddenly cab-less streets. As

Perceived Value and the Internet ?
June 1, 2003

By Denny Hatch Philadelphia has two entrepreneur restaurateurs—Stephen Starr and Neil Stein—who have created some wonderful eating and drinking emporia. Stephen Starr's hottest new establishment is Morimoto, created around the "Iron Chef," a fascinating television show on the Food Network. Neil Stein, who owes a ton of back taxes to the city, just filed for Chapter 11. I won't eat at a Neil Stein restaurant. The reason: Peggy and I had dinner at his pricey saloon, Avenue B. We ordered white wine by the glass, the price per glass being about what I pay for a bottle of white at my

Set Your Search Engine Marketing Preferences (1,596 words)
April 1, 2003

By Brian Howard Search and deploy. Just ten years ago, who had ever heard of a search engine? Now search engines are vital links between ready-to-buy Web surfers and Web sites seeking traffic. A mitigating factor in the dot-com crash was the fact that the concept of display advertising (randomly placed banner ads) was too unreliable as a means of driving traffic and leads to a Web site. Mere clicks and hits are meaningless without some sort of inherent intent to buy. Search engines have become the Internet's robotic lead-qualifiers, matching interested buyers with willing sellers. But getting your site listed on a search

Don't Hit 'Send' ... Yet
March 1, 2003

The Internet's Lightning Speed Is No Excuse For Shoddy Communication By Alicia Orr Suman I just figured out how to adjust the "send" option on my laptop's e-mail. It had been set to send all messages immediately—big mistake. Several times I've hit send only to regret it a few seconds later. A half-written message inadvertently goes out, or worse, a message written hastily is sent without my really having first thought of the consequences of sending it. The absolute wonder of the Internet is that it allows us to communicate at light speed: Just click and go. But it carries with it an

Just About Anything Can be Sold Via Direct Mail (949 words)
February 1, 2003

By Lois K. Geller Looking at mail on a snowy eve. Christmas in New York means mail. I get bills, catalogs, happy holidays cards, fascinating letters about "what the (NAME HERE) family did last year," solo mailers, self-mailers, letters from good friends, and a special kind of mail from "other friends" that starts to come in mid-December. These other friends are the wonderful people who look after my neighbors and me all year long. My favorite is the annual "Seasons Greetings" from the 21 employees of my apartment building. The folded single sheet someone slides under my door has blurry color photos of

Creative Independence
November 1, 2002

Mix Too Many Colors and You End Up With Mud. (Or: why you should give your creative pros the freedom to do what they do best) By Alicia Orr Suman Too many cooks spoil the broth, or so the old saying goes. And that's just what can happen in the creative process. Often, what seems like a hundred people—on the client side and often the agency side, too—get their hands in the pot, and collectively they make a mess of the project. Here are two instances of creative interference I recently encountered:

The Retail Threat is Real
October 1, 2002

Consumers Need a Compelling Reason to Buy By Mail By Alicia Orr Suman Newsflash: Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, posted second quarter sales gains of 26 percent. Target, another leading discounter, had a 16.2-percent revenue increase for the same period. The discounters are killing many traditional mall retailers—and also may be cutting into direct merchants' coffers. Are direct marketers missing the boat on some important consumer trends? What consumers want now. As I recently shopped for fall clothes for my daughter, not one of the catalogs I browsed gave me a compelling reason to buy from them. All had nice clothes and OK

Direct Marketer of the Year Brook Holmberg, Circulation Directo
October 1, 2002

Successfully Carrying On a Mission to Serve Mankind in the Face of Near Impossible Odds By Denny Hatch Brook Holmberg, a native of Minnesota, graduated in 1989 from The Principia, a liberal arts college for Christian Scientists in St. Louis, where he studied English literature and political science. In 1992, he was offered an internship at The Monitor Channel, a television channel in Boston, so he packed up his worldly goods and drove east. Between the time he left home and his arrival in Boston, the television arm of The Christian Science Monitor was no more. So he started as a production intern