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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.

A 26-year veteran of the Ford Motor Company, Michael D. Richards, was appointed general marketing manager of Lincoln Mercury in January 2006. Prior to that, he served as Ford’s customer service division general sales manager and regional manager for the California region and the Detroit region. Does customer service experience qualify him to oversee a direct marketing lead-generation campaign for Lincoln cars? Hardly. Richards sent me a mailing so humongous—a 10˝ x 15 1⁄2 ˝ four-color outer envelope—that it dominated everything that had come through the mail slot. Inside the carrier envelope were two elements: a giant 20-page, four-color brochure on heavy paper stock

The dry test is a beautiful thing. If you have an itch to start a magazine, two ways exist to scratch that itch: 1. Dry test. Spend $100,000 to find a universe of likely subscribers, create a direct mail package that makes your magazine so real that people believe it exists, offer three issues free, and see if anybody responds. You won’t know retention, which only comes after the publication has started and readers either love it or are ho-hummed by it. But a dry test will let you see if your idea fogs the mirror. 2. Spend millions starting a magazine and hope someone buys it. A

by Lois K. Geller Just imagine. You open up your mailbox and find a silver sack envelope—the kind that newspapers sometimes come in. You open it up and there's a newspaper—at least it feels like a newspaper—but wait, it's entirely blank except for the name on the masthead. An attached response card reads, "You fill this in and we'll fill you in." It's a really unique approach to selling a newspaper subscription, because you're holding it in your hand and you really want to read it. Having spent two days judging The 2000 Direct Marketing Association's International ECHO Award final submissions, I am

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