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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 dennyhatch.com.

This past weekend, my friend David Ehrlich, a world-class violinist and teacher, came through Philadelphia to rehearse for a string quartet performance outside Boston next week and he stayed with us, as he always does. David is the Outreach Fellow in Fine Arts at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. When the massacre happened last week, my thoughts were very much with him and his wife, Teresa, a superb pianist. But I decided not to call or e-mail; I figured they had enough going on without one more intrusion. While he was here, we talked some about the horrific event and the aftermath and then

Experts weigh in on some common mistakes that can derail your control-beating efforts By Tracy A. Gill Ask any 10 direct marketers to list the characteristics of a good control, and you are likely to get dozens of different answers: concise, clear, dramatic, unique, directive, targeted, emotional, powerful. But there is one thing I think we all can agree good control packages have in common: They are difficult to beat. If you are reading this article, you've probably learned that lesson the hard way; you went up against a control with a package you thought was a winner, only to learn

By Brian Howard In uncertain times, companies can't afford to waste money doing things the wrong way. Inefficiency, bad testing, simplistic segmentation and all-around sloppy application of direct mail principles can team up to make your black ink run red. In theory, you should always strive to use best practices, but when the economy is booming, there's a lot more wiggle room in the bottom line. But spotting where your mailing can be tightened up isn't necessarily the easiest of tasks, especially from inside your own organization. To quote Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) in "A League Of Their Own": "It's

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