Thursday, August 14, 2008

We're Booking!

It’s really coincidence. Yesterday’s AMA-Houston luncheon (speaker: Karen Hooper, Director, Marketing Communications and Strategy, KBR) was so well attended, it felt like the Houston Rodeo. But I still had time for a short chat with Colin Hageney. His company, Bullpen Marketing, uses advertising specialties to create high-impact marcomm programs for clients.

He asked me if I’d read his latest blog post; I hadn’t. So I went there this morning and discovered he’d put a fresh face on a classic idea: Using books to help send your marketing messages. He calls it, “Something New Is Old Again.”

I can affirm that this kind of program is very effective and said so in a comment to his blog. Then I went to our library shelves and collected the books I used for Sperry Univac Defense Systems (old, old company name) as part of a book-based direct mail series.

Aimed right at the System Project Officers (SPOs) who were managing US defense and weaponry programs in those days, we chose books because we could send them to the officers but position them as donations to their units’ libraries. As I commented in Colin’s blog, we sent a series of books. One was a terrific coffee table tome about antique scientific instruments. There was a detailed historical examination of fast torpedo boats published by the US Naval Institute. And one I am surprised to find still in print: A biography of Elmer Sperry by Thomas Parke Hughes from Johns Hopkins University Press. (My original copy has a green rather than this blue cover.)

Sperry was one of the great turn-of-the-century US inventors, that tranche of original American tinkers that included Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford and Hiram Maxim…you probably don’t recall more than a couple of these names. I grew up with their stories.

A quarter of a century back, we could send books about these geniuses to people who still remembered who they were and what they contributed to America’s growth.

I’m guessing here – but Colin’s examples are, perhaps, a bit more timeless. Thanks for the reminder, Hageney. Ta for Thursday.

1 comment:

Richard Laurence Baron said...

PS: My boss in those days was Dick Holm. He and I collected a binder-full of thank-you letters from Sperry Defense Systems customers and prospects that stretched from the outposts of the US military (e.g., Hill AFB) through the halls of Congress to the Pentagon. Heady stuff back in the day...RLB.