Dear Denison Hatch

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.

A 26-year veteran of the Ford Motor Company, Michael D. Richards, was appointed general marketing manager of Lincoln Mercury in January 2006. Prior to that, he served as Ford’s customer service division general sales manager and regional manager for the California region and the Detroit region. Does customer service experience qualify him to oversee a direct marketing lead-generation campaign for Lincoln cars? Hardly. Richards sent me a mailing so humongous—a 10˝ x 15 1⁄2 ˝ four-color outer envelope—that it dominated everything that had come through the mail slot. Inside the carrier envelope were two elements: a giant 20-page, four-color brochure on heavy paper stock

I’ve been reading obituaries since the age of 12, fascinated to see how entire lives have been summed up in a few paragraphs. Last week a The New York Times headline about the passing of George Wetherill, 80, described him as an “Expert on Dating of Rocks.” Did dating of rocks mean determining their age? Or did he study people who liked to take rocks out to dinner and a movie? Either way, I wasn’t interested enough in his life and career to read on. Nor am I real interested in people who spend their lives in the credit card business—the delivery of financial nicotine to

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