John Klingel

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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

You can nominate our 2016 Target Marketer of the Year. Clicking on the Web form here allows you to fill in who you think represents the best marketer for 2016, because this person embodies the best marketing has to offer — professional accomplishment, integrity, innovation and service to the marketing community.

Dawn Zier is thriving in the frenzied pace of an Internet-ruled world for at least two reasons: Seemingly impossible challenges intrigue her, and she's chosen to live by her parents' words to "be the best that you can be." So far, that mentality is serving her and the company she heads well. Zier, the president and CEO of Fort Washington, Penn.-based weight loss meal plan provider Nutrisystem, is largely credited with turning the fortunes of her company around. Taking the position in November 2012, she inherited a company that had seen sales plummet 42 percent since 2008. Under her leadership, Nutrisystem added data-driven programs and is expecting soon to see "revenue growth for the first time in seven years," Zier says.

An old marketing guideline states that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Given the current recession and the skittishness of consumers to part with cash, the current acquisition cost ratio may well be 10 times or more.

The Direct Marketing Association tends to pick experienced and successful direct marketers for its Hall of Fame. So Jan Brandt, one of four being inducted on Oct. 14 during DMA08 in Las Vegas, is no different. That's why marketers' ears perk up when she speaks.

AOL & The Genius of Jan Brandt By Denny Hatch In 1993, Internet access was essentially a three-horse race. The text-heavy CompuServe was owned by the tax accounting people H&R Block and had about a million members. So did the cartoon-oriented Prodigy, a joint venture among CBS, Sears and IBM. The longshot was America Online (AOL), with its elegant Graphical User Interface (GUI), chat rooms and exclusive community-building techniques, that had been taken public the prior year by founder Steve Case; he had just under 250,000 members and was doing about $40 million a year in revenue. One advantage Case had over the

Editor's Note: This article contains information originally reported in the newsletter Who's Mailing What! and the book "Million Dollar Mailings" by Denny Hatch. In the days of vaudeville, the great performers---Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Fannie Brice----were constantly traveling across the country. Each time they appeared, they would try a new bit of business----maybe a new joke, a new dance step or whatever. If the audience responded positively, it would remain as part of the act. Fifty-two weeks later, when these performers came back to perform your town, it was basically a new act, one that had been gradually changed and perfected over the

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