Chauncey The Gardner & You
Planting The Seeds to Grow Your Business 5/28/2019 | Joel Schaffer, MAS, The Take Away
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There is a cultish movie with the late, great Peter Sellers called “Being There”.

Sellers plays an imbecile who is sheltered in the home of a rich man as their gardener for all his life. Upon the death of his “master”, he is left to wander into society with the skills of a 5-year-old. I won’t go into the rest of the story, however, he gets by with referencing everything to gardening. Those he meets think his analogies and metaphors are brilliant and, therefore, make him brilliant.

Hence, I take his identity, Chauncey Gardener, to make my analogy. “From seeds grow plants that bloom with deep and solid roots”, Chauncey might say. The seeds need attention but the reward is in the beauty and the strength. 

Planting a seed and growing roots in your business relationships are not just done with your mouth, your creativity, and your excellent customer service. The old “pick one adage” is from a bygone era. It is no longer pick one – quality, service or price, it is… I get all three or we don’t do business.

Once again, I suggest that no less than one day each month, you answer no phones, make no calls, cash no checks, pay no bills and take on your role of Vice President of Marketing. Within the role is your function as communications director. It is there and then you can open your desktop publishing program such as InDesign or Microsoft Publisher and create. Be it a quarterly publication, a monthly publication or something more frequent, that is an intelligent part of your company branding, image, customer loyalty program, and customer development program.

Define Your Publication 
The content of your newsletter/blog can be released in a lot of different forms. First up is deciding the name and the general approach to content. You can go from a “white paper” look (not recommended) to a full-blown magazine look. Mind your image and match it to your message.

Get Graphic Design
You'll want a graphic header for your publication and subheaders for different sections. These are your stored assets so you have them when and where you need them. They should be colorful, and crisp looking graphics that tell the reader the content to expect -- Sales Motivation, Customer Loyalty, etc

Subscribe To a Bulk Email Service
Depending on your contact list size, you can even do it for free on services such as MailChimp. They will hold 2,000 names for you. PromoCorner also offers services that can help you with this, whether you're a distributor or a supplier.

K.I.S.S. 
The K.I.S.S principle is good advice for all content. Short, sweet and to the point. If people don’t have the time or the inclination to read a lot, then give it to them in the style of USA today, factoids and illustrations. Even the word BLOG connotes long-winded diatribes.

Create A Content File Every Day
Content comes to you in your email daily. This is from internal and external industry sources. Make a rule to label certain emails you may get from ASI, PPAI and other content-rich editorial sources of “research”. Make a label and a file in your email for Industry Research. Store the emails in this file and you will have instant access when you need the content.

Knowledge & Fear
You are not setting out to panic clients and prospects but to let them know there is danger in working with the wrong source of supply. This sets the table for you. Be subtle

Content
You will know the best content to put forward as you scan through a wealth of content provided by your suppliers, magazines, associations, etc. Content such as:

  • How to prevent late deliveries when buying online.

  • Protecting Your Company When It Is Made Offshore.

  • What You Need To Know About Child Product Safety.

Protect Your Design
Self-publishing is easy. It does take time. There are interns and others who can tackle the job with you. The content, however, is yours. Consider talking to other distributors about sharing the ultimate publication and dividing the workload.

Joel D. Schaffer, MAS is CEO and Founder of Soundline, LLC, the pioneering supplier to the promotional products industry of audio products. Joel has 48 years of promotional product industry experience and proudly heralds “I was a distributor.” He has been on the advisory panel of the business and marketing department of St. John’s University in New York and is a frequent speaker at Rutgers Graduate School of Business. He is an industry Advocate and has appeared before the American Bankers Association, American Marketing Association, National Premium Sales Executives, American Booksellers Association and several other major groups. He has been a management consultant to organizations such as The College Board and helped many suppliers enter this industry. He is a frequent contributor to PPB and Counselor magazines. He has facilitated over 200 classes sharing his industry knowledge nationwide. He is known for his cutting humor and enthusiasm in presenting provocative and motivating programs. He is the only person to have received both the Marvin Spike Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award (2011). He is a past director of PPAI and has chaired several PPAI committees and task forces. He is a past Chair of the SAAGNY Foundation, Past President of SAAGNY and a SAAGNY Hall of Fame member. He was cited by ASI as one of the 50 most influential people in the industry.

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