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Commentary & Analysis

Those Were the Days

by Jim Olsen August 11,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: August 11, 2003

by Jim Olsen August 11, 2003 -- "Give me sales, lots of sales, under starry skies above. Don't …." Old Archie Franklin, President of Franklin & Son Press, was singing that tune in the shower last Thursday thinking about the hotshot salesman he was going to interview that day. Josh was fifty-nine years old, been in the printing industry since he was a pup. Why he even remembered the days of hot lead and backed-up schedule boards. He would remember the good old days when he would tell customers, "You can have your job in six weeks. Right now the press is all booked up". And they waited. Those were letterpress days of course, and things had speeded up a lot when offset came along when he was able to tell them "Well, we're pretty busy. We'll have it done in four weeks." Archie had seen it all. From hand type to digital type. Even if he didn't understand that digital stuff too good, he was still a success. He was lucky. He had some of his prep department people, who back a few years ago, had suggested he buy some of that new prepress stuff that blinked a lot. Luckily Archie didn't have a union shop, because if he did, he never would have heard that kind of talk from his guys. He wasn't convinced until he went to GraphExpo and he met a salesman from one of those fancy named equipment manufacturers. He seems to remember that it was SighTex or something. The salesman said: "Archie, you just gotta be able to accept files from your customers!" At first, Archie couldn't understand what was important about getting his customer's information in manila files. He already had a fax didn't he? He had a great messenger service didn't he? But slowly he caught on that the guy was talking about those little disks. It puzzled him that they called them disks when anyone could see they were square, but if that's what they called them, that's what they called them. In truth, what really made Archie make the move into the new stuff was that he had heard some confidential information from a paper salesman. Of course, this guy only told Archie inside skinny about his competitors; he would never tell anyone about Archie's business. The news was that George Bunkabee, the owner of Bunkabee Speedy Reproduction (the same guy that put in a Bavarian 40" four-over-four just like his) was buying some of the new things. If George was going to have it, then by God, Archie was too. Having made the decision based on stellar marketing research, Archie plowed ahead with continued success. A success based largely on paying great commissions to great salespeople who came to Archie with great accounts. And a success based on a well-conceived advertising and marketing program. Each year Archie ordered a grand-looking calendar for his customers, and made sure that his sales reps were supplied with the latest in ball point pens, acrylic paper weights with a miniature linotype embedded in them, and, of course, those precious front row tickets to the Gonzaga games. Archie's formula was working. Good marketing practices; a great advertising program; great personnel recruitment; and fantastic strategic planning. And today Archie was going to build on that with this new salesman he was hiring away from old Bunkabee. Ah, those were the days.

 

 

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