Ed McLean

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.

By 2007, the only sound coming out of Newsweek was a death rattle. A half-million subscribers were cut from the rate base; in 2008, more than 100 staffers were axed; and, in 2012, editor Tina Brown folded the print edition and announced the future was digital. Whereupon, Newsweek totally dropped off of my radar screen.

Last month I went looking for a pair of 8-1/2 EEEE shoes on the Zappos.com. I spent a long time with Zappos (a subsidiary of Amazon.com) and found the shoes I wanted. For reasons to be explained later, I went direct to the website of the manufacturer—New Balance—and bought my shoes there.

What's been at the heart of direct mail's success over the years? Measurability and testability. The primary reason direct mail is, and has been, one of the most successful forms of marketing is our ability to test and measure everything from envelopes, postcards and messages.

People love talking about themselves. Many years ago, I had a client who mailed consumer surveys, which were happily filled out and returned by the zillions. All kinds of questions were asked: on toothpaste, leisure activities, travel, vehicle ownership, hobbies and interests, auto insurance, etc. Much of the information the responders revealed was highly confidential, especially in the area of health.

Yahoo! has been instructed not to filter my e-mail for spam. I want to see everything. What are the new trends? How many millions does Mme. Obi-Wan Kenobi want to transfer into my bank account from Darfur? What is the current method of spelling V*I-A*grA? “One mathematically minded blogger who looked into it,” wrote Michael Specter in the Aug. 6, 2007, New Yorker, “found that there are 600,426,974,379,824, 381,952 ways to spell Viagra.” Specter’s 4,600-word article is almost the last word on spam—a monumental discourse on the history, arithmetic (amount of spam and the ROI needed to make a profit), how it works and

By Hallie Mummert I remember the first time I met Ed McLean. We were at the launch of Denny Hatch's Direct Mail Package Days, a two-day seminar devoted to nothing but direct mail and the incomparable people who breathe life into their clients' products and services. Being only 23 at the time, I was greatly intimidated by these direct mail stars—Marty Davidson, Barbara Harrison, Ted Kikoler, Herschell Gordon Lewis and, of course, McLean—and yet still didn't fully realize that I was in the presence of greatness. I would love to say that McLean put me at ease right away, but that wasn't his

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