Kendra Wilson

By Kendra Wilson Imagine a prospect's surprise when, upon opening her mailbox, she finds a gleaming, plastic tube—7-1/2" long and 2" in diameter—that teases her with a cryptic message against a lime-green background: What to call people who consolidate their student loans before June 30: This dimensional effort belongs to Vista Financial Inc. (VFI), a Livermore, Calif.-based provider of loan consolidation services to borrowers of federally backed student loans. On July 1, the interest rates on federally guaranteed, variable-rate student loans were slated to go up by nearly 2 percentage points. Seeing the need for consolidation services, VFI

By Kendra Wilson A present? For me? This is the response Qwest Communications International, a multimedia communications company, hoped to garner from its customers when it sent out a little, blue self-mailer that looks just like a present—only perhaps a little flatter (Archive code# 808-476112-0411B). This "holiday catalog" effort, which landed in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in November, touts the "Qwest Holiday Sale," the cover swathed in a printed, seasonally appropriate theme of snowmen, bows and snowflakes, all wrapped up neatly with an image of a shiny, gold bow. Along the bottom is the message: Special offer for [XXX XXX] Home

My ship's aglow with a million pearls. And rubies fill each bin. The sun sits high in a sapphire sky When my ship comes in. —Ira Gershwin Lady in the Dark A number of years ago, consultant Dick Benson called me, and in the course of our conversation, he said, "I predict that in five years outbound cold-call telemarketing to consumers will be dead." I filed away his prediction in my mind and decided not to use it in the book of direct marketing rules I wrote with Don Jackson. Five years later, I found Benson had gotten it backwards. Cold-call outbound telemarketing

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