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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Paper On Your Shelves

Some customers still want paper copies of marketing and communication materials from you.  

Key Question:


Communicate with them.

Q: How do you feel about the person who writes you a note and sends it via the physical mail?

A: You might think that the person is nuts. However, we believe that this personal touch enhances every relationship. The first President Bush was famous for writing handwritten notes and for adding a PS in writing to a typed letter. All big business deals are done between people who have a relationship and writing notes builds something special between you and the person to whom you write.

Think about it

When was the last time you wrote a note and mailed it to a business contact?

Do you mail a physical newslettter or catalog?  Do you think it would get you some new business?

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

Keep Paper On Your Shelves

HATTIE: John Wargo, our marketing adviser, says that the paperless office may never arrive. John, we went to look at Theatrical Lighting Systems in Huntsville, Alabama, partly because they came early to the Web and are using the Web extensively to service their customers. But what we found when we went there is they're still using print. Do you think we'll ever have a paperless office?

JOHN WARGO: No, I don't believe we'll ever have a paperless office. Nor do I believe that the Web is going to replace paper. It will change some of the ways that we communicate with customers. The Web is an effective way to communicate with customers. Print is an effective, proven way to communicate with customers. It's options. It's not one or the other. It's both.

HATTIE: Well, you'll find this interesting. Even though the people that buy from David are very technical and they're using the Web, he says they love his newsletter.

JOHN: Right.

HATTIE: And when they get the newsletter, they respond and they love this price list in print. Why?

JOHN: Well, there's a couple of reasons. First of all, when you receive the newsletter in the mail, you open and read it. You're not always surfing on the Web site. So you might not be at the Web site looking for the latest information. For example, he's announcing a sale that's going to be a 30-day sale. Well, if you're traveling, if you don't have your computer with you, you might not pick this information up. So you put it on the Web site, you send it to your best customers. People open and read their mail, they don't necessarily open and read their e-mail messages as routinely. We know that for a fact. Second, people do like print. They do like to have copies in their hands. They do like to be able to reference it and to look at it. The bottom line: It's not a paperless society. It will never be a paperless society. There'll be room for print. In fact, I think the Internet is going to generate more print and more types of print opportunities. So it's the combination of the two, not one or the other.

HATTIE: OK. Remember, sometimes you have to go outside for the insight to help your business grow. We'll see you next time.


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