Jeffrey Chodorow

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.

“Never compete with China on cost,” said guru Tom Peters, “and never compete with Wal-Mart on price.” Ever since 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, the company has operated on a one-size-fits-all marketing philosophy: offer good merchandise at the lowest prices to all customers. And it worked just fine. In its 45th year, Wal-Mart’s $345 billion in sales is more than the GDP of Austria. Now Wal-Mart is coming around to the way direct marketers think—that if you know who your customers are, you can serve them better and make more money. According to Michael Barbaro’s New York

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” wrote A.J. Leibling, the late, great New Yorker journalist. Not so. If you want to pony up $30,000 to $80,000, you can buy a full-page ad in The New York Times and write a long letter that says pretty much anything you like. Last Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007, three such letters appeared: 1. From aggrieved restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, whose new steak house was dissed by The New York Times food critic, Frank Bruni. 2. From JetBlue founder and CEO, David Neeleman, apologizing for the mess he made in dealing with the ice

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