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

Are financial services companies planning to screw over their most affluent customers as a result of the recent credit card legislation?

In October 2008, I wrote in these paragraphs:

Take a gander at this paragraph from a Wall Street Journal story by Robin Sidel on Oct. 20, 2008:

“AmEx recently slapped a $1,100-a-month spending limit on John and Monica Bell's platinum AmEx charge card. The reason: AmEx customers who pay with plastic at the same places where Mrs. Bell shops and have the same mortgage lender have poor repayment histories, according to a letter sent by AmEx.”

The couple pays $450 a year for the card—which promises "no pre-set spending limit." The couple routinely spent $5,000 a month—that's $60,000 a year—and has never been late with a payment.

If the data goons are allowed to start treating blue-ribbon American Express Platinum Cardmembers like chronic deadbeats, what will happen to the rest of us?

AmEx CEO Ken Chenault was punished for his perfidy. In the first quarter of 2009, his customers reduced spending by 16% and his net was down 55%.

On May 19, AmEx announced it would ax 4,000 employees (on top of the 7,000 canned last October) and scramble to cut $800 million in expenses.

A personal note to Ken Chenault, Visa, MasterCard, et al: When you allow bean counters and data analysts to make marketing decisions, you'll be punished.

Now is the time to study the masters of customer relationship magic.

And a good place to start is with Annemarie Victory.

Many outers in the fundraising field are colorless, or ride heavily on the name of the nonprofit or the celebrity backing it. World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, turns that classic design on its head with its four-color 6" x 9-1/2" mailing-and it has numerous implications. In fact, it asks the outer to do a lot of the work for this highly efficient mailing (Archive code #605-171939-0901).

Last month, research firm ForeSee Results announced the outcome of its Spring 2008 Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index. Moving up from a fifth-place overall finish in the last rankings to No. 4 in the most recent release is the e-commerce site for Doctors Foster and Smith, the Rhinelander, Wisc.-based multichannel marketer of pet supplies and pharmaceuticals. The firm’s site also took top honors in the Specialty/Nonapparel subcategory. Target Marketing Tipline called on Gordon Magee, Doctors Foster and Smith’s Internet marketing and analysis manager, to learn some of his company’s tricks of the trade for improving the online shopping experience for customers. Target Marketing:

For the last 50 years television news has been the same—men, men, men. From 1949 to 1956 we were treated to the “Camel News Caravan”—a 15-minute news summary hosted by John (“I’m glad we could get together”) Cameron Swayze, who always had an ashtray on his desk and a sign with the sponsor’s logo. This was followed by 15 minutes of Perry Como or Pinkey Lee. Swayze was ousted in October 1956 to make room for the Huntley-Brinkley Report (“Goodnight, Chet; Goodnight, David. And goodnight from NBC News”). These days, the news on the three networks is a tedious and interchangeable compendium of all the

Movie critics operate above their pay grade May 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 40 IN THE NEWS Has The Da Vinci Code had any good reviews? Stodgy, grim, ponderous. Dreary, droning, dull-witted. Hammy, stilted, solemn, talky, wooden, bloated, plodding, deathly dull, dreary. Or did I do "dreary" already? Forget the Christian right—it's that shadowy global organisation, the Critical Establishment, that has lifted its cassock and dumped unceremoniously on Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. — Jonathan Gibbs, The Guardian (UK), May 19, 2006 At a direct marketing conference in Orlando I was having lunch with my Norwegian clients and

While we always have used terms like “outside the box” and “under the radar” opportunities when touting our skills, we as brokers and managers truly are pressed to find new sources of names for our clients, or new sources of revenue for our list owners. Mailers that were understandably cautious in 2003 today are list owners with much smaller universes and much smaller hotlines. Many years ago, I worked at a list company with advocacy and veteran donor files. I cut my teeth in the list business with newsletters, so I knew seniors were “information hungry” and direct mail responsive. I wanted to

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