Martin Gross

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

President Obama's words at a White House Ramadan gathering Aug. 13, 2010 regarding a mosque being opened near the Ground Zero 9/11 site:

As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.

In terms of the Constitution, the message was spot-on and not debatable. Many on the Left, Right and Center agreed with him.

Shortly thereafter Newt Gingrich committed what Mike Barnicle labeled “political pyromania” (see “IN THE NEWS” at right) and dropped an “N” bomb by equating Muslims to Nazis—pouring gasoline on what might have remained a brush fire.

The following day, President Obama caved. "I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. What was intended as nuance was pounced on by the media as a John Kerry flip-flop; where he was for the mosque before, now he was against it.

Suddenly the Ground Zero mosque took over the news.

Direct marketers who fail to take current news into consideration will be sunk by it,” wrote Martin Gross, author of “The Direct Marketer’s Idea Book.”

It’s not often that you will find my wife, Peggy, and me jumping up and down in front of the TV set, pumping our fists and screaming, “Go girl! Go!” Such was the case last Saturday during the thrilling stretch dual between Rags to Riches and Curlin in the Belmont Stakes. As sometime devotees of improving the breed, Peggy and I are above-average horse-pickers. The four secrets of success: (1) Know when not to bet; (2) Never bet the favorite to win; (3) Expect to bet only on one or two races a day—maybe three if you’re lucky; (4) Know the rules and

That Bookspan—the amalgam of the old Book-of-the-Month and Literary Guild—was cited and fined for treating customers badly is a shame. It’s true that the negative option book club is—without question—the most complex of direct marketing business models. It operates under a crushing schedule of 15 mailing cycles a year. Ten to 15 different kinds of communications between the member and the club could be in the mail at any given time: packages of books, returned books, announcements of new books, rejection (do-not-ship) slips, bills, statements, dunning efforts, payments, bonus book orders and bonus books shipped. All of these transactions are date sensitive. If a rejection

Note: Denny Hatch personally replies to all e-mails. Readers respond to “The Decline and Fall of Competent Direct Mail,” published Aug. 1, 2006. I totally agree with your comments on the poor creative that now dominates the credit card business. They are also very poor on the list part of the equation. For most credit card companies, mailings are treated as independent events—they can’t tell you how many offers they have mailed to one individual in the past 2 years. And since they can’t reference previous communications, they create the impression that they don’t really know who you are and they don’t really care. Catalogers

Playing by the old rules—and winning big. In 1981, Beth O’Rorke had been out of work for three months after spending a year as circulation manager for a start-up magazine called Prime Time, which had run out of money. Robert Cohn of the PDC circulation modeling consultancy steered O’Rorke to The Economist, a British magazine that needed someone to take charge of its direct mail, which she could do in her sleep. On her way to the interview with circulation director Peter Kennedy, O’Rorke bought a copy of the publication at a 42nd Street newsstand and blinked in disbelief. Here was a skinny little

By Denny Hatch Direct marketing is a daunting business. It was DM News columnist Martin Gross who said, "Whoever knows only one direct marketing skill, whether it's art direction, copywriting or list management, does not even know that properly." During the dot-com boom, the hotshot twenty-somethings did not have even one direct marketing skill, as they sneered at us old-timers living in the past who did not understand the "new paradigm." They cost investors a trillion dollars or more and are to this day dining on crow. So how can a newcomer learn direct marketing? The best job I ever had was

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