Lee Marc Stein

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

"To be successful in this business, you have to see who's mailing what … Look for those mailings that keep coming again and again, which means they are successful, and then steal smart." Dorothy Kerr said that at a Direct Mail Writer's Guild luncheon attended by Denny Hatch in the late '70s, and he's quoted it often since. It was one inspiration for the Who's Mailing What! direct mail archive.

The most complete library of direct mail, Target Marketing Group's Who's Mailing What! Archive, continually monitors the use of premiums. Comparing the first quarter of the last four years reveals that despite the budget crunches many direct mail programs have faced during the overall economic slowdown, the use of premiums has not shrunk. And compared to 2007, when the economy was chugging along, the tactic has actually increased by 15 percent.

While there are many similarities between e-mail and direct mail copy—such as e-mail subject lines and envelope teasers, subheads and lead paragraphs working in both channels, and offer expiration dates that can be effective in both as well—understanding the key differences will help you run a truly effective multichannel campaign.

To hold onto customers, whether they’re brand-new or have been interacting with your company for years, consider the following three tips from direct marketing consultant Lee Marc Stein and copywriter Mark Hallen. They were recently featured in Stein’s e-mail newsletter, Increasing Return on Marketing Dollars, along with 18 more ideas for improving customer retention through relationship marketing programs. 1. Unexpected perks do more than expected ones. Stein and Hallen advise marketers to position added-value elements carefully. For example, a software company might send an upgrade effort to its installed base, offering “30 days FREE support” to respondents. That perk might draw a few extra

With chapter headings such as “Make Someone Mad Today” and “Steal Smart,” Lee Marc Stein’s “Street Smart Direct Marketing” (2007, Stein) is the exception to typical, dry marketing how-to tomes. The book is a compilation of lessons learned from, as Boardroom EVP Brian Kurtz calls him, one of direct marketing’s great minds. The book covers testing, copywriting, offer development, the financial aspects of direct marketing, lists and media, the value of a customer, and more.

Direct mail and e-mail have much in common. As part of the direct response media arsenal, they try to do many of the same things with their efforts. They seek to attract attention, stimulate desire, build credibility, generate involvement and, ultimately, ask for action, says Lee Marc Stein, a Philadelphia–based direct marketing consultant, copywriter and author of “Street Smart Direct Marketing.” How they get there, however, is another matter altogether. “While they require the same understanding of direct marketing principles, there are differences in creative tactics—and e-mail requires even more emphasis on the offer than direct mail,” explains Stein. Maybe you’re about to

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