Sam Walton

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.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Guns and Walmart were synonymous since its founding. But on the day that shooter killed shoppers in a Texas Walmart, the company’s brand image came into direct conflict with its marketing. And many consumers on social media called for Walmart to stop selling guns.

“Never compete with China on cost,” said guru Tom Peters, “and never compete with Wal-Mart on price.” Ever since 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, the company has operated on a one-size-fits-all marketing philosophy: offer good merchandise at the lowest prices to all customers. And it worked just fine. In its 45th year, Wal-Mart’s $345 billion in sales is more than the GDP of Austria. Now Wal-Mart is coming around to the way direct marketers think—that if you know who your customers are, you can serve them better and make more money. According to Michael Barbaro’s New York

The 800-pound gorilla no one talks about Sept. 20, 2005, Vol. 1, Issue #32 IN THE NEWS BEIJING--Visiting the Chinese capital for the first time since 1996 is a startling experience. Nothing you've read can prepare you for the overwhelming physical reality of China's explosive growth, its leap from the bicycle age to the age of Audis, cell phones, and a middle-class passion for fashion. Wander through Beijing's glitziest malls and watch crowds of young Chinese chatting on cell phones, roaming in and out of Nine West, Mr. Klein, Givenchy, Rolex watch stores, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, or the local Cineplex, and you realize

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