John Caples

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

Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at or call (973) 263-0562.

Since this is the Target Marketer of the Year issue, let’s reflect on the great marketers of all time. Here are the mentors I wish I had. To this day I continue to read their work and marvel how their marketing philosophy, smarts and rules of the road apply directly to the data-mania environment of today.

As writer of five columns a week, my inbox is a veritable cascade of news releases. Sometimes there are 50 a day or more. A good 90 percent of them are unreadable. But a couple of weeks ago, a subject line popped out of the morass: "Infographic: Who is a fraud perpetrator?" What followed was an email release—perfect in every way:

I recently came across an article in a marketing trade publication (not this one) praising some top B-to-B ad agencies for supposedly creating great print ads. I was blown away—but not in a good way.

As founders and proprietors of the WHO'S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and massive archive of junk mail, Peggy and I spent years tracking and analyzing winning packages. Our only object: To show and describe what works—and why—and the basic rules for success. I now believe the only thing to make creatives see the light is to rub their noses in obvious crap. So here goes

Newspaper journalists always spell "lead" as "lede." In their argot, a "headline" is a "hed." What triggered this column was Hewlett-Packard's full-page advertisement in The New York Times of July 18, 2014, costing $194,166.00. "The wickedest of all sins is to run an advertisement with no headline,"

In early April, I received a press release about Americans losing millions of jobs annually. It was a mess. As you can see, this is a gray wall of tiny type. "Avoid gray walls of type," counseled the great guru David Ogilvy.

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