Bernie Madoff

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 dennyhatch.com.

When it comes to social media networks, my sense is that anybody playing the LinkedIn or Facebook game is looking for trouble. And God knows what photograph will be dredged up .

Of the eight key copy drivers—the emotional hot buttons that make people act—the most mysterious is exclusivity.

I never really understood exclusivity until Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme put a spotlight on it. As Laurence Leamer wrote in The Huffington Post:

It was an honor having him handle your fortune. He didn't take just anybody. He turned down all kinds of people, and that made you want to give the man even more of your money. When he took your fortune, he told you that he would tell you nothing about how he achieved his returns. He was a god. He had the Midas touch.

Web sites have been built on this exclusivity thing. Among them: Gilt.com, RueLaLa.com and HauteLook.com. They offer to “members only” the same upmarket designer merchandise sold by Saks, but at deeply discounted sale prices during specific time periods.

Saks is fighting back with an exclusive online “private event” that the CEO of HauteLook.com calls “the new way of retail.”

It ain’t new.

Saks is engaging in a technique as old as the hills. It’s called good, ol'-fashioned, time-tested, accountable direct marketing.

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