Magazine article Marketing

Parsimonious or Stupid? Direct Marketers Unite

Magazine article Marketing

Parsimonious or Stupid? Direct Marketers Unite

Article excerpt

Tom Rodwell wrote in Marketing (May 26) -- "Halt this deluge before it harms personal health" -- what somebody charitably described as an amusing tirade about direct mail. I was surprised how much reaction it got, since it was just the usual stuff.

You know what I mean. Civilisation is going to the dogs, one's vestibule is sullied everyday by a deluge of mailings, let's all nail our letterboxes shut, write to the MPS to stop getting mail, and why can't we get back to doing ads like in the good old days? Boring, really -- like John Major asking for a return to family values, as in "won't the 20th century please go away".

All morning I have heard some supercilious prat announce a boring competition three times an hour, every hour. It's been going on all week but does it call for public protest and demonstration? It's just one of the hazards of listening to Jazz FM.

Four years ago, I saw a toady ask David Ogilvy why, in his brilliance, he had chosen advertising. His reply was commendably modest. "This is the only thing I could have succeeded at."

Do businesses get the people they deserve? After years of soul-searching and a modicum of help from my wife, I have concluded my main traits may well be stupidity and meanness. Are these also the characteristics of the direct marketing business?

This occurs to me depressingly often. As when a client sent me seven, yes, seven, subscription letters from the Economist, which he received in one week last year. At best this must have made their efforts one-seventh as effective as they might have been. …

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