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#123 Blog Post - Snoop Marketing
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, April 6, 2021


#123 Blog Post - Tuesday, April 6, 2021



Posted by Denny Hatch



                                                                          Official Photo

The 122-word Warning to Direct Marketers from
The CEO of the World's Most Valuable Company

Technologydoes not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens ofwebsites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived fordecades without it. And we’re here today because the path of least resistanceis rarely the path of wisdom.


“At a momentof rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we canno longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagementis good engagement, the longer the better. And all with the goal of collectingas much data as possible.


"If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform."
    —Tim Cook,CEO, Apple
     January 28, 2021, Data Privacy Day Speech


In 1984 Peggy and I launched WHO'S MAILING WHAT! a cranky little newsletter and archive service for professionals who marketed by direct mail. Mail was Top Dog—larger than TV, radio, print advertising, telemarketing, billboards and skywriting COMBINED!


Every now and again I would get a phone call from a reader asking how often a customer should be contacted.


When we sold the business to Target Marketing magazine where I became editor and publisher, I had roughly 20 times the number of readers. Whereupon I got a lot more calls asking how often a customer should be contacted.


My answer from the beginning:

"Contact your customer when you have something important to say that would be of interest to generate revenue—a great benefit, an exciting new product or service, news of a 'Buy-one-Get-One FREE!'" offer.


"What about software that keeps track of how often a customer is contacted? What is the best product? And does it work?"


My answer:
Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Would you want to hear from a vendor who was calling or writing with nothing to say just to see if you are still alive? 


A (Very) Short History of Data Collection

Anybody out there remember when lists were kept on Addressograph plates? Imagine tens of thousands of these metal things—each with one customer's address. Imagine tens of thousands of these metal things and the monstrous clattering machines that stored them, sorted them, inked them and addressed envelopes with them.

Enter primitive computers in the late 1940s and 1950s when the data collection industry graduated from tin plates to these paper punch cards.

In the 1960s—when I took over the Better Homes & Gardens bookclubs, the heart of our business was the vast computer room that lookedlike this with dozens of magnetic tape reels and addressing machines that could spit out many thousands of envelopes, invoices and personalized rejection slips in an hour.
Remembering Ed Mayer (1907-1975)
   From 1939 to 1945 Mayer was a senior consultant to the State Department advising on propaganda. He set up a wartime system of dropping leaflets behind enemy lines from planes and balloons. After the War he went on to a distinguished career in the practice and teaching of direct marketing and authoring "How to Make Money in Direct Mail." Mayer's Rule—absolutely true today:
 "Success in direct marketing is 40% lists,
40% offer and 20% everything else."
Translated into Today's Lingo:
40% lists = Finding the right people to contact.
40% offer = Whaddya got to sell and what's the deal? 
20% everything else = Copy, design, website, guarantee, etc.
After 60 Years in the Business I Believe
All Emphasis Is on 40% Lists (Snooping)
For some reason today the lion's share of direct marketers have become besotted by the giddy world of creating high-tech electronic dossiers and scraping up every scintilla of gossip and professional information on every person in the English-speaking world. These creeps comb news, social media, personal correspondence by and about every human being from birth to death—and including it in the dossier. Whereupon they use it to "market" via A.I. (Asshole Intelligence.)
A personal aside: the 40% lists and list research always bored the hell out of me. My fascination was (and is) what you say to prospects and customers and how you say it so they will part with their money.
My Rude Awakening, May 16, 2018
That day I mentioned in a blog post I had lower back pain. A long time caring reader named Stan sent me a comment suggesting I look into a nationwide consortium of physical therapists. Precisely at 11:00 a.m. I replied via my Yahoo email:
     Aaah, Stan...
     Thank you.
     I'd rather spend my money and time on Grey Goose vodka and Viking cruises.

At 11:15—a quarter hour later—I received a message in my Yahoo in-box touting Grey Goose vodka! Here's the link to the blog post and the story:



Think of that! Yahoo had sold the private contents of my personal email to Bacardi/Grey Goose who immediately sent me a Grey Goose ad. The message was stupid as hell for two reasons:


• The jerks at Yahoo alerted me the contents of everything I write is being is being sold to outsiders all over the world.


• I was (and am) a Grey Goose customer who did not need an ad for Grey Goose. I was doubly pissed off—at both Yahoo and Grey Goose for their seedy duplicity.


Circling Back to Tim Cook's Lede to This Post

"Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it. And we're here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.


"At a moment of rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories juiced by algorithms, we can no longer turn a blind eye to a theory of technology that says all engagement is good engagement, the longer the better. And all with the goal of collecting as much data as possible."


Takeaways to Consider

•  What makes direct marketing elegant—the aristocrat of the advertising profession is that—when done right—results are precisely measurable.


• When I got into direct marketing the basic information needed before spending on prospecting or marketing to customers.
   —Name and address.
   —Can they afford to do business with you?
   —Do they pay their bills?
   —What are their interests, hobbies, professions and behavior patterns?
   —Do they respond to offers made from a distance?
• Whereupon you tailor and test powerful offers of specific interest to them.
• Snoop Marketing is emphatically NOT elegant. The seedy, venal low-life that steals your emails, history of searches, downloads, purchases, trysts, travels, travails,  browsing habits, every scintilla of dust, data and dirt by and about you, your family, your children, friends, business associates, enemies, even your pets—and put it up for sale all over the world. 
• "I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes."
—Phillip Dusenberry, Chairman, BBDO Worldwide 
If you're gonna practice Snoop Marketing, for Pete's sake have a delay system in place—say a couple of weeks at least—so your disgusting thievery isn't instantly thrown up in my face.  
Word count: 2005  

You Are Invited to Meet Denny Hatch and
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26-minute Geezer-Fast Yoga Routine



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! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe 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.


Denny Hatch
The St. James
200 West Washington Square, #3007
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-644-9526 (Rings on my desk) 

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