Aug 5, 2003 Volume 3 Issue 8
Fairytale is now 21st Century
Two area codes ago I wrote my first story about Fairytale Brownies.
And since Eileen and David and their team have been so grand about getting great press, you've undoubtedly heard their story.
So, this time, with permission from Eileen Joy Spitalny, co-founder and head of marketing and sales, a different approach. An update on this success story, as they look into their second decade.
Marketing and sales is a people thing. I've said this scores of times - you most likely agree. Sure, the product or service must be there. Still, people do business with people ... not companies.
Well, Eileen tells me they are now hiring smarter people. After 10 years of start-up (I've never heard anyone say this ... 10 years of start-up!) getting the right people in the right place at the right time is a high priority. In the old days they'd bring someone in with zip experience, and train them. What was funny, she says, is we didn't know what we were doing much better than the new hire. Today that has changed. Today people who do know what they're doing are in place. And all new hires bring something to the party. It's wonderful to be able to do this ... when you're profitable.
Here is the first of several quick and easy to read charts. This one has some old and new stats;
As I'm meeting with Eileen the fiscal year is winding down. Marketing plans for the next 12 months are contained in a 73 page document. It is called Direct Mail Plans, yet it is much more. It is all of marketing and sales - with the goal being a 35% growth in the 11th full year in business. Not many real companies are going to make that happen.
One of the key elements is a clear division of the business and consumer customer. In the past, until fall a year ago, everything was lumped together. For the first time last holiday season, the business market got their own catalog. Sure, it was little more than a wrap change. The first time. This year it will be a wholesale change - with products and packages directly aimed at business.
Why the big move? Well, it's easy. Results from 2002 showed 20% of all catalogs were sent to business ... which generated 45% of annual sales. It doesn't take a math major to figure this one out.
To support the business push the first outside sales rep, working initially only in the Valley of the Sun, is making her rounds. Ms. Outside is ringing door bells to present Fairytale, to old and new leads, talking business gifts for employees and clients. It only makes sense.
And there have been other changes, too. For example, within the Call Center. Day by day history has shown when the phones ring. i.e., biz begins to pickup big time in September and crescendoes the 30 days of November 15 to December 15. In 2002 one of those days ... a single day ... netted 12% of all business for the entire year. So, it is fairly easy to predict when staff is needed. This year it will come happen in 3 waves from September through December 24.
Ditto the baking staff - The Kitchen. As I'm chatting with Eileen in the early summer they are already hiring the crew. Who will begin baking in late July. Even without preservatives, it is possible to bake a fresh brownie, freeze it and have it still be fresh weeks later. The wonders of The Kitchen.
Shipping, too. With new equipment that electronically seals the packages, things go quicker. With gravity racks for storage, things go quicker. Summer time shipping is still a challenge, with the heat of Arizona. Gel paks in pop-up cargo liners is the "new" thing ... and it is working.
Marketing is always making changes. One is, by the time you read this, the address for the marketing & sales team will be different than the bakery, storage, shipping and the retail store. They'll have moved a few blocks away - because the space inside 6280 Eire in Chandler, Arizona is at a premium.
Another "change" is an even dozen varieties of brownies, vs. as many as 16 a few years ago. The mix is more compact. Even thou the offerings are more extensive ... with a greater set of combinations of Fairytale Brownies product. This, of course, is an evolving process - something new is tried, and makes it or does not. One new product that is making it is the half-zine.
I recall a discussion with Eileen, David and their corporate board about food value, calories and that other boring health care stuff. And how to make a good tasting brownie with half the calories, half the fat. Well, they've done it. The answer is a half-size! Eileen tells me they're looking for a name for this new product ... and will probably run a "name the brownie" contest in January. A good time for a special promotion to boost sales, as it is normally the slowest month of the 12.
Speaking of the timing of orders, here are some rough numbers;
There are three surprises in this list for me. The first is the combined holiday season accounts for ?rds of all sales. WOW! Next is Valentine's Day is not bigger than it is. And neither is Mother's Day. I don't know what this says ... except, my close friends in the floral industry have similar figures.
One thing that is new and is increasing order size is the customer choice option. They can now pick and mix the flavors they want, in any combination. Meaning, for me, Chocolate Chip, Raspberry Swirl and Toffee ... my order, no matter the package, can be those 3 flavors. You have another collection of favorites - you get what you want. Exactly. Isn 't that nice ... and a wonderful customer offering. Which, of course, costs more! Meaning more bottom line for Fairytale.
Testing is the middle initial for direct marketing. Fairytale tests. One question being tested is including a current catalog with each order. Why is this just not happening? Well, because, many orders are gifts. In fact, most orders are gifts. So, there is a question of ethics on behalf of the customer. So far it looks like it is not a problem with the buyer nor the receiver.
More numbers. Numbers of catalogs issued each year. For the first time in the new fiscal year there will be 3 printings, instead of 2. In the past it was Holidays and everything else. Now it will be Holidays, Valentines and everything else. With 10 mailings scattered to meet the season. The total number is also going up ... from over a million last year to something in the 1.5mil plus level. These guys are good!
Okay, with a good product and a sound marketing plan, how are the orders received?
It would not be hard to write another 1000 words about Fairytale Brownies. About their first ever surprise FDA inspection (they passed with flying colors). About the soon to be awarded Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point designation, and what it means to be so certified. About the Fairytale tins to be offered this holiday season. And about how they still trade for services needed ... just as in the days when they didn't have any money.
All this for another time. In the between time visit www.brownies.com
Or call 1-800-Fairytale (1-800-324-7982) and place your order. I'm going to!
More Speaking of Speaking
Thursday evening, September 26 Ray kicks off an annual event for the Los Angeles Direct Marketing Association.
His opening night topic for this 9-week school is 40-30-20-10 ... Blast Off with Direct Marketing into the 21st Century.
In November Ray will be back in Central Europe, teaching DM to those formerly behind the Iron Curtain. Watch this space for details.
Last week I shared with you all the "important" knowledge from the known world.
This week, as a follow-up, is almost comical.
For about a decade I've saved outrageous advertising statements, claims, directions. A few are pure translation problems. Most are from lack of thinking. Maybe moving too quickly in this fast paced world.
And some are so because much of the world's best advertising is heavy with legalise ... all because our friends in government live for more paper work. An example is the two pages of disclaimers that go with a single page of advertising for a new drug product. The legal and insurance industries, combined with our elected representatives, have created much nonsense.
The first example of thinking and wording not coming together for the customers benefit is this, from a label on an in-store package of compact disk (CD) cases;
The British are leading the way in bringing to our attention such statements with their Ridiculous Packaging Instructions Awards. The event is sponsored by The Word Centre, a company which advises businesses on the proper use of proper, yet plain, British English. One of the favorites from the first annual list was this, on a hair dryer package; "Do not use while sleeping." Ah, gee, some people take all the fun out of all the good stuff.
Here are several more, from my personal collection. I begin with several creative signs, and a few advertising "mistakes";
Isn't communication wonderful?
... another Idea
New business friend Gerry Sacks of Houston, Texas sent me here. It turns out this leading information resource from the financial world offers a collection of marketing & sales ideas. Still, no matter your business, you will find good material here. Offered by 80+ experts (including me!) ... visit ProducersWEB.com
"It IS What's Next!"
It's become known as "the story".
I've shared it with a number of health care organizations, a database marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a publishing organization, a DM association - and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit It IS What's Next!)
When you have a need for a 40-60 minute program, I'll give you this different, interesting, meaningful, warm and true action presentation. If you want a half-day interactive seminar, that can happen, too. For your club. Your company. Your organization. Your association. Your school or University. Any group you have. At any place. At any time. For any reason.
It IS What’s Next! is available to you as a Keynote Address. As a special program. As an opening or closing presentation. As a different / unique session.
Business is competitive ... and becoming more so. Meaning, your antennas must be high on alert. Always.
Here is a view from Anonymous;
"Keep your friends close ... but your enemies closer."
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
... and one more Idea
An eon ago Burt Dubin came into my life. And has stayed. We continue to swap ideas.
One area of common ground is we're both speakers. And, Burt is a "teacher" ... working with professionals helping them grow to masters - as well as new comers just breaking in to the speaker business.
To learn more about what Burt might offer you, visit his exclusive resource and most interesting web site. Plus, you may wish to opt-in for his FREE E-zine. It's easy - surf to www.SpeakingBizSuccess.com and take a tour. Or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magic Marketing Minutes
When is Direct Mail Best?
Jim Knobs introduced this idea to me. There are at least 8 situations when
Direct Mail is most likely to work.
1. When you can clearly identify your target audience. If you can't clearly identify your audience, Direct Mail is not for you.
2. Now that you've clearly identified the audience, where can you reach them? Identifying them on paper is one thing. Reaching them with your message is an entirely different and separate effort. You must be able to do both if your Direct Mail is to be successful.
3. When you have a lot to say. When your service requires a long explanation. Or it's difficult. Or unique. Or different. Or something is special about it. And you need time and space to say it.
4. When your product has continuity, repeat sales, follow-on sales. When you have the kind of product which can be easily ordered and re-ordered time and time again. Then Direct Mail is for you.
5. When you need to control the entire selling message or process. When you don't want your independent sales reps doing the job fair...or you at least want to control the message. So, you use Direct Mail to get the leads, to qualify the leads and then let the sales force do their part.
6. When you want to build a model that can be repeated. In this instance you want to set the standards, and then let your sales reps do the work. So use Direct Mail to shake out the marketplace, to set the standards and then make it available to your entire sales operation.
7. When your product or service doesn't really fit other distribution channels, so you sell direct. Which is what the mail-order business is all about. Many items are being sold by mail-order because it's the only economical way to distribute the product.
8. When you want less visibility in the marketplace. When you don't want the whole world to know what you're doing, Direct Mail is perfect for segmenting your market, and testing.
8 things to know when you think about developing a Direct Mail campaign.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.