Bill's Bountiful Blog

May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.

But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist


Be Nice to People on Your Way Up

By Wm. May
Published: 01/09/20 Topics: Advertising, Business, Communications, Reputation Comments: 0

Be Nice to People on Your Way Up

Early on, the first bigger business I ran was an advertising agency. Somehow, one of the world' largest tug and barge transportation companies hired our fledging little firm. They liked our non-stop energy and creative ideas. They wanted to hear a different vision and, boy, did they get it.

This was the time when massive oil corporations were developing the now fabled or infamous (take your pick) Alaska Pipeline, spending billions of dollars. Each spring, a flotilla of barges sailed from our city of Seattle up to the "North Slope" of Alaska, but only after the massive sea ice dissipated. Hundreds of barges, tugs and boats were involved.

Some barges were so large they required two 9,000 horse power tugs, lashed into giant slots in the barge itself, to push them from behind,. These goliaths went first in the fleet pushing the barge up and onto the ice flows (often 12 feet or more thick) and smashing them open, so other vessels could get through. Watching it was stupefying, even terrifying.

Our client secured contracts on huge swatches of the business, generating hundreds of millions of dollars. But to meet the demand, they had to stop serving their smaller clients who had been supporting the company for a century.

The North Slope project took some years, but eventually the pipeline was completed and the flotillas ceased. Some shipping to the slope was still continued, but my client's Alaska business shrank hugely.

When that happened, the tug and barge company returned to their prior small clients to again offer their services. But low and behold, those clients, who had to hustle and suffer from lack of tug services, were more than miffed.

They thumbed their noses at my client. We even attended the world's largest trade show for shipping and watched our clients be cussed out, up one side and down the other.

The company president called me one day and said, "What should I do? These people are really pissed."

So, at the grand old age of 26, my advice to him was what my truck shop managing father had told me, "Be nice to people on your way up; you'll meet the same people on your way down." But, it was too late.

In the end, in an effort to right the ship, we created advertisements, printed materials and sales training for all of their business development crews. They spent millions trying to apologize.

Business improved gradually for my client, but it took them a decade to recover. Sometimes there are business decisions which favor one client over another. It is not always possible to give everyone what they want. But remember this - People have long memories.

Unfortunately for my client, they became too selfish and self centered to realize how dropping customers to go after bigger fish would make the minnows feel. He forgot that some small fry grow into big fish and, when they do, they won't want to deal with sharks.

My client didn't have the benefit of a wise father or mentor, but instead put growth and profit ahead of people.

Maya Angelou said it best, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel."

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Author: Wm. May
Blog #: 0751 – 01/09/20

Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.

By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: 0

For many years the Philadelphia Cheese Steak shop occupied a triangle corner on busy Madison Avenue on Seattle's Capitol Hill. It seemed to do well but changed hands a few times and gradually did the restaurant slow decline dance.

Meantime, just up the street the Bottle Neck bar opened and soon became a favorite hang out. When Philly closed, the proprietors - Erin Nestor and Rebecca Denk - grabbed the additional space and opened a nice neighbor burger joint. They called it "Two Doors Down" because, of course that is where it was.

Sometimes naming businesses and products is easy but often it is a long laborious chore. Who knows how the new restaurant got its name, but it is brilliant, memorable and fun. That fits the new decor and the food.

Halloween heavy traffic raced past Two-Doors, just as traffic always does, but ahead on the trek home cars were slowing and some pulling over to grab a burger.

All because someone, maybe the genius who named the restaurant, created a cheap but compelling reason to drop into the restaurant.

Pumpkins are cheap. A few orange LED Christmas type lights didn't break the bank. surely the staff had fun making them. Or maybe the customers made them. (What fun.)

Putting the pumpkins in the window would have worked, but simply putting them on the street made them impossible to miss. On this rainy dreary night. It was warm. It was compelling.

They must have sold far more burgers that night because who could resist?

Accepting expensive solutions from advertising experts can produce great results, but advertising is always trial and error no matter how well researched.

On the other hand, creative thinking always wins over new customers, makes existing customers smile and makes the cash register ring.

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Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0458 – 10/31/15

Sponsor: MayPartners – Pumping Advertising for decades but a new kinda marketing machine. Old fashioned marketing smarts with new technological know how. Our platform of constant promotion pumps up your sales. But you gotta call us now to start. – MayPartners.com

Nothing Beats Chateau Chocolate Cake

By William May
Published: 10/01/10 Topics: Advertising, Marketing, Packwood WA, Radio, Selling Comments: 0

Years ago when I operated an advertising agency we sure thought we worked long and hard. Not to reveal my age, but I remember when we had to "spec" type, courier the details to a type setter and then wait days while it was set and returned to us. We then had to paste the galleys onto art board along with photos or other art to arrange the desired final ad.
 
Fun Drudgery
 
Marketing campaigns took months to prepare. To convince a client to accept a print advertisements required us to draw the ad roughly replicating what it might look like. Once approved we then had to produce it, or record the radio commercials or shoot the television spots and in film no less.
 
Media plans, the choosing and budget of conventional media, also took lots of time. Decision making was actually fairly smooth but just typing orders, processing payables and comparing results was a paper and pencil exercise.
 
So I have been one to whole heartedly embrace the personal computer and how it has made marketing, advertising and selling smoother and more controlled. We can produce a lot more with better product and hopefully better outcome.
 
Digital Drudgery
 
Unfortunately, the digital age has also made it marketing incredibly complex as we go through a constant dance of Internet and conventional advertising in hopes of maximizing revenue. It is easy to get lost pursuing the latest, greatest marketing scheme.
 
For lodging we invest in directory ads, video spots and certain pay-per-click. Just like in older media, we try to get in front of the consumers eyes and promote a message that might, just might, get a slight bit of attention.
 
So it was last summer that I had the great fun of remembering that marketing is, if nothing else, based on common sense.
 
Our firm took over a previously shuttered resort located in the shadow of Mount Rainier National Park in an exquisitely beautiful and pristine place. Situated on a minor East West highway over the Cascade Mountains, Chateau Timberline (www.ChateauTimberilne.com) was a well maintained property with half-timber construction and an immense appeal.
 
Goldener Inns
 
Unfortunately, there was no build up of time to pre-plan and organize media. Our company has created a highly unique software and management system that allows us to deploy full automated websites including photography, online booking system and universal content including local activities, merchants and restaurants. The guest can search by map, available dates and more than enough information to pick the appropriate lodging.
 
But even with automated deployment and heavy advertising, websites take time to mature. Search Engine's don't index the site immediately. If you want to use the Global Distribution System (GDS) that can take months. Consumers will eventually find a good property and will begin to migrate to it when it offers a better experience than competitors.
 
But we had none of the time we needed. So we relied on the good old proven methods of marketing. We went local.
 
We opened within 3 days, and then spent another 3 days visiting all merchants and even the competitors to introduce ourselves and to ask their help. But we didn't just come cap in hand. We came with flyers and cupcakes.
 
The results were stunning. It would be wrong to presume that none of the people in town had ever had a cupcake. They smiled, they ate and they remembered us as the new guys with good manners (Or at least I hope.)
 
Tasty Marketing
 
Mount Rainier is a popular area. Within hours, guests were being referred to the Chateau. Within 10 days we were sold out. Although we basked in quick success we had many people to thank. So early one morning I visited the biggest competitor in town who had referred many overflow guests to us and, at the last minute, I decided to take a fresh Chocolate Cake.
 
I figured they couldn't or wouldn't take a referral fee. But they were more than happy to eat cake.
 
And now we have become friends. We refer to them as well. We know the people behind the businesses and they know us, although we'll have to keep contributing to local groups to earn our keep.
 
Fancy complicated marketing makes it possible for small companies to compete. It allows for advertisers to pick and choose with care and to make the most of their budget. But let's not forget. No matter how great it is, nothing really beats a great chocolate cake.

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Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0161 – 10/01/10

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