Long ago, before the internet and cell phones existed, the direct marketing big bang happened. A group of vagabonds from the advertising and journalism worlds used clever words and tactics to fuel hypergrowth that resulted in the trillion dollar industry which we now call Direct Marketing.

As this very profitable industry evolved, it’s been called several different names: Mail Order Advertising, Advertising Mail, Direct Mail Marketing, Direct Response Marketing, Direct Marketing. And, as evidence of the next step, the leading trade association is now called the Data & Marketing Association.

Fast forward through decades of advancing technology, and the essential challenges remain the same to the marketer:

  1. How to identify the best prospects to buy your product or service
  2. How to capture your prospect’s attention with a relevant marketing message
  3. Which words will compel your prospect to buy, or request more information

How did these direct marketing pioneers do it?

Fortunately, they loved to write, and to share detailed descriptions of the marketing strategies which worked best for them.

These strategies work as well today as they did when written. Plus, the modern digital marketer can use the proven methods from these marketing mavens to improve results for:

  • Email subject lines
  • Landing page headlines
  • Message copy for triggered campaigns in your CRM
  • URL names and Google snippets for SEO

Hippo Direct Marketing Classics Library

Below are descriptions and links to the books in the Hippo Direct Marketing Classics Library. Each month I’ll summarize the key takeaways from a different one of these direct marketing books. As a start, see my April 2018 blog on “Direct mail copy that sells!

Databased Marketing
Every Manager’s Guide to the Super Marketing Tool of the 21st Century
Herman Holtz

Direct mail copy that sells!
Herschell Gordon Lewis

How to Start and Operate a Mail-Order Business
Julian L. Simon

How to Write Powerful Catalog Copy
Herschell Gordon Lewis

Mailing List Strategies
A Guide To Direct Mail Success
Rose Harper

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Mail Order Advertising
Herschell Gordon Lewis

Secrets of Successful Direct Mail
Richard V. Benson

Successful Direct Marketing Methods
Bob Stone

The Complete Direct Mail List Handbook 
Everything You Need to Know About Lists and How to Use Them for Greater Profit
Ed Burnett

The Direct Marketing Handbook
Edward L. Nash

The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of All Time
Why They Succeed, How They’re Created, How You Can Create Great Sales Letters, Too!
Richard S. Hodgson

The Solid Gold Mailbox
How to Create Winning Mail-Order Campaigns By the Man Who’s Done It All
Walter H. Weintz

Winning Direct Response Advertising
How to Recognize It, Evaluate It, Inspire It, Create It
Joan Throckmorton

Direct Marketing Growth Statistics

By the time this “golden generation” of direct marketers was finished, the amount of mail sent in US had increased by 326%. Why such growth? Because it worked for marketers.

  • According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, USPS mail volume increased from 63.7 billion pieces in 1960, to 85 billion pieces in 1970, to 208 billion pieces in 2000.
  • The USPS Risk Analysis Research Center said the number of pieces of Advertising Mail grew 9.8% annually from 1980-1988 while the USA’s Real GDP growth during this same 9 year period was 3.3% annually.
  • The New York Times, quoting statistics from the Direct Mail/Marketing Association said,  “A grander indication of D.M.’s growth lies in the astronomical statistics compiled by another industry organization, the Direct Mail/Marketing Association. All told, that group has calculated, $110 billion worth of goods and services was sold through direct marketing in 1980.”
  • Ad Age said revenues from direct-response advertising generated $1.5 trillion in U.S. sales during 1999, according to the DMA.

Yoda says, “Do, or do not”. When you apply the lessons from the Hippo Direct Marketing Classics Library, you’ll do better than ever!