BEST ADVERTISING. MEDIUMS.
(Author’s note. The following twelve talks by Mr. MacDonald ran as a series in Printer’s Ink, and are here republished through the courtesy of “The Little Schaal Master.”)
The standard mediums with the largest circulations are the cheapest, although their prices may seem steep. Prove its logic with the rules of simple proportion. Apply it to every advertising proposition that comes along and see how much better off you will be at the end of the year.
Is it a magazine proposition? Then take the standard of mail order mediums to reach householdsthe Ladies’ Home Journal. If in it a hundred dollar space can reach so many people how many will be reached by the same cost with another publication? If you know the other’s circulation so much quicker can you get at the answer; if you do not, so much worse for the paper under test. For every publication should give its circulation.
The same way with ” lists” of newspapers or separate newspapers that appeal to mail order trade. Competition and the insistence of advertisers will in time reduce advertising rates to an equable basis. In the meantime, the only rule is to take the standards in magazines and newspapers and judge by them the worth of all others. I have taken inch ads as well as pages in publications. On one mail order ad alone that passed through my hands about seven thousand dollars was spent. At least one. hundred thousand dollars has been directed by the writer for mail order advertising, so it can be seen that I have given much consideration to the subject. I have found that the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Youth’s Companion were the best paying mediums, McClure’s, Munsey’s, Success and the Ledger Monthly, were also among those that brought good results.
The selection of mediums is simply the exercise of that judgment one would bring to bear upon the buying of any bill of goods. For a retail house or any business carrying a line of goods appealing to a mail order trade, nothing can equal the catalogue. Properly gotten up and put in right hands it is a silent salesman that day and night works with main and might. It covers the ground as can no advertisement. But it should only speak of goods carried in stock for six months after issuance. Then follows the booklet, circular and leaflet. This form of mail order advertising is more fully treated of in another chapter. While I am a great admirer of the bold, big advertising spaces, I have noticed plenty of instances where small-sized advertisements on leaders have brought wonderful results. In proportion to their space they frequently proved more profitable than the larger announcements. A two inch advertisement on 125 cent handkerchiefs during the holiday season is a case well remembered. The daily advertisements of retail houses should occasionally say a few words about the mail order department.
A mail order advertisement can as a rule be prepared weeks in advance. This is where it differs from the usual advertisement. And the earlier it is sent to the publication the better the chanceall other things being equalis there for a good position.
Talk Number II.
BOOKKEEPING AND SYSTEM OF HANDLING LETTERS AND ORDERS.
The bookkeeping of the average mail order department is not unlike the bookkeeping of an average business. The index name book where names are carefully indexed and classified according to territory is, however, a book peculiar to mail order departments. Under the heading A, may be subdivisions of different States and counties where Andersons, Amsdens, Andrews, Appletons, etc., live. Opposite their names can be memoranda of the size and frequency of orders. In this manner the worth of each customer is at all times apparent. In very large departments names under the proper subdivisions are classified in huge filing cabinets or cases similar to those used in public libraries.
In the writer’s eye is a system now in operation in a large department store. All letters to the firm are opened in the main office. Demands for samples are then stamped to be immediately sent to the mail order office. Letters containing remittances in any form go to the head cashier of the house, who extracts the money and stamps the sum received to the credit of the mail order department, which department then numbers on a consecutive numbering machine the letters. Then they are alphabetically assorted and entered upon the registering book.
Afterwards they are read and handed to the girls filling ordersaccording to the departments covered by the girls. Requests for samples of dress goods, linings, etc., are left with clerks in these departments who are expected to attend to the letters before the day is out. Before filling an order the girl makes out a card which shows the name and address of the sender as well as the amount, shipping directions and whatever notes may be valuable regarding any details of the order. This card bears the time stamp of the manager of the mail order department, so he can tell how much time the girl consumed in filling the order. This time stamp is a constant indicator of the mail order filler’s efficiency.
Having selected the goods they are sent from the counter to the mail order office, thence after examination and checking to the shipping department. Before the goods are sent to this latter department the girl detaches from her card a ‘stub, and the card itself goes with the merchandise to the shipping room. The shipping manager stamps on the card the hour and moment of shipment. So this card is a silent evidence of the promptness of the mail order selling and shipping departments. If there is a slip up anywhere either in the delay of filling orders, insufficient goods to fill orders, or a superabundance or lack of funds in payment, it becomes a comparatively easy matter to write a letter to the customer that will straighten out matters. And it is highly important to see that the customer is satisfied in every detail. When there is even the slightest imperfection regarding the filling of orders a letter should be sent to set the department right in the customer’s eye.
Talk Number III.
No matter how good the literaturehow strong the adverthing ammunitionunless the right names are secured much is wasted.
There are firms in large cities that make a business of supplying names to retailers. The well-established firms are patronized largely by mail order advertisers of novelties, special ties, etc., and are occasionally called upon by retailers and wholesalers about catalogue time.
As a rule the retailer depends upon his regular list of customers for names. This list, which grows with the advertising of the mail order department, is the most valuable list obtainable.
Local papers have been known to loan their subscription list to good advertisers. This courtesy was extended me by the Denver Times when I had charge of the Denver Dry Goods Company’s mail order department. Subsequently I evolved this idea, which can be utilized by any one, provided the local express will assist.
I went to the Wells-Fargo, Rio Grande, American and all the express companies running out of Denver and induced them to send a letter signed by the Denver Dry Goods Company and the express company to all the express company’s sub-agents. Scattered throughout the Rocky Mountains were several hundred sub-agents, and each received a request for a list of likely mail order customers in his district. Nearly all the sub-agents responded, and soon I had the satisfaction of securing the best names from the territory to be reached. These names were carefully indexed. Mr. Catlin, the mail order manager of the Hub Clothing House, Chicago, originated a number of efficient methods of obtaining valuable mail order names. He addressed a letter to fifteen thousand express agents in as many different towns throughout the country. This letter made the proposition that if the express agent would send on the accompanying blank names of fifty persons whom he knew to be reliable, and who would be probable purchasers of clothing, he would receive a commission of five per cent. on all orders sent in by the people whose names were on his list. Nearly fifty thousand names were obtained in this manner, and tabulated by means of the card system. The practical results obtained from this list, however, were not as satisfactory as those obtained by some other methods. For example, at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition at Omaha, a registration was made of married women, and Mr. Catlin secured twenty thous-and names from this registration, which are especially valuable in sending out catalogues and samples of children’s clothing.
A successful scheme for obtaining practical mailing lists is exhibited in a three-page folder, ” The Hub’s Proposition.” This folder sets forth the desire of The Hub to obtain names of parties who are likely to be interested in their catalogue, and invokes the aid of patrons by offering them a fair remuneration for the services rendered. The folder displays attractive cuts of samples of men’s and boys’ garments, and agrees to furnish them at about the cost of production, provided the person addressed will fill out the accompanying blank and send in five names and addressed of prospective purchasers. The Hub then agrees to ship any of the garments advertised in the folder by express f- Q. D., without any deposit, and at a reduction of about twenty-five per cent. from retail prices. This method not only obtains valuable names, but serves to introduce the goods in many communities where they were formerly unknown.
An ordinary name index answers for a small mail order department. For a large department a system of files similar to that used in large libraries answers the purpose. These names should be carefully watched. When a person dies or moves the name should be struck off or the address corrected. Sending out literature to dead names or names that do not respond is a dead loss of postage, printing matter, time and effort. The rule in the best managed mail order houses is to mail to a new name for a year, and if no sale is made in that time this name is taken from the list.
Talk Number IV.
BEST ARTICLES TO ADVERTISE.
This article is aimed rather at the small mail order concerns, although large firms can gather points. Many a man starting a mail order business is at a loss as to what to advertise. This epitome of many years’ experience and observation may throw some light upon the subject.
Handkerchiefs at a popular price like is z2 cents are great mail order sellers all the year round-particularly so during the holiday season. Ladies’ wrappers at 98 cents or thereabouts are good sellers. Gloves for men and women in the vicinity of a dollar pull good trade. So are ladies’ shirt waists during the summer season. Hosiery is fair. Boys’ suits are well sold all the year round, but take care that the price is a moderate one. A fairly good boy’s suit can be sold at $1.98, which price includes transportation. Through the summer season a boy’s sailor suit at the same figure has been known to pull in lots of trade. Men’s and boys’ bicycle, athletic or sporting caps in the vicinity of 25 cents are trade winners. Ladies’ tailor-made suits ranging from the cheap affair of wool repellent cloth at $4.95 up to the finest serges, cheviots, broadcloths, etc., at $20 and $25 win patronage. Ladies’ duck suits for beach and mountain wear are quick sellers through the short summer season. In the early fall and spring light weight jackets and capes for ladies and misses are good sellers, and throughout the winter heavy weight outer garments for men, women and children. Ladies’ mackintoshes at $2.95 or thereabouts are quick movers. Do not climb too high in the scale of prices. Make the price as little as consistent with a worthy article.
During the spring seed season packages of seeds (18 or 20 in a bunch) can be profitably advertised at i8 cents and 20 cents per bunch. Bulbs are fair sellers.
Cheap watches sell rapidly; $1.50 is a popular price to move watches. A certain firm has made a great mail order success with a dollar watch. Cameras and camera outfits appeal to everybody, particularly during the summer season. Concerns have been known to make money out of men’s trousers at $1.95, men’s suits at $4.98, men’s overcoats at the same figure and men’s mackintoshes at $2.75. But as a general rule these latter goods are hard to movenot especially easy over the counter and much more difficult by mail or express. Sewing machines, clocks, jewelry, eyeglasses, music, musical instruments and articles of household use, when easily priced and properly pushed are money makers. While Montgomery, Ward & Co. and Sears-Roebuck Co., Chicago, sell almost everything necessary for personal need or domestic use, do not jump at the conclusion that you can do the same. First study your territory and its people’s needs. Then pick out some article for which there is a certain demand, such as a handkerchief during the holiday season, a boy’s sailor suit, a woman’s shirt waist during the summer season, or a glove for all-year-round trade.
Little points of local and climatic conditions should be studied. Again is repeated: Have prices as small as possible on goods of worth and wear.
Talk Number V.
Another leading subject is the catalogue matter. How to get up a catalogue with as little expense as possible” Aye ” as Hamlet puts it, “there’s the rub.” I have seen catalogues that were gotten up at no expense whatever to the house sending them out. How? Simple enough! A retail house can call upon the wholesalers, importers and manufacturers with whom it deals to give quarter, half and full page advertisements to the catalogue. Sometimes more than enough is thus realized to pay for the cost of the catalogue. Cuts can be secured the same way. But, broadly speaking, this is not true economy, for the house thus puts itself under obligations to the wholesalers, importers and manufacturers taking advertising space. And these obligations are as a rule met with compound interest.
A catalogue should be planned well in advance. Estimates should be secured from printers, artists, paper dealers, etc., in time to permit a careful arrangement of copy and further plans. In giving out the work the good advertiser does not necessarily give it to the lowest bidder. He gives it to the writer, artiste printer and paper dealer who is responsiblewho has a reputation for turning out good work in quick timeprovided his prices are right. In working up a catalogue give each department a representation according to that department’s money making ability. No more, no less. On a small catalogue it may be well to have the printer estimate on printing, paper, presswork, binding and mailing (which includes pdstage). But it has been my experience that on large orders it is wiser to get the paper estimate from some paper dealer. The printer could estimate on printing, presswork, binding, and mailing, although in some cases money can be saved by having the mailing figure considered by some mailing concern.
As to text. Have it terse, direct, business-like. Give full descriptions of goods and always, always give prices. Prices clinch custom; all else only lead to that pleasant point. A page introductory about the good things to follow is all right, so are short introductories to the beginning of chapters.
As to illustrations. Whether they should be colored, half’-tones, wood cuts or pen and ink sketches is a matter for you to determine, as you are the best judge of the individual case. For ordinary catalogues, pen and ink drawings are all right. They are inexpensive. They can be made for about a dollar each, or can be had in New York ready made for half and even quarter that sum. Wood engravings are more expensive, ranging from two to ten dollars apiece. No black and white illustration pictures an article with such strength, fidelity and thoroughness as the wood engraving. Half-tones and colored work still climb higher the ladder of expense. For garments and figures the half-tones will be always in demand. Thereis a daintiness and softness about a half-tone that adds a touch of fashion to any garment and a grace to any figure. Colored plates are in demand by some advertisers, but for picturing purely dry goods or department store matter, a fair comparison has demonstrated to my mind that colored work is not as strong and practical, therefore not so desirable as artistic black and white effects.
As to type. If the printer is a good one let him decide that point himself. A good rule to follow is to have as few varieties on a page as possible. De Vinne, Jensen or Howland makes a good display. Small Pica, Nonpareil or Brevier answers the body purposes. Footnotes can be brought out in Agate (lower case).
As to paper. Have the paper good. Your catalogue is your representative, and a shabby representative hurts any business. The same may be said as to the general effect of the catalogue, which means that paper dealer, printer, writer and artist should do their utmost to produce a creditable catalogue, and in return get a fair recompense for what they give you.
Talk Number VI.
It is truly extraordinary in this eminently prosaic age hover methods of approaching persons influence trade. Take the soft, delicate, insinuating method and you sicken some robust characters, while pleasing those accustomed to the velvet side of life. Go at some people with a club and you scare them into giving you business, while others instantly show fight and become for-ever enemies.
First-class mail order managers and credit clerks have the gentle art of correspondence down to a fine degree. Generally it is the ” iron hand beneath the velvet glove ” method that prevails.
The mail order correspondent in the fullness of time comes to know the various shades of character in the various enstomers. By keeping these idiosyncrasies in mind he is better able to adjust grievances and in letters emphasize the points of goodness of his goods and mail order system.
The mail order correspondent might well take a lesson in graphology or the deduction of character from handwriting. There are some books on the subject procurable from almost any library, and graphology is by no means an inexact science. The heavily marked letters without flourishes indicate the severely practical and frequently the close-fisted. Open letters, and letters showing flourishes, indicate a tendency to extravagance. The social status of the writer is often shown in no uncertain manner by the delicate aristocratic penmanship, while the inky, slovenly style tells another story. The great point is for the writer to put himself in the place of the reader. If by previous business relations, by inferences from penmanship, expression, locality, size of order, or style of goods desired, the writer can determine the soft and hard points of the customer’s make-up, then he can write a letter or series of letters that will play a symphony upon the right business keys.
All Uncle Sam’s letters-be they naval, military, or what not are couched in a sententious and simple style. So are the letters from many great business houses. Long experience may have determined that this method of corresponding is the correct one for business purposes. But people are human and are moved by appeals to pride, vanity, anger, jealousy, etc., just as much as ever, and it does seem as though the writer who could inject into a letter something else besides cold business would be a step in advance of the conventional letter writer.
Talk Number VII.
PROMPTNESS AND THOROUGHNESS.
The two watch-words in filling orders are Promptness and Thoroughness. Gain a reputation in these points and much is accomplished. It makes no matter how good are the goods, how small are the prices, if the customer’s desire has to cool before merchandise appears, a blow to business is the result. First-class mail order houses fill orders the day they are received. And they fill orders thoroughly. There is no skimping of full measurement, nor lack of desire to carry out the customer’s desire at every point. It does not pay to substitute goods unless the customer has given that privilege.
Up-to-date business is pretty brisk business. It tells of quick service, intelligent service, good goods and fair prices. When it does not something happens. And that something means that “ the other fellow ” gets the business because he gets to the heart of the customer and pocketbook better and quicker than you, by his promptness and thoroughness in filling orders on dependable merchandise, properly priced. Uncle Sam’s postal service is excellent. Even second and third-class mail matter moves without loss of time. So does express matter. Therefore, when delays occur customers instantly blame the mail order department, and in most cases they are right. Some employees are naturally slack and shiftless. They let orders lie on their desks for a day or two before giving them attention. Such employees are weedshoe them out!
Many a mail order covers a large list of articles. Here is where that jewelthoroughnesscan be shown. Get every article in its completeness. If ten yards of cotton are ordered give full yards, not nine and eight-ninths. If three dozen packages of seeds are ordered, do not give thirty-five If a spool of Clark’s thread, as dozen of pens, two packages of safety pin books, each containing three dozen pins, a gross of thirty-six inch selected grain whalebone and a lot of other things are ordered in by the dressmaker in Poughkeepsie or Pawling, see that the order is filled to the letter and shipped the day it is received. Same way in filling orders on patent medicines or any, sort of specialties. Keep the orders moving all the time-never let them hurry or worry you. As a rule, the people who are rushed to death are they who have permitted work to accumulate upon their shoulders. The cool, collected employees accomplish a fair share of work, each day and the succeeding day finds them in the proper frame to do justice to further batches.
Talk Number VIII.
GOOD MAIL ORDER HELP.
Every mail order employee should be a clear and independent thinkerbe ready to adapt himself to the emergencies, that arise from time to timebe trained in the matter of filling orders properly and clever enough to extract the writer’s meaning from the letter obscurely expressed. This means that the good mail order employee must possess brains above the average. In a mail order department are opportunities in plenty to exercise tact, patience and cleverness. Tact can be exercised, for instance, in the dress goods department of a retail house, when clerks are rushed with over-the-counter trade and the mail order employee is waiting to get a line of samples or a few yards of Henriettas. Tact can be exercised in the framing of a letter so as to soothe a soul already disturbed by an order misunderstood or sent astray. Tact can be shown in numberless ways.
So can patience. Many mail order letters are neither Chesterfieldian in tone nor clear in meaning. Patience may unravel the latter and receive the former in a manner that will not upset business equanimity. Cleverness can be shown in expression of letters, in filling of orders, in the thousand and one business details that a year brings forth.
No mail order manager need be told that it is hard to get good help. He knows this fact has been, is and will be so for a long time to come. And when a good mail order employee is secured, only just treatment and a liberal salary will retain him or her. In filling orders demanded by women, the best help are bright girls. They know the needs and peculiarities of their sex better than men and are generally better posted on the fads that fashion brings to the surface. But men make better managers. They have a clearer idea of broad problems of business and a better grasp on a number of details handled by a number of feminine subordinates. This is a rule to which there are exceptions as there arete all rules.
It is work clean through in a mail order department, whether it be sending out phials of medicine or everthing that a departmentstore carries. Mentally and physically every employee should be at the best and active all the time. Personally the writer is not in favor of too many posted rules and regulations. I consider it better to have a few fundamentals well grounded in each employee’s mindthe result of a short talk and a few day’s practice. Posted rules are eye-sores to the intelligent, and none but the intelligent should find room in a mail order department. It is bad to mix up one employee’s work with another. Each should have his or her sphere of action clearly defined and understood.
Talk Number IX.
HAVE A MAIL ORDER PLAN.
Like everything else the start should be right. To start right is to start with a good plan, and the plan should be as well executed as conceived. From time to time as exigencies demand, departures can and will be made from the first plan, but back of all stands the original scheme.
The requisites of a mail order department are:
I. A select list of names.
2. Intelligent mail order employees.
3. A good head to manage the department.
4. Plenty of goods to fill orders.
With these requisites the general rules to follow a:
1. Fill all orders promptly.
2. Fill all orders carefully.
3. Answer all correspondence comprehensively and carefully.
4. Keep up the advertising.
5. Exchange goods, refund money and give your mail order customers the same privileges they would receive had they bought in person.
6: Keep right at itsystematically persistent.
One of the annoying features will be the vague and foolish orders that will come in from time to time. Patience is a jewel in the mail order business. Always keep this jewel bright: One must be quick and accurate in deciphering the most difficult handwriting-be able to disentangle from a skein of tangled expression the customer’s desire, and must have enough mother wit to supply the right shade of ribbon or the proper caper in ruching when these details are lacking.
Have a plan about advertising. Do not go at it in a half-hearted way and then give up. As Davy Crockett used to say, ” Be sure you are right, then go ahead.” The average advertising appropriation of a mail order department is three per cent of the gross business. In starting in you should splurge a little, then tone down to a steady percentage of expenditure.
See that the boxes and tubes to hold goods are of the exact size and weight. Postage money may be wasted otherwise. See that you have plenty of them, as you, your customers and the postman will be extremely annoyed when goods are poorly packed. It is best to make a price that covers transportation as well as cost to customers. As a last axiomatic injunction let it here be added: That the advertising matter be written, illustrated and placed right to impress the right people with the right goods at the right prices.
Talk Number X.
MAIL ORDER TERRITORIES.
This is a matter the importance of which has been overlooked by too many mail order tyros. Unless the territory is ripe for an article or comparatively free from the influence of other mail order concerns it is folly to there spend money for mail order purposes. The mail order territory of this continent may be divided into three sections, viz., the Eastern, Northern and Southern States, which are well supplied through the mail order departments of big houses in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and a few other large Eastern sources; the great Middle West, which Chicago well covers, and that section west of the Rockies which is catered to by a few large concerns in Denver, Salt Lake, San Francisco and Portland.
Now, Mr. Mail Order Man, be your prospective business big or little, look over the above paragraph and see how its information affects your case.
For the average mail order concern-mind you, this applies to the average, not to the one with an article for which there is a world-wide demand with but one source of supply-it is not wise to attempt to gather business from more than its own and adjoining States. An Omaha house bidding for mail order business should attempt to cover only Nebraska, the northern end of Kansas, the eastern of Colorado, the Dakotas and such portions of adjoining States which would not come under the influence of equally large or larger concerns in Kansas City, Denver, St. Louis and Chicago. The nearness of these other bases of supplies to possible customers with the certainty of qualities and prices equally attractive would operate against the Omaha attempt.
There was a timeand not so long ago, eitherwhen a mail order department in the East could supply the mail order demands of the entire East and South. But that is of the past. Western and Southern houses have sprung up and have so well supplied mail order trade that many Eastern mail order departments have seen their trade dwindle to insignificant proportions. Climatic conditions are well to remember. In Oregon, where it rains practically nine months in the year, umbrellas, water-proofs and rubbers are great sellers. In Florida and adjoining States an all the year round demand can be counted upon for shirt waists, wrappers, etc. In Montana capes, wraps and overcoats can be sold during each of the twelve months. And it also may be remembered that certain articles in certain States are in greater demand than elsewhere. You can sell two revolvers in Colorado where one would be sold in Illinois and more cheap jewelry in the South than in New England.
Talk Number XI.
COMPILING MAIL ORDER LITERATURE.
Mail order literature embraces many forms of catalogues, booklets, circulars and leaflets, to say nothing of the newspapers and magazines. The expenditure ranges from two to ten per cent. of that department’s business, according to the judgment of the head, who should know his resources and expenditure better than any one else. The average expenditure is three per cent
Every retailer and wholesaler-yes, every novelty and specialty dealer with any kind of a businessshould get out a catalogue twice a year. The spring and summer catalogues should be ready by the first of April, the fall and winter catalogue by the first of October. With every catalogue should be attached a mail order blank. He who cannot afford a catalogue should have a bookletif not a booklet then a circular of informationbut in either case a mail order blank is most desirable. There should be illustrations in plenty, as well as terse descriptions of goods. Unless for seed or other purposes where colored work is necessary it is wise to have the illustrations in plain black and white. Wood engravings are better (therefore more expensive) than the usual line cuts. Most advertisers find that line cuts are satisfactory.
Illustrations which convey an accurate picture of the goods and suggest a thought as to their uses are the illustrations to use. Dead, flat cuts repel interest. There should be action in the cut as well as in the text. Business is full of action and all its advertising should be a reflex of its action. Next in importance to the catalogue is the booklet, after which comes the circular. Glittering generalities do not win trade. It is the specific say-so with price that clinches custom.
Leaflets are excellent advertising bullets. A leaflet speaking of a glove, cap, razor, pipe or anything retailable, well illustrated and well expressed, dropped in every letter and pack-age, is an accomplisher. Several of these accomplishers can go out with every mail order.
The retailer should frequently speak of the mail order department in his ads. A cut of a postman or letter-box with something like this inscribed on it, “Let us fill your mail order?” “Why not do your shopping by mail?” etc., can be used with advantage. That it is folly to skimp on the paper and printing of mail order literature good advertisers agree. The same may be said of the artist’s and writer’s work.
Talk Number XII
THE VALUE OF PERSISTENCE.
Before speaking of the value of persistence, a word or two may be said anent the curse of persistence. When one is on a wrong tack the earlier it be known the better.
Persistence is a good thing to have nothing to do with when little or no responses come in for an article that is well advertised and for which it is assumed there should be a prompt demand. If a certain style fountain pen to sell at one dollar is rightly advertised without bringing a profitable response it is safe to drop that pen and advertise something else. For the demand for fountain pens depends upon no climate conditions, nor is it restricted to any section of the land. Same way with lots of other things that appear good to advertise, but prove not as good as they appear.
Much money is wasted in persistently advertising goods for which there is really no profitable demand. There is a time limit to a fair trial. And if the advertiser does not bring hard, horse sense upon this as well as every other mail order and advertising proposition he will be sorry.
But persistence is a good virtue to study in many cases. The advertiser of pills must wait for “the turn of the tide” before he sees results. The advertiser of a young mail order department in a field where there is competition must wait some time for the worth of his values to make an impression upon those who were dealing with competitors. It takes time to wean away trade from others. It takes the steady, strong, systematic strokes of persistent advertising to do it. A mail order trade cannot grow in a night the first orders filled should act as advertisers for succeeding orders. There is a form of advertising known as word of mouth advertising. Jones says to Smith
” Have you tried Brown’s, Rheumatic Solace?” “No-how does it work, and where can I get it? ” ” Oh, it’s great! I bought a bottle three weeks ago, and to-day I have no rheumatism. You can get a bottle for a dollar from this address in New York.” Or perhaps Mrs. Tinkham says to Miss Kelly: “Have you ever done any mail order shopping with Smith, Smith & Co.?” “No, I have always dealt by mail with Brown, Brown & Co.” ” Well, you try Smith, Smith & Co.-a new house that carries the best goods at lesser prices than your concern and a house that fills all mail orders more thoroughly and promptly.”
So the story goes. Like the proverbial snowball, the well-managed mail order department gathers strength with its pushing. Persistence in advertising it, persistence in pushing, it and persistence in attending to all the little points of service accomplish marvels of expansion in the fullness of time.