Bill Christensen

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

When I read the review of “The Checklist Manifesto” by Dr. Atul Gawande, I ordered it on my Kindle.

Three minutes later I was totally hooked—engrossed in graphic descriptions of hospital emergency rooms where patients’ lives depended on split-second decisions by health care professionals operating as a team and guided by mental checklists. If they ignored a step or failed to communicate, the patient would assume room temperature—forever.

The author’s argument is simple: Checklists in this complex, high-tech world are indispensable.

It occurred to me that some years ago I created a checklist for direct marketers, and that it was currently residing on my Web site, Given my newfound interest in checklists, I decided to revisit it. The thing was OK as far as it went, but woefully inadequate. So I reworked it.

I believe the revised and expanded checklist that follows will be useful to the 20- and 30-something newbies entering this business who are handed decision-making authority beyond their experience.

It's also invaluable to us addled seniors, who tend to forget things.

The Magic of the Two-line Address When I was growing up on Long Island, the mailman frequently would deliver an envelope addressed as follows: Mr. Alden Hatch Cedarhurst, New York The letter could come from anywhere in the world and in just two lines—six words—reach my father out of more than 2 billion people on the planet. This never ceased to amaze me. Every son hopes to outdo the father. So when I became a member of AOL, I had a one-line address: Think of it! In this horrendously complex world with 6.5 billion people, I am reachable with one line—17 characters and a dot—from anyplace on earth and

This past November, former Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy died at the age of 89. It was McCarthy, a bookish, low-key intellectual, who, you’ll recall, startled the country and the world by announcing he would challenge the incumbent president, Lyndon B. Johnson, for the 1968 Democratic nomination. Johnson was mired in the Vietnam War with hundreds of body bags coming home every week. McCarthy made his announcement in the Senate Caucus Room in the Capitol. He said, “My decision to challenge the president’s position and the administration position has been strengthened by recent announcements of the administration, the evident intention to escalate and to intensify the

Fulfillment has many faces in the direct marketing industry. Not only do we use this broad term to cover what probably first comes to mind—product fulfillment— we also lump in subscription fulfillment, literature and promotional fulfillment, direct mail fulfillment and Internet fulfillment. The single unifying factor all these faces of fulfillment share is that they must fulfill a request, inquiry or order coming in from a customer or prospect. Somebody wants something you have and you have to figure out how to get it to him. Plus, and this is increasingly important in the "click-to" era we've entered, the response must be handled

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