Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

In the U.S., the main package delivery organizations marketers cite are the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx. In addition, those entities often work with each other. Not so much in Europe, where FedEx just agreed to buy a rival for $4.8 billion, according to the company's announcement on Tuesday. However, similar to its reasons for growth in the U.S., FedEx names e-commerce as the reason it's doubling its market share in Europe by purchasing TNT Express.

A common refrain from marketers is that they can't find qualified hires for the new data-driven jobs. To that end, the Direct Marketing Association's Marketing EDGE arm works to ensure college students learn about direct marketing and join the field. Now, if an initiative from President Barack Obama becomes a reality, Americans with less of an edge can get trained in the "TechHire Initiative."

FedEx has been “systematically overcharging” customers by billing businesses and government offices at higher residential rates, a company sales executive said in an internal email unsealed in a lawsuit. “I have brought this to attention of many people over the past five or six years, including more than one managing director, and no action has been taken to address it,” Alan Elam wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 2, 2011. “My belief is that we are choosing not to fix this issue because it is worth so much money to FedEx”

A few days ago, I received an odd direct-mail solicitation from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Memphis. When a friend asked me to make a donation to the hospital to honor the memory of a child who had died, I dutifully mailed in a small check. Now, more than a year later, St. Jude sent an appeal for another gift.

Check out the “In the News” story at right. The Philadelphia Inquirer chose a headline with a local slant. “The Drudge Report” said it better:

Woman Lost Millions With Madoff, Now Cleans Houses ...

My private dossier on Bernie Madoff—who admitted to running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme for years—is bulging with 44 stories (so far). Madoff was an intermediary: He got between investors and savers and their money.

Our lives and businesses are totally entangled with intermediaries. And some of them are very, very bad.

This is about disintermediation:

The elimination of intermediaries in the supply chain, also referred to as "cutting out the middlemen."

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