Aside from a fan letter once to Ray Schultz, I haven’t found any real reason to write to DIRECT prior to this.
Yeah, yeah, I should have sent a note about my respect for Tom Collins. I’ve pulled and saved almost every one of his Makeover Maven pieces. The guy really is a whiz.
And yeah, I should have sent some notes about all the other material in DIRECT that keeps me afloat.
Now, though, I’m forced to write because I’ve run across someone who has to be the funniest direct marketer in the world.
He’s Jeffrey Dobkin, who has a Web site at www.dobkin.com.
I drop in to view it. Pretty good site. Pretty good advice on how to create effective direct marketing campaigns.
In fact, his material is so convincing that I decided to add a couple of his books on DM to my already formidable advertising/marketing library.
Then the clincher. Or clinchers, I should say.
Ol’ Jeff tells us how important it is to make the phone number nice and large in the ad. Really big. Read it from 3 feet away. Important that you make it easy for your potential customers to reach you.
Then he puts in his phone number: 800-234-IDEA.
If you’ve looked at a telephone keypad recently, you’ve noticed that the letters are smaller than the numbers. After all, they’ve gotta cram three letters onto each key, but only one numeral.
So I convert (slowly) I-D-E-A to 4-3-3-2, and then call, hoping to order about 54 bucks’ worth of his books.
Now the real howler: No one’s there!
No answer. Nothing. Nyet. Nicht. Nada!
After a few rings, a secondary ringer comes on. And I hear the tone of (are you sitting down?) a fax machine!
I don’t believe my ears. Call again, ring ring ring, switchover, ring ring ring, fax tone.
Whew! I put my credit card back in my wallet.
If I ever again think I’ll need more books on DM, I’ll order ‘em from DIRECT.
Regarding Herschell Gordon Lewis’ comments in “0% APR = 0% Interest on My Part” (Curmudgeon-at-Large, DIRECT, Sept. 1), I can sympathize with him very much.
A week doesn’t go by when I don’t get some type of offer in the mail or a phone call during the evening hours to transfer balances at a low fixed rate for six months. I keep telling them that when I can transfer balances with no penalty and have a 0% APR until the balance is paid off, then that’s the offer for me! Of course, I don’t get any takers.
A few months ago I overheard two people talking about the ultimate American Express card. It’s not molybdenum, but the color of it is black. I called Amex to ask about the card and was told [the annual fee is] $1,000 and you must charge at least $100,000 a year or more on the card. I guess that’s why I was never offered it! I don’t believe I know of anyone who possesses an Amex black card. I couldn’t get much information out of the agent to find out what one gets for the $1,000 compared with the $300 platinum card. Though I would like to know.
Carte Blanche and Diners Club have now duplicated Amex’s platinum card by offering me their combo card for $300 a year with similar benefits as the Amex platinum. Not a great deal, since I own Carte Blanche and a Diners Club cards with yearly fees totaling under $200. And besides, I already have an Amex platinum and see no reason to waste another $300.
Ethel T. Olcsvay
East Brunswick, NJ