George Duncan

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 it comes to creating responsible direct mail, every marketer worth his or her salt will say the same thing: “Deliver on what you promise.” And while this maxim typically refers to an offer strategy or product benefit list, the same also can hold true for another element: the teaser. Creatively, teasers long have been implemented to arouse a prospect’s interest in a mailing, spurring them to open the envelope and further explore its contents. But even more so, according to direct mail writer and consultant George Duncan, “[They] also provide a statement or promise that the reader can agree with. He or she

If the size of your budget for testing leaves more than a little something to be desired, the following lower cost testing ideas from freelance copywriter and direct marketing consultant George Duncan could help you get the most insight for your investment. Idea #1: Try testing new lists with your control offer on an oversized or double postcard in place of your full bore–meaning expensive—control package. Idea #2: Don’t spend test dollars on lists with low counts. Add them incrementally to continuations and rollouts. Idea #3: Confine your testing to off-season months, so you don’t cut into your control package’s more profitable results during peak sales periods. Idea

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

Strong direct mail copy starts with detailed market and product research The first preparation for writing direct mail copy that gets results is to pack in at least 30 years of life experience and, somewhere along the line, do some selling … if it isn’t too late to suggest that. It also will help if you diversify your life experience as much as possible. For example, even if you’re pushing 40, you should not ignore MTV, Fox and VH-1 TV channels. At the other end of the spectrum, America is getting older. And older folks, historically, have been great direct response customers. The overall

Finding the balance between mailing too often and not often enough By George Duncan If I'm recalling it accurately, back it the 1950s, what was then the Columbia Record Club was mailing selections to its customers every month. Twelve cycles per year. Then someone suggested mailing every four weeks. There was much discussion about how this new frequency might "fatigue" the list. Of course, Columbia tested it, and to everyone's surprise and delight, the test was a huge success. Not only did the record club gain a cycle each year, but sales per cycle increased substantially. In today's volatile consumer environment, however,

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