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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Locked up in Voice-Mail Jail: Denny Hatch rides again

For years I have suggested to people who run businesses that they try calling themselves some time and see what happens.

And for about the same number of years I have passed on something I read to the effect that the single thing in modern life that pisses people off most is automated telephone answering machines.

To this I now add people in call centres whose accents I simply cannot understand.

All this I recalled when I read this today from Denny Hatch:

"Nothing drives me crazier than the voice-mail jail that certain organizations have instituted. They start with the following recorded message:

“Your call is important to us …”

Whereupon I am given a world-class runaround of confusing choices―all recorded―that takes me further and further into the corporate labyrinth. One wrong choice and I am sent back to “GO.” Finally I get:

“All our representatives are currently busy … However, your call is important to us …”

What that message is really saying: “We’re having happy hour here in India and you are a big fat pain in the ass.”

Denny is a National American Treasure when it comes to marketing. He knows what works - and what doesn't - and why.

A month or so ago I did a piece on his new report
The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting, which
features the best mailings of the last 20 years and the emotional triggers that made them so powerful..

Only Denny could have put it together, because Denny has this astonishing archive of material going back way to 1984 - thousands upon thousands of mailings - and the appeals that work in the mail tend to work in other media.

The big problem we all face as writers is "How the hell do I begin?" - and that's where Denny's report is such a help, and why
I call it the Copy Thieves’ Almanac. I actually adapted one of the examples for some work I was doing for a client.

Anyhow that piece I wrote a month ago got a lot of reaction from people - so if you're interested, you can get the report at:

What amazes me is just how many people nowadays want to write better copy. When I started at this game hardly anybody knew what a copywriter was.

In fact my friend the late Bill Jayme had a good one-liner about it: "Have you ever been able to explain satisfactorily to your mother what you do for a living?"

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