September 29, 2007

Multi Media

A NEW PRODUCT...was being offered to selected retailers for resale. Test mailings were to be followed by big mailings to those groups responding well. Between the test and the full mailing, we were retained to introduce the product via publicity.

IT WAS A BASIC CAMPAIGN...We reached potential retailers with news of the product through their trade publications. Reached them -- and the consumer too -- through news briefs in dailies via syndicates and in product columns of Sunday supplements and national consumer and business magazines. In many cases, the product stories alone helped establish distribution and consumer sales.

AS TO THE quote the man who knows how to sell by mail: "The follow-up mailings showed an increase of more than 50% over the test. Much too large to be an accident and since no space advertising had been used I give full credit to the PR work."

Of course, this wasn't the end of publicity for the product. Once initial distribution was established, we followed up with product features placed directly in dailies across the country -- carrying local dealer credits. This and other forms of product publicity continued to work with direct mail to build further distribution and sales.

January 1960

Eric's note: The wisdom of using multiple media to deliver a message is as strong as ever.

September 08, 2007


Milt Riback employed a boolean database system for managing his editorial contacts long before the advent of the personal computer.

By the early 1960s, he had replaced his Addressograph machine with one by Scriptomatic. This system used paper cards (fig. 1) that had a section set up for spirit duplication. This is where the address block went.

Around the edges of the cards were small holes that were numbered. A tool could punch one of the holes, removing the adjacent edge (fig. 2). Each hole had a value assigned by the user. In our case, one set of holes represented the type of media. Another set of holes was for the vertical industry or subject area. A third group represented the title of the addressee.

So, let's say you wanted to send a press release to all the automotive editors for daily newspapers as well as new product editors for automotive trade publications. You would do two searches.

For the first you would push a wand through the hole representing daily newspapers and put aside all the cards that you lifted. With the remaining cards you would wand the hole representing automotive editors. The cards that were left were the ones you wanted.

Assembling all the other cards again, you would repeat the process for automotive trade publications and from that group select new product editors.

Placing the two selected groups together, you now had your mailing list.

You would place those cards on the machine as well as a stack of envelopes. Turn a handle and it would feed the envelopes through as it reproduced an address on each one. Then all that was left was to stuff them with the release and mail.