We Need Experts!
By Alan Rosenspan, President, Alan Rosenspan & Associates

I’m sure you’re all aware of the miraculous water landing of U.S. Air Flight 1549.

As someone who has more frequent flyer points than most pilots, I was reassured and grateful that no one had been injured.

But, as a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out, it wasn’t luck that saved the 155 people on board. It was skill.

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger was an expert who had been fully trained for exactly this kind of situation. He had even taught courses in emergency landings on water.

What’s the connection to direct marketing?

We need experts.

Direct marketing is our job; what we do for our company; our clients, and often ourselves. And we are obliged to be as knowledgeable, as informed, and as skilled as we possibly can.

In Malcom Gladwell’s most recent book, Outliers, he describes the less-obvious factors that influence success.

For example, back in the 1970’s there was only one high school in America that had a personal computer hooked up to a mainframe at a nearby university.

Only one kid who went to that high school began fooling around with the computer, and then spending more and more time on it.

As you may have guessed, his name was Bill Gates.

Gates owes his amazing success to many different things, including his obvious brilliance, his willingness to take risks, and his ability to work long and hard.

But the point of the book is – he also owes it to where he was born, and what was available to him at that time.

These are factors that are outside your control to some degree, but Outliers also talks about a magic number that is under your control.

The number is 10,000 hours.

Gladwell believes that if you spend 10,000 hours doing something – anything – you can become a master at it. And almost every “overnight” success you’ve ever heard about, has put in countless hours of practice.

So make yourself a promise – and become an expert in direct marketing. Read the latest books and journals. Study what works and doesn’t work.

The more you know – the better you’re going to be able to survive and even prosper in this difficult economy.

---Source: Alan Rosenspan is an internationally renowned direct marketing expert and president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates. He has written over 100 articles for direct marketing publications around the world, which can be found at Email him at


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