I learned the craft of being a professional writer within the walls of one of the world’s largest catalog companies. In those days, catalogs were our primary means of advertising. We hardly did any radio or newspaper ads (and when we did do print ads, we designed and wrote them ourselves). Our entire integrated customer experience hinged on mailing catalogs and having customers interact with human beings on the phone or in our one retail store.
Back then, we really were our own media company. I was fortunate to work in an environment rich in both creativity and measurement. The effect of my words was on full display every day—in sales, letters, phone calls (and eventually, e-mails).