Pasadena, Calif.

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

This is the era of bad-ass bankers and banks "too big to fail." For example: In 2013, eight international banks were fined $2.3 billion in a global LIBOR-rigging scandal. In 2014, Wall Street banks and their foreign competitors were assessed fines of $100 billion as settlements in the financial crisis of 2008. Among them: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. This is roughly the entire GDP of Monaco.

Russ Reid, a direct marketing guru and founder of the agency that bears his name, died on Saturday in his Sierra Madre, Calif., home. According to Russ Reid Chairman Tom Harrison, he had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, but the cause of death was pneumonia. Reid was 82. “He was a giant in this industry,” said Harrison. “He basically invented a lot of aspects of direct response.” Reid founded his Pasadena, Calif.-based company in 1964. He retired in 2001, but remained interested in and involved with the agency

Their research resources may belong to the Internet age, but most charities still rely heavily on a distinctly low-tech fund-raising tool: direct mail. Indeed, nonprofits spent $1.8 billion on direct-mail solicitations last year. We asked experts to explain some of the strategy behind the carpet bombing. When Pasadena, Calif., marketing consultancy Russ Reid Co. asked donors how often they’d like to hear from their favorite charity, the typical answer was four times a year. But in follow-up tests, the firm found that fund-raising campaigns with 12 to 18 mailings a year were twice as profitable as those based on just three to six mailings. “It more than justifies the extra mailings and possible irritation factor,” says Russ Reid CEO Tom Harrison.

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