Ralph T. Reed

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.

What triggered this column was a letter to this publication from Anthony Greene in London on my musings last week about how to gussy up important e-mails in order to give them gravitas. In our exchange, he wrote: Thank you, Denny. A nice and utterly relevant piece. Your story about the Ticketmaster e-mail, and how much you appreciated their thoughtfulness, has reminded me of what I regard as one of the greatest missed opportunities in the history of marketing. Every time I use my American Express Centurion Card I cannot help but notice the following words printed on the front, “MEMBER SINCE 82”. So,

I’ve been reading obituaries since the age of 12, fascinated to see how entire lives have been summed up in a few paragraphs. Last week a The New York Times headline about the passing of George Wetherill, 80, described him as an “Expert on Dating of Rocks.” Did dating of rocks mean determining their age? Or did he study people who liked to take rocks out to dinner and a movie? Either way, I wasn’t interested enough in his life and career to read on. Nor am I real interested in people who spend their lives in the credit card business—the delivery of financial nicotine to

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