Tuesday, March 31, 2020

#88 Why Email Ain't No Good


Issue #88 - Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Posted by Denny Hatch

Why Email Ain't No Good
Compared to Direct Mail
                                                                                                                                © John Pritchett

Every day my 2 inboxes (email and spam) are blitzed with messages. Hundreds of them. 

I look at the  “From”  lines and instantly delete 80% to 90% of them.

Why Am I Inundated with Spam Ecrap?
• It’s FREE! It costs the sender virtually nothing. Zip. Nada.

• The average spammer receives 1 response for every 12.5 million spam messages.

• The average spammer earns $7000 per day.

Because of billions of spams by the Russians, hoax messages by fake Facebook bots  and Social Media scams, Donald Trump was elected.

The Inside Story of a Republican
Senator's Direct Mail Masterpiece
In October 1984 Peggy and I had scraped up $10,000 and launched WHO’S MAILING WHAT!—what became an iconic newsletter and archive service for direct marketers.

At that time more money was spent on direct mail advertising than all other media combined—TV, newspapers and magazines, telemarketing, billboards, skywriting. The Internet was non-existent. 

Roger Craver

That year (on up to the 2020) Roger Craver was (and is) the premier direct mail fundraiser for Democratic political candidates and liberal causes (e.g., Habitat for Humanity). I asked Roger to write a guest column on political direct mail.

He couldn’t write about Democratic party direct mail, because he was the leading fund raiser for Democratic candidates. Whereupon he asked if I would be interested in presenting his take on Republican efforts at the time.

I gave him a two-word answer: “DO IT!”

His dazzling series ran in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th issues of WHO’S MAILING WHAT! and gave our cranky little publication the chops and creds to be taken seriously for its 40-year lifespan.

From the pages of WHO’S MAILING WHAT! is an excerpt from Roger Craver on Republican Party fundraising in the magical era of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  —DH

WHO’S MAILING WHAT!
December, 1984

DOLLAR$ FOR DEMOCRACY
by
Roger M. Craver, President
Craver Matthews Smith & Company

Creating Urgency: Jesse Helms for Senate’s
Precious Jewel of Direct Mail Legerdemain!

Senator Jesse Helms, R-NC

The business of winning elections is pressure-packed. Stakes are high. Decisions must be made and action taken in days -- not weeks or months. All this urgency is conveyed by the format of the mailings themselves.

Of all the Republican mailings I've reviewed in 1984, none more effectively uses a combination of high technology and old-fashioned skill, planning, and execution than this campaign letter from North Carolina Senior Senator Jesse Helms to his supporters.

Dallas, Texas.  Americans are watching the Republican Convention on TV.

Element 1: #10 Envelope and Hand-addressed

During this week, Helms' donors receive a hand addressed (yes, hand -- not machine addressed) envelope from the Plaza of the Americas convention headquarters hotel in Dallas. Under the hotel logo in the corner card of the envelope is the actual scrawl in blue ink of Jesse Helms, U.S. Senator.

Add to these elements a live First Class Stamp and the Dallas, TX postmark and you can bet this envelope will be opened while others may go ignored.

Elements #2 and #3: Two Letters 
Each Cross Referencing the Other

                                                            

This is a fully personalized letter printed on actual stationery from the Plaza of the America’s Hotel.

In a single page this letter illustrates the best in political copywriting. The letter’s lead screams “URGENT!

Dear Mrs [Name]:
     Enclosed is a copy of an urgent telegram I just received from my campaign headquarters in Raleigh.

The Lift Letter
Few communications in our society are as automatically perceived as "urgent" as is a telegram. That's why the political woods are full of telegrams or telegram-like missives.

This package shrewdly ties the telegram to a personal letter to not only achieve the requisite sense of urgency, but to also quickly establish the other key ingredients of selectivity and need.

In the personalized letter, Senator Helms warns that the enclosed telegram provides proof positive that the "liberal strategists" have launched a "surprise move" to "crush my campaign now."

That's why his staff had to interrupt him at the Convention. And that, Dear Reader, is why he had to interrupt you.

The need is clear: The campaign must counter the liberal media blitz.

The element of continuity and effectiveness is present: We will prevail but we'll need your help "if our counterattack over the air-waves is to be successful."

In a style that would have you believing you're part of the innermost circle, the letter references the telegram from the Senator's North Carolina headquarters. And that's where modern technology takes over.

Take a look at this telegraphic message. Subtly, effectively, it reinforces the covering letter and lets the donor know exactly what action is needed.

At first blush, this is the original telegram which prompted the Senator's letter. The canary yellow stock complete with pin-feed holes drilled into the margins says this is an original.

The text of the telegram conveys the urgent need and "substantiates" Senator Helms' claim of a "surprise attack".

Then through the wonders of database management the telegram references the donor by name in both the third from last -- and last -- paragraphs!

Then it does something even more important. It asks for a specific amount of money -- an amount based on the previous giving level of that donor. And it asks for that $75 contribution [$186.23 in 2020 dollars] by a date certain—Friday.

The response form is the telegram itself. The reply envelope was a hand addressed envelope complete with a live stamp going back to Senator Helms' personal attention.

Not only does this letter contain the key ingredients of urgency, sense of mission, specific need and effectiveness, it gives the donor a sense that the campaign is on top of business.

And despite the array of techniques employed, the package does not come off as the all too usual hardware store of direct mail gimmicks. Rather, as it should be, each component reinforces the other, adding credibility and urgency.

Great work!

When it comes to techniques, the Republican repertoire this year is abundant. And effective.

Takeaways to Consider
• Email technology could not begin to match the power of this Jesse Helms effort.

• Email is a mouse click away from oblivion. If your recipient is rushed, in a foul mood or has a headache, your email message is dust.

• Direct mail must be physically handled and considered.

• Helms’ team created a brilliant O. Henry-like short story and used direct mail to put the actual documents in the donor’s hands.

• Three personalized elements (envelope, letter and faux telegram) made the mailing seem absolutely real—and the need for quick cash truly urgent!

• Bloody brilliant!

• Shortly before he died, Bill Jayme—whose legendary copy launched dozens of business and consumer magazines—crystallized his philosophy of direct mail. He said to me in an interview:
                                                 
Bill Jayme

Why is Ben and Jerry’s causing meltdowns in the sale of other ice cream manufacturers? Because everyone knows that these two guys not only make the stuff themselves by hand, but also personally examine each scoop.
     Why is L.L. Bean the envy of Macy’s? Same reason. Because everyone knows that old L.L. not only sews the shoes himself, but also sees that they fit.
     The two basic tenets of selling are that (1) people buy from other people more happily than from faceless corporations and (2) in the marketplace as in theater, there is indeed a factor at work called “the willing suspension of disbelief.”
     Who stands behind our pancakes? Aunt Jemima. Our angel food cake? Betty Crocker. Our coffee? Juan Valdez. Anyone over the age of three knows that it’s all a myth. But like Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and Jesus, the myths are comforting.

• “You need a streak of outrage. You need a sense of injustice. Without outrage, I don’t know how the hell you can do this work.”
—Roger Craver

• “Always say ‘thank you.’ It’s the polite thing to do.”
—Roger Craver

• “Remember when laying sod, it’s green side up!”
—Roger Craver, shouting advice to members of his staff who had volunteered to work alongside Jimmy Carter at a Habitat for Humanity house.

###


Word count:1326



At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT

dennyhatch@yahoo.com

A Note About Denny Hatch’s Marketing Books
When North American Publishing summarily shut down its little book publishing division, all my direct marketing and business books were suddenly gone from the market. Some were available as “collector’s items” at many hundreds—and in some cases thousands!—of dollars. I have made arrangements with a Canadian marketer to republish some of these as Special Reports or White Papers. Will let you know when they are available. Thank you for your patience.

About Denny Hatch’s Novels
Meanwhile three titles are available. They are:
THE FINGERED CITY
How Mafia Marketed a Candidate
To Become Mayor of New York City

THE STORK
A Comedy About Breeding People Kindle Edition: $2.99

Note to Readers:  
May I send you an alert when each new blog is posted? If so, kindly give me the okay by sending your First Name, Last Name and e-mail to dennyhatch@yahoo.com. I guarantee your personal information will not be shared with anyone at any time for any reason. The blog is a free service. No cost. No risk. No obligation. Cancel any time. I look forward to being in touch!


IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING A COMMENT… Write Me!
Google owns Blogspot.com and this Comment Section. If you do not have a Google account, contact me directly and I will happily post your comment with a note that this is per your request. Thank you and do keep in touch.  dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Invitation to Marketers and Direct Marketers: 
Guest Blog Posts Are Welcome. 
If you have a marketing story to tell, case history, concept to propose or a memoir, give a shout. I’ll get right back to you. I am: dennyhatch@yahoo.com

You Are Invited to Join the Discussion!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#87 Geezer Fast-Yoga

Issue #87 - Tuesday, March 24, 2010
Posted by Denny Hatch

New YouTube Video 
By Denny Hatch

Self-Quarantine Miseries?
How I Stay Loose and Limber


Dear Fellow Housebound Prisoner,

Peggy and I are in very senior years.  

Following government directives, we laid in some doomsday stores and have self-quarantined.

Staying in Shape Indoors
For nearly a year—at age 84—I have been spending 26 minutes every morning with a Fast-Yoga routine that has enabled me to keep moving and—above all—put on my own socks.

It’s based on seven years of one-hour-a-week workouts with Sheila, our wonderful yoga teacher.

I decided to share this shortened version in the hopes other senior men might find it useful—especially in this time when so many of us are forced to remain in home detention.

This light regimen is done in my own living room first thing every morning. I do it in 26 minutes.

I invite you to have a look. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.

Thank you.



New YouTube Video 

P.S. If you have a friend, family member or business associate who might benefit from this video, kindly forward them the YouTube link below.

It’s free.

Thank you.



Word Count:244

UPDATE - RESPONSES FROM SUBSCRIBERS 
 Thank you one and all for your kind comments and kind words. I want to share with you my favorite from Rick:

Denny,
All written out and tried it. This is a pretty decent workout,  you can feel it after you're done. Thanks.

Thank you, thank you, Rick. I'm only sorry you went to the trouble of writing it all out. I would be happy to send you the shooting script for my voice-over.
     Stay indoors and stay healthy.
     And do keep in touch.
###


At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT

dennyhatch@yahoo.com

A Note About Denny Hatch’s Marketing Books
When North American Publishing summarily shut down its little book publishing division, all my direct marketing and business books were suddenly gone from the market. Some were available as “collector’s items” at many hundreds—and in some cases thousands!—of dollars. I have made arrangements with a Canadian marketer to republish some of these as Special Reports or White Papers. Will let you know when they are available. Thank you for your patience.

About Denny Hatch’s Novels
Meanwhile three titles are available. They are:
THE FINGERED CITY
How Mafia Marketed a Candidate
To Become Mayor of New York City

THE STORK
A Comedy About Breeding People
  Kindle Edition: $2.99

Note to Readers:  
May I send you an alert when each new blog is posted? If so, kindly give me the okay by sending your First Name, Last Name and e-mail to dennyhatch@yahoo.com. I guarantee your personal information will not be shared with anyone at any time for any reason. The blog is a free service. No cost. No risk. No obligation. Cancel any time. I look forward to being in touch!


IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING A COMMENT… Write Me!
Google owns Blogspot.com and this Comment Section. If you do not have a Google account, contact me directly and I will happily post your comment with a note that this is per your request. Thank you and do keep in touch.  dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Invitation to Marketers and Direct Marketers: 
Guest Blog Posts Are Welcome. 
If you have a marketing story to tell, case history, concept to propose or a memoir, give a shout. I’ll get right back to you. I am: dennyhatch@yahoo.com

You Are Invited to Join the Discussion!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

#86 Designers: Killers of Good Direct Marketing

#86 -  March 3, 2020

http://dennyhatch.blogspot.com/2020/03/87-designers-killers-of-good-direct.html

Posted by Denny Hatch


Killers of Good Direct Marketing:
Designers! Know-Nothing Designers!


Huh?

I grew up in the era of 12” LP vinyl recordings that were frequently clothed in covers so elegant and exciting they were works of art on their own. These were mini theatrical posters where the album title and the artist’s portrait could be seen from across the room with plenty of space to feature contents and selling copy. 12" LPs were lotsa fun—visually as well as transmitters of gorgeous sound.
     What's more, beautifully designed album covers sold records!
     Enter digital technology that can capture sounds and sights on the space of a pinhead. CDs and Videos are now packaged in teensy-weensy 5” x  5-1/2” plastic “jewel cases.” The challenge to designers: to generate excitement and readability in this tiny format is formidable.

A Grotesque Failure
The CD album at the top of this post was a souvenir of an exhilarating lecture/piano concert.
     Were you to come across this CD amidst 30 to 40 competing “Jewel Cases” your eyes would immediately skip over it. The red headline and cascade of white words below are all in an outrĂ©, totally unreadable typeface—further complicated by the confusing, ugly jumble of Gustav Klimt’s painting, Die Musik.
     Album covers (and book jackets) must sell just like ads, TV commercials and emails.
     Shortly you will see what this album cover needs to do its job.

Backgrounder
Several years ago, Peggy joined Philadelphia’s splendid Cosmopolitan Club for women—an affordable, welcoming, low-key, lively, lovely gathering spot. It boasts of a world-class chef, free wine with meals, alcoholic drinks at moderate prices and convivial conversation.
     Best of all are the collegial lunch and dinner programs featuring A-list world-class authors, artists, architects, musicians, scientists, politicians, media stars, and entrepreneurs.
     Spouses and gentlemen guests are welcome. Lunch or dinner is included when you sign up to attend an event.
     Were memberships open to men, I would join in a heartbeat.

An Extraordinary Celebration of Women Composers
     “Are you interested in women composers?” Peggy asked me. “The Cos Club is having dinner program about women composers with a performance of their music.”
     High achievements by women—who have been so diminished by men since pre-history—fascinate me. I love classical music and am a YouTube addict with its repertoire of free concerts by the greatest composers, soloists and orchestras ever recorded on kinescope, film and video.
     Women composers? I knew a little about Clara Schumann (1819 - 1896) and Amy Beach (1867 – 1944). Was eager to learn more.
     An added bonus: the opportunity to hear the Cos Club piano—a stunning, very rare Art Deco Steinway baby grand.
     “Yeah, sign us up!” I said to Peggy.

A Dazzling Evening
Adalberto Maria Riva

     In my opinion, Italian pianist Adalberto Maria Riva’s presentation is in the pantheon of great musical lecture/performance experiences. Others include Karl Haas (Adventures in Good Music) and, of course, Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts and staggeringly brilliant appearances on the Omnibus TV series that ran from 1952-1961.
     Maestro Riva is an acclaimed master of current piano repertoire. Instead of diving headlong into the normal struggle for performance gigs, he dedicated 10 years following an insatiable curiosity “to leave the beaten path and search libraries for forgotten works.”
     One result was this program featuring nine gutsy, extraordinarily brilliant women musicians—composers and performers—whose life stories and struggles for knowledge and recognition are inspiring.
     After each brief introductory bio, Riva sat down at the Art Deco piano and played from memory marvelous music—romantic, tuneful, sophisticated and electric.
     This was a bravura stuff. I came away with goosebumps.

If I Were 40 Years Younger...
     In a brief fantasy, I saw myself in another life as Adalberto Maria Riva’s manager and agent giving audiences of ecstatic women (and men!) the thrill of discovering female genius.
     Not a hugely expensive production. Maybe a series of pithy PowerPoint presentations. No orchestra. One piano. One microphone. One pianist filling giant concert halls around the world. A cash machine!
     During the Q&A following the presentation I raised my hand and was called on. I said:
    “This was stunning! I believe you could take this on road and make yourself a ton of money.”
     I got a round of applause.

Now about the ghastly design of the album cover…
No matter what the project—album cover, print ad, Web page, email, TV commercial—you start with a copywriter. Once the headlines, sub-heds and copy are approved, you move on to the design phase.
     I am not a designer.
     But I damn well know how I want my copy presented in terms of emphasis and readability. I always give the client a thumbnail for guidance.  
     Below left is my thinking on the Adalberto Maria Riva concert album cover.

My thumbnail above left is the information a prospective customer can grasp quickly and easily in order to make a yes/no/maybe buying decision.
     As long as my words and relative sizes are adhered to—and absolutely readable—I’m probably okay with the how the designer gussies the thing up.
     FYI: The graphic sins of the catastrophic album cover above right were committed by Francesco Brambilla.

Takeaways to Consider
• Before hiring a designer for a project, first determine the purpose of the design. Is it to be a logo, billboard, magazine illustration, sales brochure, annual report, newspaper ad or book cover?

• Communicate to the designer precisely what you want the design to accomplish.

• I have found designers can be very patronizing to executives, saying in effect, “You don’t know anything about creative; leave that to me.”

• If you feel uncomfortable with the design, then the design is wrong. Period.

• Be prepared to sit on the designer—especially Web designers—and have the job done over and over again. It must satisfy you and your original intent. Not the designer.

• If the designer whines you’re stifling creativity, get another designer immediately.

• Make a black-and-white photocopy of the final design. If it’s difficult to read the type, send it back to the designer for surgery.

• For example, red type surprinted on a black background will show up as dark unreadable mush. This becomes immediately obvious when subjected to a black-and-white photocopy.


"Type smaller than nine-point is difficult for most people to read."
   —David Ogilvy

• The only time to use gray type is when you absolutely do not want people to read the text.

• “Never set your copy in reverse (white type on a black background) and never set it over a gray or colored tint. The old school of art directors believed that these devices forced people to read the copy; we now know that they make reading physically impossible.”
—David Ogilvy

• “It’s copy that sells, not design. But it’s the design that sells the copy. It makes no difference how persuasive, how benefit-oriented or how well-written the copy is if it isn’t read. It’s the designer’s job to present the copy in a way that will overcome skepticism and people’s dislike of what they perceive to be ‘junk.’” 
—Ed Elliott

When I write a brochure, I don’t think about colors or white space or decorative borders or any of the innumerable things that make a brochure sing. But I do have a sturdy piece of architecture in the form of a thumbnail layout to give the designer—with copy that almost fits. The rest of it comes out of working together with the designer all the way down to the signed press sheet. —Malcolm Decker 

• “Never show small pictures of food.”
—Better Homes and Gardens Editorial Rule

###

Word Count: 1303

At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.

CONTACT

dennyhatch@yahoo.com

A Note About Denny Hatch’s Marketing Books
When North American Publishing summarily shut down its little book publishing division, all my direct marketing and business books were suddenly gone from the market. Some were available as “collector’s items” at many hundreds—and in some cases thousands!—of dollars. I have made arrangements with a Canadian marketer to republish some of these as Special Reports or White Papers. Will let you know when they are available. Thank you for your patience.

About Denny Hatch’s Novels
Meanwhile three titles are available. They are:
THE FINGERED CITY
How Mafia Marketed a Candidate
To Become Mayor of New York City

THE STORK
A Comedy About Breeding People Kindle Edition: $2.99

Note to Readers:  
May I send you an alert when each new blog is posted? If so, kindly give me the okay by sending your First Name, Last Name and e-mail to dennyhatch@yahoo.com. I guarantee your personal information will not be shared with anyone at any time for any reason. The blog is a free service. No cost. No risk. No obligation. Cancel any time. I look forward to being in touch!


IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE POSTING A COMMENT… Write Me!
Google owns Blogspot.com and this Comment Section. If you do not have a Google account, contact me directly and I will happily post your comment with a note that this is per your request. Thank you and do keep in touch.  dennyhatch@yahoo.com

Invitation to Marketers and Direct Marketers: 
Guest Blog Posts Are Welcome. 
If you have a marketing story to tell, case history, concept to propose or a memoir, give a shout. I’ll get right back to you. I am: dennyhatch@yahoo.com

You Are Invited to Join the Discussion!