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#125 Small Ball Direct Marketing
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, May 4, 2021


 #125 Blog Post - Tuesday, May 4, 2021


Posted by Denny Hatch

Guest Post by Robert Hacker


A Great Rarity: Using Direct Mail
To Prettify Up Your Neighborhood

From Bob Hacker to DH:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Loved your latest blog. And you are
right, direct mail can be a blast.

Your last blog got me thinking: what campaign do I have that can show you a fabulous response? I was reminded of this one for Waypoint, here on Bainbridge Island. The letter tells the whole story, so I won't repeat it here. I can share the stats, though.

• The database was 6,231 names, not the 8,000 noted in the letter. (We found lots of dupes when we merge/purged the files.)

Every name was a prospect, since Waypoint had never mailed before — hell, they didn't exist before!

We generated 1,794 responses for a 28.8% response rate! FROM PROSPECTS! I've had NFP [not-for-profit] clients that would kill for .5% on a prospect file!

The average donation was $32.25 for a total take of $57,896. The money went into a trust to pay for Waypoint maintenance in perpetuity.

Direct Mail on the side of the angels. Who knew?

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Here's Bob Hacker's Small Ball Mailing


Can you help us fixthe ugliest eyesore
on Bainbridge Island?




Dear ,


       You’ve seen it.  It’s on the right when you board the ferry.  It’s on the left when you get off.  Yup, the ugliest eyesore on Bainbridge Islandis there for all to see.  We’ve beenlooking at this urban blight so lone we’ve trained ourselves to ignore it.  But not the tourists, not your guests – thefirst thing they see when they come to our beautiful island is the ugliestthing here.


       The first impression is often the mostlasting impression, and this one has to go.


       With your help, we won’t have to look atit much longer.  You’ve seen the work going on there.  We’ve already cleanedthe place up, now we’re right in the middle of creating The Waypoint. Thereis a picture of what it will look like on the next page.  Take a peek, you’ll be amazed at howbeautiful this new gateway to Bainbridge Island will be.


       We’ve got some of the money weneed.  There has been a very generousdonation from Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island. And another few islanders, who wish to remain anonymous for now, havestepped up and made major contributions to cover most of the rest.  We’ve got most of the money we need, but not enoughto finish the project. That’s why we need your help.


       There is enough money to start theproject, so we did.  With winter coming,we had to start now or wait until spring. And, frankly, another six months of staring at that mess made nosense.  Now we are asking you to pitch in,too.


We need about $150,000between now and December 15th to finish The Waypoint.  This letteris being sent to only 8,000 Bainbridge Island residents — so we need to get adonation of about $20 from each and every one of you.  And since some won’t give, some of you needto give a lot more.


     If $20 seems about right, why not give$40?  If you’re comfortable with $50, whynot donate $100? (All donors giving $100 or more will have their names listedon a plaque.)  But the important thing isto give, we’ll be grateful for whatever you can between now and December 15th.



                                                                    Chairman, The WaypointCommittee


P.S.   Isn’t it worth just a few pennies a day to removethis blight and beautify our Island?
         We think
so, too.  All donations are tax deductible.


Brochure/Order Coupon 






Hatch-Hacker Email Dialog:

[Denny Hatch]


Many thanks for your kind words. 

Love your Bainbridge beautifying effort andthe story. 

1. May I run it as a post?


[Robert Hacker]



[Denny Hatch]

2. Am I missing something? 


[Robert Hacker]

I don’t think so.  What do you think wasmissing?  For me, the whole project was about the power of words.  Itwas all about the letter.  Tell a compelling story and the money willcome.  The original design was done on Word, so we know the art directorhad little impact on the return rates.


[Denny Hatch]

3. What was it that was so ugly?


[Robert Hacker]

An old gas station had been there.  Theytook it out years and years ago and put an ugly fence around the site that peoplewere using to hang signs and lock bikes to it.  And the wind-blown trashadded to the look.  Inside the fence, the blackberry bushes took over, asthey always do in the Pacific Northwest.



4. Do you have a photo of it?


[Robert Hacker]

No,but think of homeless camp sans people.


About Bob Hacker

                    Left: Bob Hacker in his prime. Right: Bob Hacker in Retirement

Bob Hacker graduated from the University of Washington in 1966 with aBA in Journalism/Advertising. After a short stint in the Coast Guard and adetour to San Diego for a year, he joined David W. Evans in Seattle asproduction manager/AE/copywriter. Hethen went to work for KING Radio but soon left to attend Harvard BusinessSchool, where he graduated with an MBA in Marketing/Entrepreneurship.

     After Harvard, Bob returnedto Seattle and had, to put it bluntly, a rather checkered career. Advertisingat Sea- First—that didn’t last. Marketing at Kenworth—that didn’t last either.He then co-founded an advertising agency with two partners, landed two bigaccounts, lost two big accounts—and the agency was no more.

     Then, in 1981, he joined Thousand Trails as director of directmarketing. With an unlimited direct-marketing budget (yes, unlimited) he couldand did test everything that he, his team, vendors and agencies could dream up.Armed with knowledge gained through thousands of test observations, in 1986 helaunched The Hacker Group, now HackerAgency.

     Bob and his first hireneeded an office. The got free space, phone and fax by camping in the spareoffice of the telemarketing center they were using to handle inbound calls.Growth forced them to take the space next door. Free furniture from a bankruptclient made the move affordable.

     Over the years, clientssuch as IBM, Hilton, Hyatt, Symantec, AT&T Wireless, GNA, Airborne Express,Microsoft, Expedia, Oracle, Washington Mutual, and more, continued to helpbuilt the company.

     He and his wife and COO, JoAnne, sold The Hacker Group to Foote,Cone & Belding (FCB) in 1999 and theycontinued to work for the new ownership for another three years, beforeretiring from the agency in 2002. After the second glass of wine, he’ll tellyou about the four things he’s most proud of during The Hacker Group era:

     • The agency grew everyear, so he never had to lay off staff.

     • The bonus program changeda lot of lives for the better.

     •  Turnover waslow—under 5%.

     •  FCB had 205 officesworldwide. With a staff of only 85 in Seattle. The Hacker Group generated morethan 20% of FCB operating profit while Bob and Jo Anne were still involved.Within FCB at that time, The Hacker Group was called “The Cash Machine.” 

     Not many agencies survive the departure of the founder, let alonethrive. And who would have guessed that the two biggest agencies in SeattleHackerAgency and Wunderman) now are direct-marketing shops, not generaladvertising agencies.

     Bobstill consults on direct-mail strategy and copy with his old creative team fromThe Hacker Group as Arcanum, Ltd., from his home office on Bainbridge Island.That’s when he’s not fly fishing off the shore of the Yucatan Peninsula,Christmas Island or British Columbia.






Word count: 1314

You Are Invited to Meet Denny Hatch and
See His 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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