Milt Pierce

Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at or call (973) 263-0562.

A bowling ball smashing a printer — that's the first thing I thought of a couple of months ago when Mazarine Treyz, proprietor of Wild Woman Fundraising, asked me if direct mail could be funny. The trouble is, I couldn't think of any other examples besides a postcard for AMF Bowling Centers.

On Friday, the Direct Marketing Club of New York announced the passing of board member and influential direct marketer Milt Pierce. With our condolences, here is that statement.

How important is the offer in B-to-B marketing? Very. I have seen numerous tests in which a simple change of offer has increased the response rate by 25 percent to 900 percent-dramatically improving return on marketing dollars. The best of these B-to-B offers share six common characteristics, and to lift your response rates, your offers should, too.

I have known Milt Pierce for many years as a world-class freelance copywriter of direct mail, space ads and TV commercials, and teacher of direct marketing at New York University. Now direct marketing entrepreneur Bob Bly has assembled a fascinating compendium of Milt Pierce’s work over the years and published it as an e-book with the intriguing title, “Milt Pierce’s Marketing Success Secrets.” With all the razzle-dazzle of data warehousing, Internet marketing, co-op databases, myriad list appends and content-management systems, the old true, tried and tested rules of direct marketing tend to get shoved into a mental bottom drawer and ignored. In fact, a great many

In an attempt to boost response, direct mailers often employ “bells and whistles” in their packages. The more common bells and whistles include freemiums such as stickers and note pads, as well as involvement devices like pURLs (personalized URLs) and Post-it notes. Perhaps the most important bell and whistle of all, however, is not physical in nature (or in the mailing). It’s emotion. “The one bell and whistle I think is very important is emotion. If you ‘push the right buttons,’ you get your customers/prospects involved emotionally and that [can get] responses,” says Debra Jason, copywriter and owner of The Write Direction in

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