Ken Scheck

Amid the rush to slim down mail pieces to save on cost, many valuable elements have been jettisoned. One such element is the lift letter, which was first used in the publishing world.

Remember the lift letter? Rising postal rates and production costs, alongside many marketers thinking this element no longer has a place in the direct mail piece, have put lift letters on the endangered list.

Remember the lift letter? Rising postal rates and production costs, alongside many marketers thinking this element no longer has a place in the direct mail piece, have put lift letters on the endangered list.

First used in the publishing world, the "publisher's note" or "publisher's letter" was added to a direct mail package that already included a sales letter, often from the magazine's editor. Usually on the small size, both in length and paper size, and signed by the publisher, it came to be known as the "lift letter" because it lifted (increased) response.

The dumbest thing I ever did in business was heed the dire warnings of the bloodsuckers I worked for in my early years, who threatened instant dismissal if they caught me moonlighting.

So I didn't moonlight and was fired anyway—often.

These are rough times. And we're all dependent on mediocre, unmotivated co-workers and potentially failing businesses, no matter how superb our own performances.

If you can get something going on the side, for God’s sake do it! This way, if you get fired laid off, you’re still working.

I stumbled across Randy Cohen’s column in that most dismal and pretentious of publications, The New York Times Magazine. It reminded me of a 1990 series in WHO’S MAILING WHAT! put together by one of America’s greatest freelance copywriters—and a splendid, perpetually upbeat human being—Barbara Harrison.

I hope you find it useful.

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

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