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Long Live Betty White (and Direct Mail)

Debora Haskel

Some lines just never get old. They may not get the same hearty laugh or extended giggle as the first time you heard them, but they still draw at least a smile. For example, every time I’m on my way to the airport and see the Airport Diner marquee that says, “Eat now. Pay Waiter,” I chuckle. The first time I said, “Direct mail is the Betty White of marketing,” I got a big laugh. I promised to stop saying it when no one laughs—so I’m still using it.

What Does It Mean to Be “The Betty White of Direct Mail”?

For context: In honor of Betty’s 92nd birthday in 2014, I wrote a blog comparing the longevity and staying power of Betty White with that of direct mail. The first sentence of the blog said, “When the approval of the exigent rate increase was announced, it resulted in a flood of headlines proclaiming, in one form or another, the demise of direct mail. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Direct mail is a marketing darling.”

Fast forward three years to the eve of another postage increase leading many to wonder if direct mail can continue to survive. Direct mail isn’t just surviving; it’s thriving in an environment where the majority of marketers are using and integrating three or more channels. Later this week, I’ll be writing about the findings from DMA’s 2016 Response Rate Report. Here’s a teaser from the introduction: “Direct mail, considered outdated by many, still impresses with its strong response rate.” Like Betty White (especially in sitcoms), direct mail is Golden (especially for acquisition campaigns).

Ensuring Betty White’s Legacy with Clever Fundraising

My fondness for Betty and her staying power caused a colleague to send a link to the recent GoFundMe campaign to protect Betty from 2016. The campaign was the brainchild of a South Carolina man who promised to fly wherever Betty was to keep her safe from a year that took the lives of many beloved celebrities including David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, Alan Thicke, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.

The crowdfunding campaign surpassed its goal of raising $2,000 on its first day. Betty White’s representative suggested the money be donated to charity, saying that he and Betty have a deal that she will live to be at least 100 because he has her booked to work, and her word is Golden. The money raised ($9,245 in just under three weeks) was donated to the Spartanburg Little Theatre to help find new artists to carry the mantle of all the great ones we lost this year and ensure a better 2017 for the arts.

One of my favorite stories about Betty White is her response when asked how it feels to be called legendary. She replied, “I just laugh. Have I got them fooled.” You’re not fooling me, Betty. Happy 95th birthday to an amazing funny, sassy, feisty woman who makes me just laugh, too.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2017/01/17/happy-birthday-betty-white/
Debora Haskel

Author

Debora Haskel

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications. Graduate of Syracuse University. Bringing the “there’s no such thing as good enough” philosophy to IWCO Direct since 2000. Single Source Award winner while at Banta, antique auction aficionado and New York Yankees supporter since age 4.

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