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#155 Blog Post: AIDA
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, May 10, 2022




#155 Blog Post.  Tuesday, May 10, 2022.


Posted by Denny Hatch


Why eMarketers Break Rules:
TheyWere Never Taught AIDA!


The ad above showed up as the second paragraph of a news story in my daily digital New York Times. It ran for several days


It resonated.


I immediately remembered being bumpedaround and hassled by gypsy pickpockets in Spain and how our friend Huguette’s sunglasseswere ripped from her open handbag in the middle of a rowdy New York City crowd.She was damn lucky they didn’t get her wallet.


Is their pants pocket really and trulypick-pocket-proof? If so, maybe I would order a pair of these slacks (if affordable)for travel.  


Quite simply, this little illustrationin the middle of an online news story got my ATTENTION.


“ATTENTION” is the first “A” in “AIDA.


The full acronym: Attention - Interest - Decision - Action.


These are the four basic steps—the inviolatesequence—needed to make a sale and get an order.


“AIDA” was the first lesson I learnedwhen I went to work for Grolier Enterprises (Dr. Seuss Books by mail andEncyclopedia Americana Yearbook by mail) in 1965.


AIDA is true for the retail environment,direct mail, off-the-page advertising and/or in the digital world of email and theInternet.


In print direct marketing, the Attention-getter is the:


• Teaser copy on the Outside Envelope.


• My late great friend Bill Jaymecalled the direct mail envelope, “The hotpants on the hooker.”


• Headline on the Ad


• “Johnson Box” at the top of adirect mail letter.


Interest is the main sales pitch. A personal, convincingletter — one writer whispering in the ear of one reader — that creates anemotional bond that promises benefits, benefits, BENEFITS. Backed up by abrochure, illustrations, facts, figures and testimonials.


Decision is the behavior changer—where theprospect decides to become a buying customer.


And the final A for Action is theorder mechanism that makes it real easy to order.


CothingArts Did NOT to Generate Interest

I clicked on the little ad above andmy computer screen and was immediately co-opted by the series of giant splashy landingpages of www.clothingarts.com.


I was suddenly blitzed with a repeatingrazzle-dazzle kaleidoscopic slide show:

• 8 enormous slides changing every 4seconds.

• Images of men’s and women’s lower-torso outerwear.

• Plus, a slide of fireworks explodingover the Eiffel Tower.

• The last slide was the curious slidebelow from  Easter Island.

• Each of the 8 slides offered 5places to click for more information.

• That’s 40 click choices (including ashopping cart) to be made in 32 seconds.

• Whereupon the cycle is repeated all overagain. And again. And again. Till boredom did us part.



Havea Quick Look at This Slide.
ItBreaks Two Cardinal Rules.


• Question: Can you see the 3 invisible words to click on: “Apparel,” “Testimonials” and “About”? (You gotta squint mightily to see these words—justto the left of the wee word “CART” at upper right).


Broken Rule #1: “Neverset your copy in white type on a black background and never set it over a grayor colored tint. The old school of art directors believed that these devicesforced people to read the copy; we now know that they make reading physicallyimpossible.”

—David Ogilvy


Broken Rule #2: The words, "Explore Our Cubed ® Travel Journal.”Cubed ® means nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. This is internal corporate private-speakgibberish and a waste of the reader’s time.


Today’s HotshotDigital Marketers
Don’t Know Squat About Distance Selling

The teaser ad at the top of this screen isheadlined:





How does this pick-pocket proof pocket work?


How was it different fromother pick-pocket-proof garments? (Such as the cargo pants and photographer’svest I already owned.) How did these guys manage to get “pick-pocket proof” Registered®?Obviously they have a UniqueSelling Proposition. (USP).



Or do they?


IMO, there’s no difference in snailmail/direct mail and email.


“All mailis opened over a wastebasket.” —LeahPierce


“With emailyou’re a mouse click away from oblivion.” —Denny Hatch


In direct mail it is imperative to havea riveting outside envelope to catch the eye and get Attention.  Otherwise,all your hard work is deader than Kelsey’s nuts!


Unlike the direct mail envelope tograb attention, all email looks alike in the inbox. Savvy old-time direct mailcopywriters know to spend hours perfecting an intriguing, benefit-oriented subjectline.


Direct marketing newbies spend hours tinkering with their message and copy until it's j-u-s-t   p-e-r-f-e-c-t andthen slam out the first subject line that pops into their empty heads and click“SEND.”


Recently I got this cold email from JonKelly. A stranger. I don’t know a John Kelly.



I was intrigued. I clicked on it,skimmed the stories. Well-written, new stuff. Worth a sign up for a freenewsletter.


Here's how John Kelly communicates with  me:



A letter!



He does not blitz me with giantrevolving sales pitches à la the ClothingArts crowd. He is luring me into his  world gently and respectfully. Building a warm, trusting relationship.


The more I get to trust him and likehim, the more likely I am to read his stuff and eventually spend money withhim.


Takeawaysto Consider


Attention- Interest - Decision– Action is the inviolate sequence of how getinside a prospect’s head and change his/her behavior.


• “In direct marketing there are tworules and two rules only: Rule #1, test everything. Rule #2, see Rule#1.” —Malcolm Decker


• “Direct marketing is intimateadvertising.” —Stan Rapp


• Direct marketing is NOT throwing shit  against the wall and betting the recipient will spend time sorting through a pile of  miscellany and make a purchasing decision. 


• The beauty of e-marketing is theability to offer a simple click to bring the prospect into an extraordinaryrazzle- dazzle world of excitement and alternate reality.


• Hitting on a prospect with 8 flashyrevolving slides and 32 click choices in 32 seconds emphatically AIN'Tintimate advertising. 


About the subject line/initial message:Keep it short. For many recipients, especially those reading your emailson mobile devices, shorter is often better. We recommend you use no more than 9words and 60 characters.” —mailchimp.com

• To find out how and why “Pick-Pocket Proof®" Travelwear is unique, proprietary or different from anold-fashioned zipper on a pocket, you have to go through the entire website. Finally at the end is the dissertation and description of what is “Pick-Pocket Proof®."

• These eMarketers buried their USP at the very end!





Word count: 1052


The Most Fun You 
Can Have in the English Language
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.



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