May 24, 2010

Make the Calls!

I've been in the publishing business for 30 years. A lot has changed, but at least one thing remains true: If you are selling to independent retailers, no matter how many customers you have, you need to call them.

They may love your company and its products, and perhaps you're not worried about a competitor taking your place on their shelves. But they have a lot of vendors, employees to manager and customers to serve. In this economy many have reduced employee hours, which means the owners and managers are doing more.

My wife and I own a small publishing company, and running it is one of several gigs we each have. Ours is a somewhat seasonal business, Memorial Day was approaching, and we had both been busy with other things. She started calling and the result is May will be our best month to date. A number of dealers thanked her for calling because they just hadn't got around to ordering our product.

"Smiling and dialing" still works.

May 05, 2010

Press Agents Shining Hour, today 3:15 - 4:15 local time

On this 47th Press Agents Shining Hour, I recall PASH's greatest coverage when my dad hired college students to picket the White House:

On May 5th,1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson's White House observed one of the more unusual "special events" -- Press Agents Shining Hour (PASH).

PASH was the first client of a company called Proxy Pickets, formed by and employing DC college students to picket for hire. The PASH demonstration was picked up by AP and numerous local papers, resulting in more than 100 placements nationally. And we almost made national TV: the founder of Proxy Pickets was later on "To Tell The Truth," and just as Kitty Carlisle asked the real founder who his first client was, Bud Collyer said that time was up!

In Marc Benioff's book, Behind the Cloud, the founder of writes about a similar tactic. From the Business Week review:
Benioff could have written an entire book about marketing. This one is peppered with ideas that once seemed over the top but turned out to work. Early on, for example, Benioff hired actors to pose as protesters outside a user conference held by larger rival Siebel Systems. They chanted that traditional software was "obsolete" while a fake TV crew interviewed passersby. The stunt generated a lot of press—aka, free advertising.
Great minds...