Mackay Makes It Happen

Harvey Mackay, bestselling author and chairman of Minneapolis-based Mackay Envelope Co., has been dubbed “Mr. Make Things Happen” by Fortune magazine. And in delivering the keynote address today at the DM Days Conference at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, he certainly made a rousing session happen. Mackay regaled the audience with anecdotes demonstrating how direct marketing is all about “finding new and creative ways to do the same thing differently.”

Mackay cited the power of the Web as compared to television and radio. Whereas it took radio 30 years to attract 50 million users, and television 15 years, it took the Web just five years to match that number. Direct marketing offers several advantages over traditional advertising: By 2006, Mackay estimates that a 30-second TV commercial during the Superbowl may cost $2.7 million, and a full-page ad in USA Today could run about $110,000, but a well executed DM piece could reach the same amount of people virtually for pennies. “Today you have more of an ability to measure results,” Mackay said. “You have more arrows in your collective quivers than ever before, but it’s important to remember that knowledge isn’t power until it is used.” What’s more, Mackay said, you never know where your opportunities will come from. “The two most important sources for you should be the people you meet and the books you read.” Mackay claimed that much of the success he’d had in his life was due to his rolodex, which included as much personal information as he could find on each individual he’d ever met in business. “People like to deal with the people they like,” he said.

Establishing and reestablishing relationships with people is what essentially makes business go, Mackay said. In business relationships, “little things don’t mean a lot…they mean everything.” Mr. Make Things Happen also stressed the importance of believing in yourself and sticking to your long-term plans: “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” He urged attendees to write down individual goals, and reemphasized the significance of personal relationships. “People don’t care how much you know about them until they realize how much you care about them,” he said.