No.6 / August 19, 2005

The Corporate Muse


Hello.  Welcome to this edition of The Corporate Muse!  While this month's issue may be somewhat elemental for most, in our experience we've learned, it never hurts to review.  As always, we welcome suggestions and/or questions. 



Standing Out In The Marketplace


  1. The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
  2. The second time, he does not notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
  5. The fifth time, he reads it.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
  8. The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he asks his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11.  The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  12.  The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13.  The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
  14.  The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
  15.  The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he can’t afford to buy it.
  16.  The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
  17.  The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum to buy it.
  18.  The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19.  The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20.  The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

                              Written in 1885 By Thomas Smith, London, England 


You can take two positions when reading this illustration.  First, you realize how difficult it is for the mind to wrap around a new concept.  How long it takes to establish a product in the marketplace.  And how resistant people are to advertising.  Secondly, you might wonder if there’s a more efficient approach.  In fact, after reading the above missive, you could begin to think advertising is the least effective way to get your message out.  So what’s the answer?  There’s no one-solution-fits-all, but there are probably better options for your time and money than placing expensive ads.


The best way to promote your business is free.  But you probably already knew that even if you hadn’t really thought about it.  Nothing beats word of mouth.  You get high marks from Joe, he tells Betty, she tells Marie and so on.  The crux is getting Joe to visit the first time.  We can’t all be as lucky as Ray Kinsella.  If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.  You may be as confident in your own “Field Of Dreams,” but without a well-planned marketing strategy, new clients won’t be knocking down your door to come in.  (Nor will they walk out of your cornfield in the middle of the night!)


Gaining the trust of those first few clients and getting them to refer you is no easy task.  First you must make a plan and decide exactly how you will reach your prospects.  Service businesses often need to make cold calls or send out direct mail packages.  Product based companies may have to develop a catalog and build a Website.  Both might consider joining the local Chamber of Commerce or other networking outlet.  Knowing your target audience and what makes your company unique go a long way in deciding how to reach potential clients.  Let’s say you’re a financial planner specializing in helping senior citizens who failed to make good choices during their working life.  You could offer to write a column for a retiree newsletter.  (Check these reference sources at the library for a list of possibilities: Newsletters in Print or Encyclopedia of Associations.)  Giving free advice on forums or in printed mediums is a great way to highlight your expertise.  If prospects see your name often enough and recall how helpful you were, they’re liable to look you up when in need of services or products like yours. 


Of course this only scratches the surface of the myriad marketing techniques.  Maybe you were hoping for a revelation – a big “Ta-Da” moment.  But every business is different and what works for a financial planner probably won’t do so well for an ice cream shop.  However, both should invest in a brochure (or perhaps a portable menu for the ice cream shop) and business cards.  This ensures Joe will remember your name and address when he gushes to Betty how unforgettable the ice cream was.  And no matter what kind of business you’re in, sitting down at a specified time – whether every few months or once a year – and evaluating your plan is essential.  If things aren’t moving in the direction you hoped, you can always change your approach.  Remember – while there’s no magic formula, you must be persistent and patient.  Whatever tack you employ, make sure you give it enough time to work before you scrap it and try something new.  Establishing yourself in the marketplace is tough.  Many don’t make it.  But with a competitive product or service, tenacity, and a well-defined marketing strategy, you will survive … and thrive. 


More on the subject:  And for fun:   (SKC) 



       © QuickSilver Copywriters 2005 – Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:





Thomas Smith’s observation gives us insight into the mind of the buyer.  Reread the passage concentrating on the progression of change in his attitude.  At first, he gives it no notice – he has no interest – basically, he couldn’t care less.  Then he resists, not only because it holds no importance for him, but also it would relieve him of the money he’s trying hard to protect.  Then he outright rejects it – it irritates him to even be bothered by it.  Next he begins to wonder if he’s missing something and starts asking others about it.  Eventually, he gives in.  This reminds us of the significance of repetition.  Every marketing effort takes diligence and duplication.  In this busy world full of so many entities clamoring for our attention, it’s easy to forget anything that doesn’t quite fit on our plate at the moment.  That’s why it’s imperative to keep your name in front of your prospect.  In spite of your magnetic personality, he/she won’t remember you or your product or service unless it: 1) Fills an immediate need; or 2) He/she has heard it numerous times.  It may seem fruitless at times – calling or writing the same people over and over – but the more someone sees your name, or better yet, your face, the more he will remember you when the need for your product/service arises.  His/her comfort level with you can go a long way in deciding to do business with you or not.  So keep the repetitions upbeat and friendly, space them properly so you don’t seem a nuisance, and you’ll see your efforts pay off.   See for more info.   




A number of years ago, a group of friends and I had a running joke that went something like, “Most of all have a point!”  We generally referred to it on those occasions when someone went into some long-winded diatribe.  Every story should have a point or else what’s the purpose of telling it.  Still we tend to have different ideas about what’s significant and what’s not.  Relevance may be in the eye of the beholder, but I think most of us would agree that Thomas Smith’s article, written in 1885, still makes sense today.  Years ago, I read an article in which the author recommended not throwing away anything you have written.  She said you never know where you might be able to use it or even sell it.  Most writers know “recycling” their work is a great way to get a lot of mileage out of it.  Case in point, in a recent newsletter we received was an example I knew I’d seen elsewhere.  As it turned out, I also found it in a book I’d been reading by the same author written in 1994.  Did it work in both cases?  Absolutely.  My point (ah yes, I have one) is something you wrote ten years ago could be just as relevant today as it was then.  I keep everything I write and as a result have piles of papers and stacks of floppies filed all over our office and beyond.  (I’ve been writing since I was 12, so you can imagine…)  Have I ever reused anything?  Many times.  Finding it often becomes a challenge, but it’s usually worth the search.  Saved material can have another benefit; it can be a jump-start on a new project.  So dig out some of your old stuff and sit down and read.  Maybe you’ll have a good laugh or you could just find what you were looking for and be on your way to a great article or story.



Thanks for reading. See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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