Been following my dear friend, Mark Montgomery's FB....he continues to fascinate and inspire me with this internet paradoxical concept of "giving away content" in order to "sell" content. Mark wrote an OPED piece for Billboard recently. Check it out.
In a similar vein...I recently heard the story of the succesful marketing of Jell-Oh...back in the early 1920's....a visionary "high school dropout" buys the 50 year old patented powdered recipe rights for $250(or so)...instead of immediately trying to sell the product outright...he first creates and inexpensively prints up "Jell-Oh recipe books" ..then goes town to town..door 2 door..gives the books away for FREE....then approaches each town's grocery store owners about buying a small order of the Jell-Oh product..sometimes even giving the stores a free complimentary order....his plan worked...he starts making a profit...later...as it was catching on....uses early radio shows(Burns & Allen, Jack Benny) to promote the product to a wider audience....and the rest is dessert history my boy...
There are other lessons here. The man(a successful 19th century inventor) who invented the powder and patented the rights in the 1850's...couldn't think of how to market it...so he sold it to his plant manager many years later. This plant manager holds on to the patent for a number of years...but couldn't think of how to market it either....so he eventually sells the patent for a few hundred dollars to a young, struggling, entrepenuer....who figured he needed to connect with people first with a free recipe book, before he tried to "sell" them this new product. Lots of lessons here....lots of lessons.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Years ago, my brother-in-law, taught me the term of OPM, as it referred to learning how to finance one's real estate ventures. Other People's money. As I explain further, just hold that thought. Recently I have been re-reading a favorite business book, whose theme is serving your customer's needs before your own. Sounds simple, yet it is easily forgotten as one sets their own priorities and goals for their company. This includes me. Emilia and I recently visited NYC and a client of ours that stretches back nearly 20 years. During our conversation at their headquarters, a theme kept coming up, as our client continued to voice insights and concerns about an internet social media project they recently launched. We listened and offered little suggestions at the time. Following our return, I drafted an email, reflecting on our meeting and following up with suggestions and solutions to their questions..focusing on their needs. As I reflect on this blog, I realize the importance of OPN. Other People's Needs. I also see our role as a helper. This has been the basis of our relationship over these many years, and probably the single most important reason for it. It's all about the relationship and finding ways to help someone else reach their goals. Simply a perspective...taking your needs out of the equation...thinking first about others.