One of Martin Conroy’s direct mail packages was in continuous use for 28 years, from 1975-2003. Most direct mail letters are lucky to last for 6 months. Here’s how the letter started:

“On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average sudents, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.”

Then you come to a sentence that makes you realize something else was in store.

“Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion.”

The letter, for the Wall Street Journal, then went on to describe that though they both came from  similar backgrounds, one went a lot further.  Of course, this was the person who had access to better information (e.g. someone who reads the Wall Street Journal).

Obviously this struck a chord since it succeeded in getting a stream of subscribers for 28 years.

The key to its success is that it is a story. A well-crafted story that pulls you along and leads you to the inescapable conclusion that the Wall Street Journal is key to success.

The moral of a story: Stories sell.


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