Oct 21, 2003 Volume 3 Issue 19
The Creative Story of Wikki Stix
Twistable, Stickable, Buildable, Playable, One-of-a-Kind Creatables!
The English may not be dictionary proper - yet, the description is perfect. For when you mix a piece of yarn with a touch of wax you get just that. A true “creatable” product named Wikki Stix.
You know about 3M and Post-It Notes. Transfer that thought to a 6" to 8" piece of ‘string’, offer it in 27 colors, package them from as few as 6 or 8 to as many as 48, and you’ve got Wikki Stix. A product you can use over and over, move from one surface to another and back, again and again and again.
Okay, you’ve got it. Now, what in the world do you do with this stuff? Well, you play with it. And you teach with it.
Let’s go back to nearly the beginning. A kind gentlemen created the product - and had no idea how to market it. Or even who to market it to. Kem Clark is in the real estate business, doing considerable volunteer work in her community. She meets the son of the creator - they get to talking - soon there is a meeting, and things happen.
The meeting is at a fancy Scottsdale, Arizona winter resort. Kem and her host are “playing” with the product. The waitress, those at the table next to them, at the bar, all become fascinated with what they see and ask for a sample. Pretty soon Kem is leading a creative session - and listening to the responses from the adult audience. Everyone likes Wikki Stix, and sees it as a play toy for their under 8 year old children.
Next stop are the several schools in her neighborhood. She asks the teachers to give it to the kids, and note what happens. When Kem comes back 2 weeks later to learn the results she finds Wikki Stix being used as decorations ... by the teachers! Oh, and the kids loved it, too.
Kem flies to Chicago, where the creator and patent holder resides. The conversation is short ... the 78 year old man is willing to sell. Of course in 1989 there was no venture capital for a lady wanting to buy a process that put wax on colored string. The bank was not interested either ... so this most creative lady, Kemberly Clark ... offers a financial deal from her real estate business; X down, Y $ / month for W years. Deal done ... and she paid off early.
The hand made Rube Goldberg design machines that are the manufacturing process are a secret ... and a sight to behold. I truly have no idea what I saw - could not describe a thing. Yet I can tell you much of the equipment came from discarded “stuff” tossed out by the restaurant industry. Let your imagination run - it won’t get close to how Kem makes Wikki Stix happen.
And it doesn’t matter, as the real story is in the marketing. From a product which no one knew about, to one which is now a big time business (Wikki Stix is the largest tenant in a huge industrial park complex in Phoenix, Arizona) is a story of persistence. And creativeness.
The older gent inventor was quiet. Kem is not. He told her trade shows did not work ... always lost money. She know presents at 27 trade shows around North America - with new ones added yearly. At the busiest times they’re doing 4 shows a week. Because she found out early on the only way for anyone to “get it” was to see it, handle it, play with it. Wikki Stix is a touchy feel kind of thing. You get it only when you truly get it. Trade shows off an opportunity to get it. She gives away literally thousands of sample packages every year.
Direct mail has also been a grand way to get the product into the hands of teachers, pre-schools, recreation directors, handicapped re-hab facilities, restaurants and scores of other places. Not used as much today as in the past - still, some. The educational pub Learning Magazine is another place you learn about Wikki Stix.
Kem designs a large array of fliers that offer 140 and counting ideas and ways to use Wikki Stix. Holiday themes are big ... Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter. Kem IS R&D at Wikki Stix ... her department is two large baskets, one on top of the other, in her office. Each is filled with ideas. Many from teachers, several from employees, most from Kem. This is one ‘creatable’ lady.
Awards are many. A couple of different times she’s earned a spot on the 100 best new product awards list. The 2003 Outstanding Toy Manufacturers Recognition of Excellence Award. And also more recently Wikki Stix has been selected as a ‘Parent’s Choice Award’ product - something she treasurers. As this makes introducing and selling just that much easier. To make certain the marketplace knows, stickers proclaiming the latest are placed on every product package.
International is tough ... even North America. Where NAFTA was supposed to make Canada and Mexico trade easier - it has not. Wikki Stix the product is the product ... no change no matter where in the world it is. Yet, the paper that goes with it is now available in a number of languages; English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Swedish. Distribution is in much of the English language world ... including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom.
The market is divided into thirds; first, education, next, hotel, airline & restaurants, and third, general consumer retail. Education is expanding ... up through middle schools. Once a teacher is ‘sold’, frequently they come up with many other ways to use Wikki Stix to teach. Science, math, reading and language, library ... they all like the product.
The table cloth restaurant industry is a big buyer. Crayons are not a good idea for their little folk customers ... Wikki Stix is. Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton are the upper end of her market. British and Air Canada airlines have used the product.
The retail market is tough, yet growing. There are tens of thousands of locations that sell children’s and educational products that include Wikki Stix as part of their offerings. Kem likes this - as referrals happen. Orders come in from a remote location she would never get to on her own. The product travel wells.
A growing market is online. www.wikkistix.com generates an average of 15 orders every business day. The site is very much like the product; bright, colorful, fun. Easy to get around. Take a look - if you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, you’ll enjoy.
The product works for many reasons. One is there is no right way or wrong way to use it. It is a comfortable thing to “play” with. It makes learning more interesting, as well as entertaining. I’ve used Wikki Stix in creative seminars ... to get the juices flowing. Or to have some pure fun.
Kem Clark is a smart business woman. Creative. And like her product - bright, colorful and fun.
Mixed Mettyfours and udder sillygisms
The 625,000+ words in the English language offer many options. Including spelling ... see Wikki Stix in the lead story. That story is serious ... this collection is not so. EnJoy!
He exhumes confidence.
I'm sure he was drunk, he was driving erotically.
It goes in one ear and down his back like a duck's water!
That's putting the chicken before the cart
He's as slow as malaria.
If I had millions of dollars, I would go to
They're throwing us a blind herring.
You have to shoot where the fish are barking.
He's not the brightest cookie in the lamp.
I've been thinking about giving that some thought.
I slept like a banshee.
If you are left holding the bag, we will fill it.
Deep down, she's shallow.
He's going to hell and a handkerchief.
I'd like to be a fish on the wall at that meeting.
Is everyone else in the world a moron, or is it just me?
They want the site to be designed in such a way
We're going to be doing some manual automation.
You've buttered your bread, now lay in it.
A Big Bonus Offer
Full time I'm consulting. Writing. And speaking!
So, now is a good time to tell you about my special BONUS:
For details and to place your product order, OR to book Ray to speak and thus get your BONUS!, visit Marketing Products. Or fax 1+810+815-2520. For questions on quantity orders phone Ray at 1+928+785-9400.
In the between time you may find a visit to my speaking web pages worthy of a few minutes of your time. Surf to Power Direct Marketing.com and take a look around. A visit to ItISwhatsNext.com might also be interesting to you. And ... then let me hear from you. Let's work a deal!
"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.
Computers get “credit” for all sorts of stuff. Bad, more than good.
Anonymous has this to say about the subject.
“To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.”
"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.
... 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
... more Speaking of Speaking
In mid-November I'll be back in Central Europe, teaching DM to those formerly behind the Iron Curtain.
Stops include Zagreb, Croatia, Belgrade, Serbia and Podgorica, Montenegro. You may not recognize these names ... they were different from when you went to school. This, my 5th or 6th trip into this part of the world, has proven each time to be exciting and interesting.
When I get back I'll share a column or two of what I learned!
Magic Marketing Minutes
9ine Ways to Make Your Envelopes Work Better
Some creative teams spend as much as 50% of their time on the envelope. Why? Because, if you don't get the audience past the envelope it doesn't matter what's inside!
Here are 9 ways to make your envelopes work better.
1. Lead with your very best offer. Make it as strong as you can ... make me an offer I can't refuse.
2. Show and tell with graphics. Graphics do get attention. People like pictures, drawings, graphs and things. Use them on your envelope.
3. Try shock and surprise - something different. I don't mean something out of character with you and your organization. But I do mean "different". Unique. Something your marketplace doesn't expect from you. Get their attention by being different.
4. Use people. People make buying decisions. Use pictures and drawings of people.
5. Talk benefits. Benefits to your audience. Things they will gain by doing business with you.
6. Begin with facts and figures and details on the envelope. Using specifics will help you gain attention. And attention is what you want when your envelope is mixed in that stack of things delivered by the mailman.
7. Use photography. Photography is more believable than illustrations. People believe photography.
8. Use windows on your envelope. Windows with things showing through. Anything to get attention and get your audience inside your envelope.
9. Use the back of the envelope. Why? Because 3 of 4 people who touch your envelope will turn it over. Put something on the back.
9ine ways to make your envelope work better for you.
... 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.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.