Michelle Obama

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.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

About 1.5 years ago, Michael Docktor, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Boston Children's Hospital, attended a medical conference when he saw virtual reality (VR) technology used in a way that caused a “lightbulb to go off,” he remembers. The VR experience, a virtual colonoscopy, was designed to educate physicians on how a particular drug worked.

Even President Barack Obama messed up the quote right in front of Maya Angelou. Then first lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey took the stage Tuesday, right in front of the "Forever" stamp and its quote during the U.S. Postal Service's issuance ceremony. If that can happen, it seems as though the USPS could almost be given a pass for misattributing Angelou. But not from the Internet.

Whenever comedian Red Skelton did a live stand-up gig, he would dutifully get the names and addresses of the local committee members and dignitaries involved. Back at his hotel, Skelton would write personal notes to each on Christmas cards and address the envelopes. Then in early December, he would mail them. The result: thrilled townspeople and repeat engagements.

Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have a cadence to your emails and provide recipients with varied products, services and offers. It's a good idea to plan out future communications for a three-month time span. This isn't as daunting as it may sound. The upcoming month should be organized with the most detail. Marketers might include specific types of promotions, themes, products and services—even subject line approaches—that will be used. Two months out the calendar has much less detail

The broad targeting of soccer moms and NASCAR dads was all in the past. Now it was about using “proclivity models” and other analytical tools to mobilize and persuade and make voter contact more efficient. Whether a voter was an 85 on the support scale or a six on the persuasion scale was more important than if she was a young African-American woman in Pittsburgh or he was an old Jewish man in Cleveland or vice versa. Some tech staffers had dismissed email as old-fashioned and uncool, without understanding how indispensable it would be in saving the campaign.

Would you like to donate to the Obama campaign? Sign up for a college course? Or maybe subscribe to Architectural Digest? If you have ever felt inundated by such solicitations, by email or by snail mail, you may have wondered what you did to deserve it. I did. I wondered how all those campaigns, companies and institutions got my number. And how much money data brokers behind the scenes might make by flipping my name and address. Turns out there’s no easy way for consumers in the United States to track the data dealers

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