This week we lost Lester Wunderman, known as the father of direct marketing. He was A college drop-out with no formal training in advertising, he got into the mail-order business when he and his brother, Irving, proposed that the two of them work for one salary split between them. For decades, he used zip codes and research databases to identify customers, then send them personalized messages matched to their interests and characteristics with mailings, promotional letters, phone calls, newspaper and magazine inserts. He dramatically increased sales with toll-free telephone numbers for ordering, postage-paid subscription cards, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and loyalty reward programs.
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This week we lost Lester Wunderman, known as the father of direct marketing. He was A college drop-out with no formal training in advertising, he got into the mail-order business when he and his brother, Irving, proposed that the two of them work for one salary split between them.
For decades, he used zip codes and research databases to identify customers, then send them personalized messages matched to their interests and characteristics with mailings, promotional letters, phone calls, newspaper and magazine inserts. He dramatically increased sales with toll-free telephone numbers for ordering, postage-paid subscription cards, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and loyalty reward programs.
From book clubs to record companies, advertisers became his clients because they liked his ideas of selling direct to consumers. Always looking to innovate, in the 80s, he created a subscription coffee service, using direct-mail ads and later online advertising.
Recognized for being vocal about holding advertising dollars accountable for results, here are some wise and memorable words from Lester Wunderman…. From his speech to the Hundred Million Club in …. It will be replaced by direct marketing—a new more efficient method of selling, based on scientific advertising principles and serviced by increasingly more efficient automated warehousing, shipping and collection techniques… We may not yet know the eventual shape of the new marketing form we are building—but we do know that fresh ideas will be its bricks and mortar.
In he said…. And if I read our marketing and social revolution accurately, responsiveness is the only road to a technology which will serve people instead of enslaving them. On the CEO Show in , he said…. If people were going to spend money on it, they ought to know what effect the expense was having. The secret of the future is to listen to the customer, not to talk to him. The product and its communication stream must continue to provide him with both rational and emotional answers.
And this final thought from Lester…. Thank you, Lester Wunderman. You were a great talent whose brilliant creative effort not only impacted the way we think about and do advertising, you also paved the way for the small business owner to grow his business.
May you rest in peace. What are some of your favorite quotes from Lester Wunderman? Let us know in the comments! Heeey Nick…Great Stuff in your post. He was a true pioneer! God rest his soul. I never heard of him but he learned about scientific advertising that has propelled my marketing and the way i think about business. I would love to hear more about him Nick. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Follow Us Facebook Twitter linkedin youtube. Ode to Lester Wunderman, father of direct marketing was last modified: January 18th, by Molly Morgan.
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Being Direct: Making Advertising Pay
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Lester Wunderman, Father of Direct Marketing, Dies at 98
Proceeds from eBook sales will benefit Bridging The Gap Mekong Trust, a not-for-profit organization whose prime purpose is to improve the education and potential employment prospects of underprivileged, isolated children living along a stretch of the Mekong River in Northern Laos, a cause that is important to Wunderman. But it's a matter of wonder that he remains unchallenged as its contemporary practitioner and that he can envisage its future with more clarity and common sense than anyone I know. Lester Wunderman holds the customer at the forefront and challenges us to shift our paradigm to truly make the customer, not the product, the hero. Since he coined the term 'direct marketing' nearly 40 years ago, Lester has been instrumental in the evolution from mass audience general advertising to database-driven direct marketing. This latest edition of Being Direct is clearly the reflection of Lester's decades of experience. With an eye on the future, he offers a new chapter that provides us a thoughtful perspective on how the Internet is creating a more in-control consumer, which promises to have a dramatic — and lasting — impact on direct marketing.
Lester Wunderman , the advertising executive credited with pioneering the hugely successful modern techniques of direct marketing, with sales pitches aimed at targeted prospective customers in their homes and geared to their interests or characteristics, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was A spokeswoman for his agency, the Wunderman Group , confirmed the death on Monday. Wunderman never graduated from college, had no formal training in advertising and got into the mail-order business on a two-for-one offer: one salary split between him and his brother. It proved to be a big bargain for Madison Avenue. Long before anyone had ever heard of internet sales or interactive communications, Mr. Using ZIP codes and research databases to identify likely customers, Wunderman teams reached them at home with mailings, promotional letters, phone calls, and newspaper and magazine inserts.