Check Enclosed: The Perfect Teaser?

I got a piece of mail last week with a teaser in all caps:


Of course, I opened it. Inside was a real check made out to me in the amount of $2.50.

The beginning of the letter read:

Dear Neil,

The enclosed check for $2.50 is real. You can cash it if you choose, but I’m counting on you not to.

I sent you this check to make a point …

OK, so I haven’t cashed the check. (And I won’t.) I also haven’t made a contribution to the charity. (And I won’t.) But the teaser did its job. I opened the envelope.

Is there anyone who wouldn’t open an envelope with the teaser, CHECK ENCLOSED? (Except Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.)

Is the promise of free money a nearly perfect teaser concept?

I would think this particular mailing had a high open rate. That’s always the first major hurdle in direct mail.


4 Ways to Build Trust in a Shaky Economy

A decade ago Richard Edelman, head of the world’s largest independent public relations firm, developed the Edelman Trust Barometer, a tool designed for c-level executives to gauge trust.

An Edelman study from about a year ago concluded that CEOs aren’t very trusted. (Things have only grown worse.) The study also said people looking for authenticity tend to gravitate to others who are in similar circumstances.

Considering the current economic crisis, trust is more important than ever. But how do you build trust?

Continue reading “4 Ways to Build Trust in a Shaky Economy”

Creative Essay: Believe, Start

By Dick Paetzke

Many years back, I swapped my position as a senior account manager on the largest account in the Seattle office of McCann-Erickson, for that of a copywriter. I moved from a large and prestigious office with a Puget Sound view to an office one-third the size, with a view of the roof of the YWCA.

It wasn’t a whimsical decision and I hadn’t been demoted. In fact, I’d rescued our relationship with our biggest account by hijacking and writing an entire campaign for the client when our creative department failed to come up with anything but inappropriate and useless ideas.

When I sat down for the first time at a my much downsized and less imposing desk, I was struck by a terrifying idea: “Just because I have written acclaimed creative pieces once, what if I can’t to it again? What if I am a one-trick pony?”

Continue reading “Creative Essay: Believe, Start”

Jim Rohn on Value

“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”
– Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and entrepreneur

I’ve always liked the above quote.

If you’re a consultant, creative pro, marketer, or other professional services provider, navigating fee issues can be unnerving. I know when I started out I was sensitive about presenting my fees, whether an hourly rate or fixed project fee.

Now, not so much. As a rule of thumb, I don’t believe in hourly fees anymore — at least not for myself and what I do. I’m much faster and better than I was in the early days. In fact, my fees are probably more reasonable today than ever before.

That’s why Rohn’s quote makes perfect sense. It’s not about time; it’s about quality, value and results.

Afraid to Pick Up the Phone?

“Are you afraid to pick up the telephone?” began a column by Kate Krumpelman, general manager of the Blue Ridge Business Journal.

Kate opined about the lack of phone contact these days. I concur. Email is the preferred communication tool for a lot of reasons, including control and convenience. I’ve often wondered if it’s not also a crutch and shield.

Here’s a bit of Kate’s column:

When you use email exclusively, you send a rather loud message. You are saying you have either no desire to communicate personally, or that you can’t. There are certainly some situations when email is the most effective tool—such as passing on facts, tasks, assignments, announcements. However, with email you will never get the kind of personal touch that comes from picking up the phone and engaging in conversation.

I wanted to tell Kate I enjoyed her column, so instead of dashing off an email I picked up the phone. She answered. We talked, our first conversation.

I hope to pick up the phone more, even when I think I won’t reach anyone or I’m concerned about time.

Casting Vote Sends a Powerful Message

441030585_84546b0a5c_tAccording to reports, more Americans than ever before will cast their vote today in the presidential election. Besides being a privilege, voting sends a powerful message. And everybody’s ballot counts the same — one vote — whether W’s, Oprah’s, yours, or mine. That’s America. Celebrate it today — get out there and make your voice heard.

(Photo: J Colman/Flickr)