Whether an audience of one or one hundred, Lester’s wisdom, intelligence, perceptiveness and style are best conveyed in his own words.
"Look back through the whole of history of advertising and you will find that eruptions of brilliant creative effort took place wherever great talent existed and was permitted to function under stimulating and rewarding conditions."
"I believe the next ten years will see a continuing decline of the mail-order business as has been defined in the past. It will be replaced by direct marketing—a new more efficient method of selling, based on scientific advertising principles and serviced by increasingly more efficient automated warehousing, shipping and collection techniques... We may not yet know the eventual shape of the new marketing form we are building—but we do know that fresh ideas will be its bricks and mortar."
— October 1, 1961, W-I-P/Hundred Million Club
"We are living in an age of re-personalization. People, product and services are all seeking an individual identity. Taste, desire, ambition and lifestyle have made shopping once again a form of personal expression. A computer can know and remember as much marketing detail about 200 million consumers as did the owner of a crossroads general store about his handful of customers. It can know and select such personal details as who prefers strong coffee, imported beans, new fashions, and bright colors. Who just bought a home, freezer, camera, automobile. Who had a new baby, is overweight, got married, owns a pet, likes romantic novels, serious reading, listens to Bach or the Beatles. New marketing forms which will link these facts to advertising and selling must evolve—where advertising and buying become a single action."
"Those marketers who ignore the implications of our new individualized information society will be left behind in what may well come to be known as the age of mass production and marketing ignorance."
— MIT, November 29, 1967, "Direct Marketing: The New Selling Revolution"
"Advertising has always been capable of eliciting a response—but only in the nature of a direct marketing dialogue do we find the potential for responsiveness. And if I read our marketing and social revolution accurately, responsiveness is the only road to a technology which will serve people instead of enslaving them."
— January 26, 1971, Direct Mail: A New Medium in a Changing Society, London, The United Kingdom
"...Cybernetics, the unique interaction of man and machine, will change what we do and how and where we do it. It is not hard to envisage us doing part of our week’s work at home—almost no matter where we live. The speed of light, sound and electrical energy will bring everything to use everywhere in an instant."
— 1980, 12th Annual International Direct Marketing Symposium, Montreux, Switzerland
"So where do we go from here? Let me begin my exploration of our future by declaring that direct marketing as I have described, practiced and predicted it for more than thirty years is over. It must and will be replaced by a marketing force so effective that it will become not just an alternative form of marketing but the predominant practice of the future."
— 1993, 76th International Direct Marketing Symposium, Toronto, Canada
"The thing that fascinates me is what is yet to come and what is yet to be and what is yet to be made to happen. And I live in that world."
— 2004, internal client meeting, New York
"The most dangerous question a prospect or customer asks is "Why should I?" And he may ask it more than once... The product and its communication stream must continue to provide him with both rational and emotional answers."
— 2004, Being Direct, Making Advertising Pay
"I can’t claim to having had a vision of its [the Internet’s] eventual popularity, but I had an absolute fascination with its potential. I knew what it could do…and was viewing it as a technological miracle that could bring life to the kind of dreams I had about dialogues between consumers and advertisers."
— Conversations with Marketing Masters, Laura Mazur and Louella Miles, 2007, John Wiley & Sons
"I got the sense that advertising ought to be totally accountable. If people were going to spend money on it they ought to know what effect the expense was having."
"I grew up watch data become a science, and in our case the science of data became the foundation of our business."
"It’s what we know about the customer and what the customer does, has done, and is likely to do that lets us pretty much predict the effects from advertising."
"What we have today are two-way technologies. We’re in the death-knell of one-way conversations and the birth of the dialog system of marketing. The secret of the future is to listen to the customer, not to talk to him."
— The CEO Show, April 11, 2010
"I've always had the audacity to try new things...As a matter of fact, what I'm most afraid of is convention. If anything, I'm afraid of being stuck in the ruts of the old vehicles that have passed over the road."
— Adweek, August 30–September 6, 2010, "Driving Response"
"Relentlessly pursue tomorrow."
— June 2013
"The satisfaction of doing something unique, creative and individual will change you forever."
— June 2013