Michael Barbaro

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.

American shoppers love deals. We love bargains. We love to save money. We love coupons. Those free standing inserts (FSIs) loaded with discount—or “cents-off”—coupons that clog our newspapers every Sunday and give hernias to the delivery people are there for a reason: They move merchandise. In 2006, 270 billion coupons were distributed—roughly 2,500 for every household in the U.S. Wait in line at any supermarket checkout counter and you will see shoppers happily redeeming them. Kristina Davis of Marietta, Georgia, told Steve Lohr of The New York Times that by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper and redeeming them at the supermarket, she saves 30% to 40% every

One of the most shadowy, behind-the-scenes characters of recent history was a sixth cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a plain little spinster lady named Margaret (Daisy) Suckley (rhymes with “book-lee”), whose Hudson River mansion is being renovated. Suckley died in 1991 in her 100th year. For years she maintained she had nothing to add to what had been written about Roosevelt and his presidency. But when her house was cleaned out, a suitcase of letters was found under her bed, and to the astonishment of historians and family members, Suckley and Roosevelt had a long-term and very close relationship. Although the words are

“Never compete with China on cost,” said guru Tom Peters, “and never compete with Wal-Mart on price.” Ever since 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, the company has operated on a one-size-fits-all marketing philosophy: offer good merchandise at the lowest prices to all customers. And it worked just fine. In its 45th year, Wal-Mart’s $345 billion in sales is more than the GDP of Austria. Now Wal-Mart is coming around to the way direct marketers think—that if you know who your customers are, you can serve them better and make more money. According to Michael Barbaro’s New York

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