The Wall Street Journal
So we've made it through Thanksgiving weekend, 2014. And you'd believe the newspaper business was healthy! My recycling bucket of newsprint and assorted fliers touting "Black Friday" would have challenged Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead, the task of getting it onto the sidewalk fell to me. Umph.
The U.S. Postal Service needs to compete to survive and that means acting more like a private business, says Megan J. Brennan. To that end, the USPS needs to concentrate on direct mail and package delivery, says the first female postmaster general who will take over after Patrick R. Donahoe retires on Feb. 1. Brennan details a few of her plans for the USPS in a Sunday article in The Wall Street Journal.
Just when it seems like the U.S. Postal Service is hanging a lot of its growth options on Amazon (think grocery and package delivery), Amazon decides it wants to see other deliverypeople. Amazon is considering whether to expand its package-delivery-by-taxi service beyond its test cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, reports The Wall Street Journal.
By 2007, the only sound coming out of Newsweek was a death rattle. A half-million subscribers were cut from the rate base; in 2008, more than 100 staffers were axed; and, in 2012, editor Tina Brown folded the print edition and announced the future was digital. Whereupon, Newsweek totally dropped off of my radar screen.
Facebook is promising the world—or that its Atlas solution can lift the marketing world on its shoulders. Using the term "people-based" instead of "customer-centric," Atlas announced the solution that's been around since 2001 is "rebuilt" and is being relaunched so "marketers can easily solve the cross-device problem through targeting, serving and measuring across devices." Using the data Facebook has on its more than 1.3 billion monthly users, "Atlas by Facebook" can find consumers and serve ads to them elsewhere on the Internet through partnerships with search, social, creative management companies and publishers.
In my Sept. 10 "Zinger" I wrongfully accused New York Times journalist Helene Cooper of creating an unreadable sentence of 76 words. In actuality, she wrote two very difficult sentences of 36 words and 40 words, respectively. I missed a period. My apologies to Helene Cooper and apologies to all readers. And many thanks to the 12 readers who took the time to write in and set me straight.
From Peter Hochstein to Denny Hatch, 10:40 a.m: "Denny, a heads up. Your piece today centering on Ivory soap refers to a New York Times story, but the link takes readers to a Wall Street Journal story. Not exactly the end of the world, but you might want to get it fixed."
I once had lunch with Dr. Seuss at the Four Seasons in New York along with Elsworth Howell, President of Grolier Enterprises and Lew Smith, his marketing and creative VP. It was the 1960s. New York Post gossip columnist Leonard Lyons was walking around, pencil and notebook in hand, looking for material. Howell called him over to the table, "Hey Leonard, come meet Dr. Seuss!"
Who still sends direct mail? Many of the most successful companies in the U.S. In fact, nine of the top 10 on this year's Top 50 Mailers list are also on the Fortune 500 (including GEICO, which is a part of Berkshire Hathaway), and the one that isn't happens to be one of the world's largest nonprofit clubs (AAA). Once again, Target Marketing has teamed with Who's Mailing What! (WMW!) and its impressive library of current direct mail to track the top mailers of the past year.
Many years ago, a giant USPS truck backed up to a house in Greenwich, Conn. and dumped 14,000 identical mailings onto the front lawn. The offer: membership in The Beginning Reader's Club—the Dr. Seuss books by mail. The beleaguered homeowner told the local newspaper he was very surprised, especially because he and his wife had no kids.