B-to-B Insights: Strolling Down Memory Lane
In 1980, I took a position as the advertising manager of Koch Engineering, a firm in New York City that manufactured industrial process equipment.
The company used a small Madison Avenue ad agency, RSMK, and our account was handled by an account executive named Lansing Moore.
True to the stereotype of ad agency people and their three-martini lunches, whenever I requested a meeting with Lansing, he wanted to do it over lunch—his treat, of course, because I wasthe client.
I found this lunch habit a waste of my time and my company's money (I figured the tab was really being paid out of the fees my company remitted to RSMK), and began insisting we meet mid-morning or mid-afternoon, thereby sidestepping the three-martini lunch. (I didn't drink at lunch and Lansing only had one martini.) That made me more comfortable.
To this day, I have an extreme prejudice—perhaps to the point of irrationality—against business breakfasts, lunches and dinners. It is my belief that the most efficient way to conduct a face-to-face meeting is in the office, not a restaurant.
Wisdom from Joe Sacco
Decades ago, I saw in Adweek an ad offering copywriting and creative direction from ad agency veteran Joe Sacco.
Thinking I might offer my service to Joe as an assistant copywriter, I called him. He wasn't interested and he was very discouraging about anyone going into the ad business.
He did tell me an interesting story. Joe was assigned to write an advertisement for insulin needles. Having no idea what diabetics looked for in needles, and seeing his client didn't either, he quite sensibly interviewed a few diabetics.
Almost all of them said the most important attribute was that the needle be sharp. To the uninitiated, this seems off: wouldn't that hurt? But if you've ever used a hypodermic to give an injection, you know that the sharper the needle, the smoother it goes in. From Joe, I learned the importance of talking with people who are your target market.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.