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Direct Marketing Doesn't Have to Make Sense, It Just Has to Make Money

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There’s never been a book about direct marketing quite like this before. There are chapters that will show you how to create high-performance programs. There are off-the-wall, laugh-out-loud chapters you can’t show to your boss. There are even chapters that might tick you off. So, if you’re looking for the typical direct marketing drone-a-thon, don’t buy this book!

Price: $29.95

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"He's the smartest direct marketer I ever met. And I have met them all — from John Caples on forward."

—Denny Hatch, author of Write Everything Right!


Nobody has more stories — both good and bad — than agency account people. Bob Hacker has been inside hundreds of clients’ organizations and six agencies, and he has seen it all.

Bob couldn’t share these tales when he was running an agency — clients would have fired him. But he can tell them now. As you will see, all the books touting rules are only telling part of the story. Most of the success and failure in direct marketing is based on people, not rules. This book details what the best ones do and how they do it. It also shows you what the worst ones do, so you won’t make their mistakes.

"Bob is a dear friend and mentor, and for over 10 years I watched in awe as he cut through direct marketing challenges with the precision and clarity of a surgeon. Now he’s put this knowledge and lack of reverence for the status quo ALL in one place, Direct Marketing Doesn’t Have To Make Sense, It Just Has To Make Money. A must study for all marketing professionals and novices that care about the 'R' in ROI."

—Spyro Kourtis, president and CEO of HackerAgency

Table Of Contents

vii Introduction

1 Section 1: How to be a better direct marketing client

3 Advertising agencies and design firms can’t do direct marketing

7 There are two components to ROI: R and I

9 Don’t put up with agency bullshit

15 Understand the direct marketing mission

19 Understand the sales process

23 Control programs with numbers

29 The only program direction a good direct marketer will need

31 Rationalize program objectives

35 Separate field of dreams targeting from reality

37 Know when to listen to and when to ignore the sales force

39 Keep the marketing mission clear and focused

41 Use fewer conference calls to manage projects

43 Write cogent, well-reasoned program strategies

45 Understand internal constraints and systems

47 Ensure proper internal implementation

49 Manage expectations

51 Manage and control your teams

53 Simplify the approval process

57 Change the system when you can’t change the people

59 How to protect yourself from Presidents, CEOs, CFOs and other direct marketing incompetents

61 Never give away veto power over a program

63 Collect all relevant data for proper response analysis

65 Don’t panic

69 Test aggressively

75 Use data, not feelings, to control programs

77 Know that genius is in the details

79 Understand direct marketing isn’t brand marketing

83 Section 2: How everybody can avoid direct response disasters

85 Understand the math

89 Use the safe assumption, not the right assumption

93 Keep copy platforms and offers simple and focused

95 Sell-through offers can be dangerous

97 You’ve got 12 to 20 seconds to win their hearts

99 Make the offer clear and compelling

101 Direct marketing vs. brand

103 Pick the right format

105 Stealing smart

107 What research can and can’t tell you about direct response performance

111 Eschew obfuscation

113 Don’t test whispers

115 Test things that smack ‘em in the melon

125 Keep detailed program performance records

127 How to create and manage high-performance copy

133 How to create high-performance offers

137 How to ensure high-performance backend program management

141 Decision making in times of crisis

145 How to make sure the selling systems are successful

147 How to manipulate the sales force for fun and profit

151 The more things change, the more they remain the same

153 That’s all folks

About the Author

Bob Hacker started The Hacker Group, now known as HackerAgency, in 1986 as a direct marketing agency specializing in new customer acquisition. He sold the business and retired in 2002. Bob is a frequent writer and speaker on direct marketing issues, and is a graduate of The Harvard Business School and the University of Washington.

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