“2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success” By Denny Hatch and Don Jackson, 1998

You’ve got to love a book about direct marketing that has a big yellow starburst on the cover! And a big blue arrow telling you what’s inside! But wait…there’s more!

2,239 more fantastic ideas and thought starters to be exact!

I was given this book back around 2001 and have loved it ever since. I have probably given away 100 copies of it. Why? Because it actually kind of reads like a novel – it is a page turner that you cant put down.

Denny Hatch and Don Jackson are experienced marketers who have compiled a book of their own best practices, along with the insight of other classic marketers like Don Peppers (1:1 Marketing), Steve Dworman (DRTV), Dick Benson (Direct Mail) and many others. While there are plenty of examples of what to do and what to avoid, the book is less of a “how-to-do-it” guide and more of a “how-to-think-about-it” book of direct marketing inspiration.

I guarantee you will generate at least one good idea every time you open this book.

The subjects covered range from general marketing concepts to the detail level tactics of envelope size, putting live stamps on self-return envelopes (should you or shouldn’t you… the answer may surprise you!), and specific offers that work.

Written in 1998, the book is not one full of internet marketing secrets, but the basic mechanics of finding your niche, writing compelling copy, making offers, and getting people to take action. These are timeless and apply to your internet marketing strategies as well as your offline tactics.

On a personal note, the book reinforces one of my personal direct marketing beliefs that “Ugly Sells.” I have had an untold number of heated debates with creative directors, graphic designers, copywriters, CEO’s, CMO’s and others around this simple concept. The creative team at Quicken Loans even created cartoon characters to make fun of me and my insistence on this point. In what may have been some of their most memorable work, sprung to life were my new mascots “Checky” the walking check mark, and his pal “Burst” – a cute little dog-like walking starburst! Well, Checky and Burst are in good company with ideas like:

  • “Ugly Sells” page 128
  • “A lot more money has been made with ugly shows than glamorous ones.” Page 152
  • ”Test Ugly Early” page 202


Take Away for Marketers:
This book is a classic. Buy it, dog ear it, give away copies. Read it when you are in a dry spell for creativity, or just cant get out of the rut. Use the timeless concepts and challenge your own thinking and apply them to the world of internet marketing, search engine marketing, rich media, email, and your ongoing communication with existing customers. Read the fundraising chapter and see what you can apply to your loyalty campaign.

And go ugly, early.

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