Friday, May 26, 2006


SmartBrief Has It Right, AOL's Real Failure, NAPL Business Review, Harte-Hanks Makes a Smart Move

SmartBrief is a publisher that handles e-newsletters for associations and corporations. They do the marvelous Interactive Advertising Bureau newsletter and some of the associations in the industry would do well to hire them. The link above is to sign up to their various newsletters; I selected the page because it shows the wide range of work that they do and the organizations they serve. On that note, the Print Council (not but has not had a press release since March 16, and since that time some great stories are left untrumpeted, such as Hasbro doing its first catalog ever, the continuing rise of direct mail, and the success of the OnDemand Printing show.... after all, it's still printing. The Hasbro story is one that doesn't come around too often, and you have to seize it when it's hot.
Hasbro story
Hasbro marketing executive interviewed

70% of Americans have Internet access according to Harris Interactive;jsessionid=FCORY4UUKT2EOQSNDBOCKICCJUMEKJVN

AOL now says it would have been successful if it had taken Yahoo!'s strategy. What a crock. I killed my AOL subscription because their tech department's answer to every problem was "reload your software" and had no solution for corrupt or lost e-mail files. And how about un-compelling content? Or when you buy things from AOL's direct marketing arm that the products work. Or perhaps online tech support systems that don't crash. Or have people who know where the "on" button is on the computer. A good strategy would have been providing a satisfying customer experience. Do they teach that in MBA programs or do they just teach Microsoft Excel? I don't know a single person who gave up their AOL account who is not now having a joyous Internet life (okay, maybe joyous is overboard, but you know what I mean).

NAPL's new publication, Business Review, arrived in the mail today, and it's quite impressive. All I have is a press release link. Guess what... no PDF or other online version is available... I sent a note to them, and I'll see if they provide one, and I'll be the first to report where one can find it. The hard copy may be intended for the 30% of Americans who don't have Internet access :) Seriously, it's for NAPL members only, so if you or your company is one, get a copy. It's far better than the prior NAPL magazine, and I think you'll find it quite different from the tech and spec content filler that some industry magazines fall prey to. And besides that, yours truly is mentioned in the sidebar in their China story.

Harte-Hanks made an interesting acquisition. Well, maybe not so interesting because it seems so natural to have one of the biggest data base companies buy a direct mail producer. I doubt you'll see printers buying data base marketers. I wonder what InfoUSA or D&B might do. H-H specializes in many niche areas so this probably makes more sense for them, providing one-stop implementation (notice I didn't say "shopping").

Thanks for the kind words - Howard Sherman, VP of Content, SmartBrief.
my pleasure! the iab newsletter is probably the most important e-mail i get every day.

i have mentioned it many times in my presentations and in my columns

i particularly appreciate how you have worked the layout so it's not excessive, it's very clean in its design, and gets to the point. well done!
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