Richard Edelman

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

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

In reality it's difficult to imagine Lady Gaga and Bono in the wrestling ring. But figuratively, that's exactly where one whitepaper on social media marketing places the celebrities—in the middle of a debate over what constitutes a social media influencer and what direct marketers should do about it.

My wife, Peggy, and I regularly shop at Whole Foods. I was interested to note last February that the company was about to acquire a rival, Wild Oats, for $565 million. The story entered my archive and languished. During this past couple of weeks a story has broken that a long-time blogger—writing under the handle of “Rahodeb”—had been saying very positive things about Whole Foods and roundly dumping on Wild Oats—its management and the value of its stock. It turned out that “Rahodeb” was an anagram for Deborah, the wife of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and that the mystery blogger was Mackey himself.

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