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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Reach Customers In Multiple Ways

You have to reach customers in the ways that they want to be reached.  Before  fax or email, Johnny Cash just called up David on the telephone.  Those were the good old days.

Key Question:


Do what the customer asks you to do in the way that they want it done.

Q:  Why can't we teach customers how to communicate with us and not fool with all the different types of communications?

A: First of all there are best ways of doing specific types of customer communications. And second, we have to be where our customers are not where we want them to be. Many owners dream of the day when they can simply post everything on the Internet and be done with it. Well, that may happen but we're not there yet. David said that even though they were early to the web and love the benefits of using the web, their customers still want a physical catalog they can quickly refer to without going to their computer.

Think about it

What is your customer communication plan and how can you make it better?

Clip from: Theatrical Lighting

Huntsville, Alabama: Meet David Milly.  When he was a student at University of Alabama at Huntsville, he earned money booking entertainment and dances for his school. From his first booking, Earl Scruggs Review, a country-bluegrass band (of Deliverance fame), he knew this was what he wanted to do.

To book the lighting package for the show, he engaged Luna Tech, a sole proprietor, and they struck up a friendship. By the time he graduated in 1975 they had a partnership and then they formed a corporation to protect themselves from the liability involved with manufacturing and creating pyrotechnic special effects. David was initially a 25% stockholder in the business, yet by 1981 he negotiated a buyout of just the lighting division to be on his own.  That's a story, but this one just gets better.

At that time there was no trade association for the lighting industry. In 1987 a few of the fellows started one, Theatrical Dealers Association, and David was quick to join and serve on the board. He initiated a Small Business Development Committee. Today this national association is known as ESTA or the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. 

David has also been an active member of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau for three decades. In this episode of the show you will meet all kinds of people who love Huntsville, who love Janet and David Milly, and love the stuff of making their community a great place to live.

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Theatrical Lighting Systems

David Milly, CEP / founder

1221 Jordon Lane
P.O. Box 2646
Huntsville, AL 35804

Visit our web site:

Office: 256-533-7025

Business Classification:
Lighting Supplies

Year Founded: 1981

Reach Customers In Multiple Ways

DAVID: So we edit one time and we edit the paper copy...

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Newsletters and catalogues mailed regularly and a Web site keep the TLS name in front of customers. David, when did you put your Web site up?

DAVID: We've had our Web page up probably, I think, late 1994. We've been on the Internet for quite a while.

HATTIE: So what's new? I know you're adding new things. What's happening now on your site?

DAVID: Well, one of the things we've just added recently is all the control consoles these days have software updates. And instead of a person having to go to the manufacturer's Web page, we tried to link from our Web page all the manufacturers that we represent and sell equipment for or rent. So you go on to our Web page and you can download.

HATTIE: So whatever you've invested in the Web site up to this point, are you getting your return on your investment?

DAVID: I think we've had one or two sales that has paid for five years of Internet. People have found us on the Internet. And it was some people from other countries, flew into Huntsville, did business with us and flew back out and more than paid for it. And so we're well ahead.

HATTIE: Wow. Do you have an internal person that this is their baby, they make sure it's happening?

DAVID: We have a part-time college kid who keeps our Web page up and, actually, does a superb job with it. We hired a professional to get us started and then he has edited. And we've sent him to a couple of classes. I don't recommend everybody do that. It would be a lot quicker and simpler to hire somebody to do it. But I figured out a way to do it very inexpensively for us. And the information on a Web page needs to be updated every time it needs to be updated, which around here is daily. You put things on sale, you hire new people, you add manufacturers, you subtract. So, you know, we try to keep it as current as possible. So it's current within a week.


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