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

When the management of America’s largest retail jewelry chain, Zale Corp., imperiously decreed a sweeping business model change in the wake of flagging sales in 2004, it bombed big time. The company president, Mary Forté, was forced to resign and board member Betsy Burton, 55, billed as a “turnaround specialist,” was named interim CEO. In the aftermath of the disaster, Burton—with an MBA in marketing from the University of Chicago—made a pronouncement of major import: “You should never just roll something out that is not proven.” Duh. Direct Marketing 101 For years direct marketing was considered general advertising’s ugly, little step-sibling. It was never a business of glitz and

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