Successful marketing takes a bit of creativity.

I often work with SCORE clients who want to create a successful marketing strategy so they can find customers for their products and services. During our conversation, I introduce the Bullet Point Marketing Plan and share a copy of the six-question worksheet.

After they identify their “Class A Prospects” and think about where they might be “hiding,” I ask how they intend to reach them. This can be a bit of a struggle, so I tell a story about some friends who delivered hand-addressed 9×12 inch envelopes to the offices where their Class A prospects were “hiding” and well protected by “gatekeepers.” The envelopes contained a business card, a personally addressed and hand-signed letter, plus a reel-to-reel audio tape containing samples of their work.

This was in the 1970s. They were selling their services as writers, arrangers and recording engineers for radio commercials in Los Angeles. Their target audience consisted of creative directors for advertising agencies who had never heard of these Seattle guys who had just moved to L.A. The “lumpy envelopes” were opened and my friends got lots of calls. The calls turned into lots of business for their new production studio. 

I call this the “lumpy envelope theory™.” If you want to stand out of the crowd, you have to do things differently. If your competitors advertise in a certain way, you need a new way. Most people don’t open junk mail, but they might open a lumpy envelope that leaks their interest and makes them wonder what’s inside.

Lumpy Envelope

Click image for a closer look.

This afternoon, when I returned home after a Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce luncheon, I noticed a shiny object at the entrance to my drive way. It was a small, zip-lock plastic bag containing a rock and a business card. As I looked down the street, I saw similar shiny objects at the entrance to everyone’s driveway… and I smiled.

Here was a perfect example of the lumpy envelope theory™, and all it took was a plastic bag, a rock and a business card. I’m only guessing, but I’ll bet that Gaspar Alexander was working in the neighborhood today. At noon, he took a break and dropped off a few of his lumpy envelopes in people’s driveways.

Did it work? Well, it got my attention and that’s not easy to do. So, congratulations Mr. Alexander.


by Ken Sethney, Volunteer Business Mentor, Kitsap SCORE

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