The Wall Street Journal is carrying a story today called Marketers Still Prefer a Paper Trail about how, despite the obvious environmental impact, 62% of retail marketers said their biggest revenue generator is catalogues.
Admitedly, the B2B space that I work in is very different when it comes to promotional activities than the world of retailing but I was still amazed at some of the numbers in the article. For instance, did you know that more than 17 billion catalogues were mailed in the U.S. last year, that’s about 56 for every American?
Now, in contrast to the retailing model described in the article, I’ve always worked in a high-tech, B2B environment. As such, I regularly argue that we should be shunning printed sales collateral in favour of electronic versions. And I’d love to tell you that that was because of deeply held environmental concerns but the truth is
Emanuel with Barack Obama
The Schumpeter column in The Economist last week recounts how, just after Barack Obama was elected president, his incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told a conference of American captains of industry, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
Quite right. It’s in a slump that innovative companies are created or come out fighting. As The Economist notes “Business is more likely to take advantage of this ‘serious crisis’ than the world’s politicians.”
So, you’re the CEO of a highly visible and highly successful company. Your personal reputation is almost irrevocably linked to your corporate brand. You’ve been at the top of your game for years with a loyal following of customers.
But here’s the rub: you’ve also been having sex with members of your staff for years. Worse, someone has found out and is now blackmailing you for 2 million dollars. They’re threatening not just to go public with the information but to write a screenplay about it, which they will tout around your industry and amongst your peers.
By any measure, this is something of a communications challenge. The facts are personally embarrassing but – worse- could damage the crucial rapport you have have with your customers. Perhaps you should issue a denial? Pay the man? Mitigate the story by getting your wife and friends to issue statements of support?
What do you do?
The evening papers in London tonight are reporting the story of David Rowe, an unemployed history graduate who spent five days walking the streets of the capital last month wearing a sandwich board. His pitch? He’d work for free for a month. After that, you could either hire or fire him.
Well, his innovative advertising idea produced exactly the result he was looking for. In addition to widespread media coverage and about 250 enquiries, Rowe attracted the attention of JCDecaux’s managing director Spencer Berwin who literally bumped into him on Fleet Street.