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Last Update: Monday February 26, 2018

Key Idea: Keep Marketing Messages Fresh

Bruce Camber, our executive producer, and John Wargo talk about marketing messages.

Key Question:


Keep talking to customers and potential customers.  Keep your brand intact but come up with new offers and fresh intrigue to bring customers to your shop or web site.

Communication doesn't have to be expensive. We learned from Bob Orenstein, the mail-order genius, that you can use the same print piece multiple times by leaving some white space.  Each time you use the piece, the white space is over printed with a new offer.

Or use Modern Postcard to print high quality, low cost messages.  They will even mail the cards for you.

Think about it

When was the last time you communicated with all of your customers?  What kind of database do you have?  Does your database contain current customers only or does it include potential customers?  What kind of response did you get from your last mail or email to customers?

Clip from: Angell & Phelps

Daytona Beach, Florida: As a boy, Dr. Alvin Smith would go into the local chocolate shop, Angell & Phelps, just to smell the candy -- he couldn't afford to buy any.  
That all changed in 1983; Dr. Smith bought the company. 
While he continues to practice medicine as a cancer specialist, his son Al, runs Angell & Phelps day-to-day. They have expanded from one location to four and do extensive mail-order.

Dr. Alvin Smith said, "This is potentially a business that could be grown a lot more. But you'd have to put preservatives in the candy. Once you put preservatives in the candy, it will destroy the quality of the candy; it will change its taste."

Each piece of candy is a little piece of artwork created by hand and made from recipes that haven't changed since 1925. 
Even though they have grown the business, this small business has a key philosophy to stay small. The drive to get bigger and bigger is not a goal of all business owners; and that focus -- to stay reasonably small, especially given the dynamics within our global economy, may be quite wise.

Angell & Phelps

Al Smith, Owner

154 South Beach Street
Toll Free: 1-800-969-2634
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Visit our web site:

Office: 386-252-6531

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1983

Keep Marketing Messages Fresh

HATTIE: John Wargo, our marketing expert, gives us more to think about.

John, for four years I've been sending this postcard to public television programmers, and in June, at the PBS convention, I was talking with two people and one man said, `Oh, do you know Hattie?,' starting to introduce me, and other guy goes, `Everybody knows Hattie,' because my picture has been on this postcard for four years. But then he said, `Hattie, you should offer a $500 reward at the bottom of one of your postcards and see if anybody calls you.'

He's tired of this one postcard. And in other words, he's saying that we don't read your postcards anymore because you've been sending the same postcard for four years.

So what do you think of this? I started sending postcards from the places where we tape stories.

JOHN WARGO: I think what you've done here is added creativity and variety. The old one worked for you for a couple of years, and then it started reaching a wall of diminishing returns and the fact is that it wasn't creative anymore, it wasn't relevant, so you really did need to do something different. I think your customers told you to change.

HATTIE: So the lesson is if your customers tell you they're tired of something ...

JOHN: Change. You've got to listen to your customer, Hattie. This just requires a little more creativity ... brain power ... it didn't cost you anymore. And you also show them that you care about them and you listen to them. That makes a big difference.

When you listen, it really doesn't take up space, and you are living on the edge. (A reference to the show's byline, "If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.)

HATTIE: Here's Bruce Camber with e-mail from a viewer.

BRUCE CAMBER: Hi. I'm Bruce Camber out on the edge. I ask everyone I meet who is over 50, `Are you going retire?' It's a loaded question because I believe retirement is an invitation to the grave.

(Voiceover) Here's one of my favorite e-mail messages. `I believe SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL is an all-inspiring program. I've been retired for eight years from California State University and I've decided to come out of retirement in some way or other thanks to you and KCSM.' Yes, Jose Gonzalez.

We've met a lot of small-business owners in their 60s, 70s, 80s, even their 90s. And they're not working because they have to, they're working because they want to. It defines them. It gives them meaning and value. I think that's the way it ought to be.

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