#183 Blog Post Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Posted by Denny Hatch
“Written in a Fun and Conversational
Tone, This Book Was Hard to Put Down.”
— Business Insider
Stories of Entrepreneurs Who Started Huge Businesses
by Writing Powerful, Persuasive Pitches to People
Who Responded by Sending Pots of Money
The First Two Paragraphs of the Most Unbelievable Letter
Friday, 10:40 PM
A lady should never get this dirty, she said.
She stood there with a quiet, proud dignity. She was incomparably dirty, her face and hands smeared, her clothes torn and soiled. The lady was 11.
The “Dirty Lady” letter was written by a Franciscan
Priest with Absolutely No Copywriting Experience.
His name was Fr. Bruce Ritter who presided over a small church in New York City’s impoverished Lower East Side. Every day a gaggle of grimy, scrawny teen-age children rang his bell to plead for something to eat and a place to sleep. HE HAD TO DO SOMETHING!
Ritter’s passionate two-page typed letter asked for donations to Covenant House — a safe refuge for runaway children who were existing and being abused on the city streets. The letter was instantly profitable and brought in an average of $10 million dollars a year for the next 16 years.
Catastrophic Bumps in the Road,
Covenant House Is a Brilliant Achievement!
From the 2023 Covenant House Annual Report
• We are in 34 cities across 6 countries, working every day to help rescue, care for and protect homeless kids. LGBTQ, gay, and homeless shelters for youth. No one is ever turned away without support of some kind.
• 2022 Annual Revenue $320 Million Dollars.
• More than 2,000 children sleep in a Covenant House bed every night.
Other Entrepreneurs Who Started Huge Businesses
Based Purely on the Power of Their Persuasive Copy
Quite simply they started with an idea and sent out a letter — or placed a small ad. People sent them money and they were suddenly awash in cash. In these pages you will meet:
• Bill Bonner sent out a letter offering a publication — International Living — about how to retire in luxury overseas at a fraction what it costs to live in the U.S. People sent him money. He was profitable from day one. Today Bonner owns two magnificent 17th century chateaux in France and real estate all over the world. Agora Marketing is a billion-dollar corporation. You can read the actual letter that launched his empire.
• Marty Edelston held a dozen jobs before he founded Boardroom, his $125-million-dollar newsletter empire. Included is the revolutionary copy and design of copywriting genius, Mel Martin, that launched Boardroom.
• All his life Curt Strohacker’s passion was (and is) restoring old cars. Early in his career he invested $500 in a simple black-and-white 8-page catalog from a quick-print store and started the Eastwood company. Today he sends out a million full-color catalogs a year to do-it-yourself antique car buffs. Curt is living the American dream. He turned his hobby into a hugely profitable business! Remember, if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life!
• In Method Marketing you will meet these marketing geniuses along with Bob Shnayerson, who wrote his first and only sales letter — based on anger and salvation — that brought in 600,000 paying customers for Quest/77, a magazine that did not exist.
And John Peterman bought a highly unusual cowboy’s raincoat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So many people back East tried to buy the distinctive duster off his back that he formed a small company and ran a tiny ad. John sold 2,500 dusters that first year. The J. Peterman catalog was born. An added bonus to receiving the Peterman catalog: the gloriously whimsical copy by Donald Staley could easily run as a series of short pieces in The New Yorker. An aside: John Peterman (played by John O’ Hurley) was a memorable character on Seinfeld for years.
Donald Staley/John Peterman Catalog Page
The stories of these start-up businesses will amuse you, delight you and, hopefully, inspire you to create wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. Remember, like these entrepreneurs, if you do at your job what you truly love doing, you will never work a day in your life!
A Personal Note from an Old Blogger
When I launched Denny Hatch’s Marketing Blog in April 2018 I decided not to charge for it. “Free is a magic word,” proclaimed my mentor, Dick Benson.
out an e-blog
costs virtually nothing. After 50+ years of 12-hour days it was time to
have some fun for a change. I did not want to get into the weeds of paid
subscriptions – renewals and billing series, dunning, business bank
taxes, etc. Been there, done that over 20 years with the WHO’S MAILING WHAT!
newsletter and archive service plus feature articles and seemingly endless travel as editor and publisher of Target Marketing Magazine.
So… after five years and 182 blog posts the folks at Echo Point Books & Media offered to bring Method Marketing back into print. Not only was this a nice stroke for this old ego, it was a chance to maybe make a little money.
I’m told by the publisher the modern way to get a book noticed is to generate online sales on Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble and then hopefully get positive customer reviews.
Asking a Favor of You, My Reader...
That You Kindly Order a Copy of Method Marketing from Amazon or Barnes & Noble and then jot down your thoughts in a "Customer Review" on That Website.
Reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from readers who like a book can give it traction in the marketplace. So I thank you in advance.
I think you’ll really like the paperback edition at $29.95.
Easy to 0rder on Amazon. The Link:
To Write a Review on Amazon. The Link:
Easy to Order on Barnes & Noble. The Link:
To Write a Review on Barnes & Noble. The Link:
Below are some original reviews of Method Marketing from the 1999 edition.
In closing… thank you, thank you for continuing to receive this blog and thank you in advance for buying Method Marketing.
I guarantee Method Marketing won’t disappoint.
Reviews of Method Marketing
There is a hidden lesson in Hatch's latest paean
to modern direct-mail methodologies: do not be too quick to pick successful
companies to feature as examples in business books, because the minute they are
selected, chances are 50-50 that their profits will start dropping. Despite the
highlighting of J. Peterman Company, the examples chosen here are powerful--and
more important, their workings are explained in detail. Best letters are
dissected and parsed down to individual words, with statistics and research
supporting the results. Hatch's colloquial tone attracts even readers otherwise
not used to advertising matters; eloquent stories such as the fall and rise of
Covenant House, for instance, will not fail to mesmerize.
—Barbara Jacobs, Booklist
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Denny Hatch is a direct mail writer who coined the phrase Method
Marketing, meaning magic and “delight” to the customer. Hatch tells the story
of five entrepreneurs who built huge businesses on the power of copy alone.
Three other successes (or temporary success) used other unique methods of 1:1
contact. Sprinkled throughout his book are a few short vignettes about
business, direct mail facts, figures, and do’s and don’ts.
Marty Edelston held a dozen jobs before he founded Boardroom, his $125 million–dollar newsletter business. Along the way Marty (what his 80 employees call him) met copywriter Mel Martin, who became his “secret weapon.” Martin is famous for his creation of “fascinations," or teaser copy found on the outside of envelopes, but he filled entire pages with fascinations. Martin’s copy sold the Boardroom newsletters. Hatch feels Martin’s copy was even better than the newsletters.
Written in a fun and conversational tone, this book was hard to put down. As founder of the newsletter “Who’s Mailing What!” Hatch owns the largest private collection of direct mail. At one time, advertisers were sending him 3,000 to 4,000 mailers a month. He’s a direct mail expert indeed.
—Katherine Kay, Business Insider
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Denny Hatch is the historian of the
Direct Response Marketing industry.
According to Denny Hatch, a key trait of the copywriters who write successful advertising is the ability to get inside the head of the customer - to understand the wants, needs, fears, etc. that drive the customer's buying decision. He calls this approach "Method Marketing." The analogy is to "method acting", the Stanislavsky technique for actors to understand how the human mind works - what causes the emotions of exclusivity, flattery, fear, greed, guilt, anger, salvation - so the actor can get inside the head of a character and become the character so convincingly the audience will experience suspension of disbelief and accept the performance as real.
In Method Marketing, Hatch tells the stories of the use and abuse of this ability, including the actual sales letters that initially persuaded prospective customers to take action and create some extraordinary companies or organizations. Along the way, he also explains other important factors for success in direct response marketing, including the mathematics required to realize net profits.
Method Marketing is a worthwhile addition to your marketing library for its ideas and examples to achieve success in direct response marketing.
—Michael C. Gray, CPA, Profit Advisors
Word count: 1886
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