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Denny Hatch, "The Marlon Brando of Marketing," says direct mail is coming back.

"To be successful in direct marketing, you have to be a conceptual thinker--a method actor," DM expert Denny Hatch told NEPA's New York chapter on September 14.

Method Marketing is the name of his new book, which is described in detail on his website

"You have to get inside your prospects' heads and think like them." Hatch said you have to think like your prospects not only in crafting the offer but in every element of your direct mail package--from the envelope clear through to the order form.

Hatch, never one to mince words, also made a prediction: "With Do-Not-Call and Can-Spam, direct mail is going to come back into its own," he said.

By "direct mail," Hatch also means online marketing--"It's direct mail on glass." By way of explanation, he read the compelling and long copy of one of Bill Bonner's mailings for Agora's International Living. It was written many years ago, but when Hatch recently opened a pop-up on The New York Times online edition, there was the same exact copy, now doing its job online.

(Just today, we also came across Bonner's classic copy for International Living by clicking a pop-up on Motley Fool's website. It's some of the longest copy we've ever seen in an online promotion--well worth reading.)

He also quoted a number of DM experts, insights culled from his and Don Jackson's book 2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success (NTC Business Books, 1998). Each is worth meditating on:

* "We're in the business of acquiring customers and continually delighting them."

* In defense of long copy, "Lookers are lookers. Readers are buyers."

* Regarding DM design, "Neatness rejects involvement. Keep it loose. Keep the eye moving."

Hatch also outlined the "recognized sequence in the process" of turning a stranger into someone eventually giving you a great testimonial:

* Suspect

* Prospect

* Customer

* Renewer

* Advocate

How a DM package "works"

Freelancer Malcolm Decker called the direct mail package a "sales team," Hatch said.

* The envelope knocks on the door.

* The letter is the main sales person who makes an emotional (right brain) connection with the reader, using benefit-oriented you copy (what this product or service will do for you).

* The brochure is another member of the sales team, the demonstrator who sits near the main salesperson and, armed with photos, captions, drawings and charts, says, "See, everything in the letter is true." This is the it, showing and describing it, the product or service.

* The lift piece is another member on the team--other than the letter writer or the demonstrator--who comes up with yet another reason to take advantage of the offer--tipping the fence sitter over the edge.

(Lift pieces, Hatch recounted, were invented by Paul Michael of Greystone Press who always used the line, "Frankly, I'm puzzled...." The message inside is, "I'm puzzled why in the world you are not taking advantage of this offer of a free book, because the book is really free!")

* The order device is the me copy. All the other sales people have had their say. It is now time for the customer to reprise the offer in his or her voice. "Yes, send me the such-and-such. I understand that you will ship it to me and guarantee me...."

Decker says the order form should be so simple an idiot can understand it, Hatch said.

Denny Hatch, P.O. Box 63578, Philadelphia, PA 19147, 215-627-9103, fax 215-627-6610,
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Title Annotation:Promotion
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Sep 17, 2004
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