Shea / 15 February / 1 Comment / 433


My approach would have been different. The first thing I would have done is to make a deal with Mark, the owner of the local Ace Hardware Store. He has a list of 1,600 customers that he has spent nine years and tens of thousands of dollars to cultivate. Almost every customer on the list knows Mark by name, and 80% have been in the store within the last 60 days.

I found out from Jack that his average sale is $580 with a gross margin of 35%, or $203. If he used the customer list for an endorsed mailing, he could easily afford to pay Mark $50 for each resulting sale. Jack would pay for all printing and postage costs, and Mark would furnish the names and allow Jack to send out the letters on Ace letterhead stuffed in Ace envelopes.

Articulation and Execution are EverythingNext, I would draft two letters with the same basic content but with different headlines – both would be written from the perspective of Mark the hardware store owner and bear his signature at the bottom. The customers would receive the letters within two days of mailing because I would send them via first-class mail.

The letters would detail in specific terms how great the closet organizer was and how Mark and his wife got along much better now that they had this miracle space-saving device installed in their home. Each feature, advantage, and benefit of the product would be painstakingly described. Mark would tell how the value of his home had increased and how the wood was guaranteed for 15 years, not the industry-standard 1 year. Articulation and Execution are Everything!

He would go on to explain that he had negotiated a “special offer” with Jack exclusively for Ace customers. Finally, he would urge his customers to come to the store and see the display that The Great Western Closet Company had graciously built there.

Then I would test-mail 200 of each letter to randomly chosen prospects from the list. I would analyze the results and mail the other 1,200 names whichever letter pulled the best response in the test. I would mail the exact same letter to the exact same list over and over until it quit turning a profit. Then I would make the same arrangement with every other hardware store in the state. It would be like winning the lottery.  Do you now see how Articulation and Execution Are Everything?

Tomorrow I’ll continue with Cost Effective, Not Expensive

What else?  What are some more thoughts on articulation and execution (Identity)?

Shea Ellison | Updated: 05/22/2015 | Categories: Strategic Planning