Mission, Kan.

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

With the New Year here, Target Marketing spoke with industry experts about a number of issues, from cross-channel communication to consumer privacy, to discover what marketers need to focus on in 2012.

Copy on the front of the envelope remains the tried-and-true method for most mailers to reach prospects. It's where you find teasers, offers, deadlines, personalized data, etc.—and these approaches run the gamut, from oversize formats with scarcely any copy/images to smaller efforts that are covered with copy and have full-bleed images.

The Internet age has been both a blessing and a curse for direct mail. On one hand, there is less mail in the physical mailbox, as many marketers have reduced their volumes in favor of e-mail messaging. On the other, prospects appear to make more rapid-fire decisions about their mail.

“Sex appeal”—it sounds so “red lights and velvet.” I think about fashionable women’s magazines and the “advice” they provide for putting forth the better you. Stealing a page from Cosmo, I’ll talk about your online sex appeal and how to make your Web site “hot.”

You can call it barbecue, barbeque, BBQ or just plain ’cue. Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, of course, calls it business. In particular, it’s a family business that started in 1957 when the Fiorella clan opened the first of its barbecue restaurants in Kansas City, Mo., called Smoke Stack Barbecue. In 1974, the eldest Fiorella son, Jack, added another branch to the family trade by opening his own operation, which he later distinguished by renaming it Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue, introducing hickory wood to the grilling process and adding seafood to the more traditional pork, poultry and beef offerings.

There’s an economic concept known as the “wealth effect.” In essence, the wealth effect postulates that as consumers’ portfolios expand in times of strong economic conditions, their spending increases. In other words, as people’s wealth increases, their spending increases regardless of disposable income.

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