Carol Worthington-Levy

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.

Mishandling creative will impede success in any direct marketing environment, be it online or in print. No matter how strong the concept, if the creative fails in any way — the copy or the design — it will never perform as well. And within the broad realm of creative, one of the most important tools for driving success — and one of the least understood — is color.

In developing marketing campaigns that truly resonate with audiences, intimate information is key to success. Once you know more about the target customer than age and income, and get into compelling facts about lifestyle (and maybe more), you can, in copy and design, create a much more compelling and successful effort.

Reply form. Order card. Action device. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying that little—or sometimes big—slip of paper carries a lot of weight. As Carol Worthington-Levy, partner, creative services, at consulting firm LENSER, asserts, “People will head right for the reply form first, and then they head for the letter. … There is a mind set and a cultural training that has us looking for the one piece in a mailing where it says what [we] need to do to learn more or get this product or service.” Case in point is the voucher format that has been dominating the publishing

Note: Denny Hatch personally replies to all correspondence. Readers respond to “Last Prankster Standing,” published June 28,2006, that described the great British graffitist, Banksy. Another delightful column! May I share with you an office prank that I once pulled off? As it is about direct mail, you may find it of amusement. About 10 years ago I was an Account Executive for the Seattle-based Domain Group. I worked from home in Northern Virginia on accounts generally around Washington and up to New York. I visited Seattle about once a month, but only a few of the more than 150 agency employees knew me except that

By Tracy A. Gill When your list selection is spot-on, your offer is proven and your content is king, testing different design elements can be a simple but lucrative way to give your control a major lift. The key to getting this kind of boost from a design re-do, explains Grant Johnson, president and chief marketing officer of Brookfield, Wisc.-based consultancy Johnson Direct, is to make meaningful changes—beyond just changing the color of the outer envelope or the font of the teaser—and to do it with the consumer in mind. What will he react to? What will stop him in his tracks?

By Tracy A. Gill If you are reading this article, then I don't have to sell you on the value of newsletters. Each month, you turn to this newsletter—we hope, anyway—looking for news, tips, case studies and advice that can help you improve your direct mail efforts. Are your customers and prospects really all that different from you? They may not have a need for the kind of in-depth analysis of direct mail that Inside Direct Mail provides, but they certainly are interested in information that can enhance their lives and their careers. Nathan Chapman, president of The Marketing Center (TMC),

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