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Last Update: Sunday April 11, 2021

Key Idea: Spend On Good Design

Marketing consultant, John Wargo, says  that exquisite design in your marketing material will generate a high level of interest.

Key Question:


Create print and email pieces that customers want to hold on to or pass along to others.  This will probably require some expert help but you may have people on your payroll who can accomplish this. 

Q:  What happens to most mail when we receive it?

A:  We toss it or in the case of email, we delete it.

Q:  What will cause a person to hold on to a physical piece of mail and even go back and re-read it?

A:  Compelling design or valuable information.

Think about it

Do your customers tell you how much they enjoy receiving mail or email from you?  Does your direct contact with customers win new sales?

Clip from: Saris Cycling Group aka Graber

Madison, Wisconsin: Sara and Chris Fortune bought Graber Products in 1989 when it had 24 employees and $3.3 million in sales. When we taped this story there were up to 60 employees and with revenues over $10 million. They continue to grow, changed the name of the company to Saris Cycling Group, and are very committed to keeping their manufacturing in the USA.

Actually, manufacturing is on its way back to the USA!

That is not prophetic verse but the reality of our advancing technologies where highly educated workers can do it better, often faster, and sometimes cheaper than anywhere in the world.

This episode is a case in point: And, this story comes from the heartlands of America. These are the kind of people who love this country and all those basic freedoms to do the right thing in the face of adversity. They have done it right and now they ship their products around the world.

When Chris and Sara bought Graber Products, they bought a solid business with a good reputation, but the sales were flat. The employees were dedicated, but the company needed fresh energy to start growing again. To dump the stodgy image of the company that he bought, Chris found an Italian fashion designer who came up with improved form and function for his bike racks. Chris believed that the market was ready, willing and waiting for new ideas and he was right. Customers have flocked to the new products and employees love to come to work.

They are their industry leaders. They have kept manufacturing in America. And, their industry recognizes them for their generosity of spirit, moral courage, and ethical leadership. These people are quiet heroes,  new pioneers making the world a better place.

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Saris Cycling Group (once known as Graber Products)

Chris Fortune, CEO

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Manufacturing, Sports (Biking), wholesale

Year Founded:

Spend On Good Design

HATTIE: (In the Studio) Most small business owner do some direct marketing because it's cost effective. And, while we can't afford a full page ad in the New York Times, marketing advisor John Wargo says that investing in good design, pays off.

JOHN: Small business people are creative. Let your creative juices flow. Here's an example of a company that did a very unique design.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Planet Design, a graphic design firm in Madison who works with Graber Products, created exciting print pieces for another client, American Players Theater. They committed to direct mail eight years ago and have never veered from their plan. A three-part mail campaign goes to patrons and prospects. With this as its only marketing effort, they sell out. Target marketing works.

According to Planet Design owner Dana Lytle, a print piece is your sales tool and must embody the values of your company. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to connect with the reader to get the response you want. We have found in our research that attractive material like this is also set aside for later reading. So not only do you make an initial impact, when it looks and appears to be valuable, people set it aside for later reading.

JOHN: It sends a very important message. We've found in our research that material like this is set aside for later reading. So not only do you make an initial impact, when it looks valuable, people set it aside for later reading.

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