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February 24, 2005

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David Eddy

re: Seth Godin/"Clue Train Manifesto"

After having attempted to improve the customer-to-direct mailer dialogue (e.g. "junk mail") I'm unfortunately now of the opinion that the direct mail industry is about 98.5% uninterested in any sort of two-way dialogue.

FACT (you can verify this yourself)... I visited the websites for the top 100 catalog operations. Dell Computer #1, little ol' LLBean down around #18 (putting some 200 million catalogs annually into our local landfills)... while virtually everyone had an easily findable mechanism to request a catalog, less than 5 had any easily finable means to request some sort of address change (e.g. spell my name right, I'm getting duplicates, household me, this person has been dead a number of years, take me off your list since I'm just not in your market any more, etc.)

The utter unresponsiveness of the direct marketing industry (way beyond catalog mailers) was rather astonishing.

John Wanamaker's "I know half my advertising budget is wasted, but I just can't figure which half..." is alive & well despite the Internet. Now that the Internet enables a cost effect means for consumers to actually tell merchants what they (the customers) want/don't want, why won't merchants listen? Beats me.

- David

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