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*A Book Review*

Bly on Direct Marketing

By Robert W. Bly

by Michael C. Gray

May 6, 2009

Bob Bly is well known in the direct marketing world. He wrote The Copywriters Handbook, which many writers of advertising have found to be a valuable reference. He is especially highly regarded for business to business direct marketing.

In 2006, Bob issued Bly on Direct Marketing, distilled wisdom from his twenty five years of experience in direct marketing. The book is a collection of articles that Bob wrote for publication, probably in his own newsletter.

Bob has included some classic material in this book, such as Rosser Reeves’ three-part formula for creating a winning USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

When crafting a marketing message, the writer must develop a profile of Beliefs, Feelings and Desires of the people who make up the target market. By addressing Beliefs, Feelings and Desires, an emotional connection is established with the reader that can then be justified with logical reasoning.

Bob covers traditional direct marketing using mail and includes how to apply direct response principles to email and web pages.

Some of the material is at risk of having limited future value, because Bob critiques certain web pages that will either change or disappear in the future, if they haven’t already. The reader is invited to look up the web pages rather than including screen captures of the pages in the book.

Marketing media are rapidly evolving. Since this book was written, social media (such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter) have exploded and are being exploited as alternative ways of reaching prospective customers. Broadcast text messaging to cell phones is another medium that is growing in popularity.

Bob even has a chapter for the most basic means of local promotion – public speaking.

There is a valuable section on an area that is often neglected for small business marketing – testing. Bob shows the minimum number of responses required for a valid test, and how to roll out a mailing list without going broke.

A person of Bob Bly’s experience has valuable insights to help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls when using the most practical approach to small business promotion – direct marketing. This book is well worth studying.

Buy it on Amazon: Bly on Direct Marketing.

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David Ogilvy conducted extensive research on what really works, and then shared his findings with the world. Much of what he discovered is still underutilized.


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