As I scurried through Pennsylvania Station in my freshly-starched Army uniform, I realized my boyhood dream had come true: I had finally arrived in New York City!
I kept an iron grip on my AWOL bag.
After all, it possessed all my earthly possessions – my toothbrush, razor, 4 pairs of underwear, my Honorable Discharge papers – and most important of all – carbon copies of the 30 Attraction Marketing letters I had written to Harold McGraw, the Executive Vice President of McGraw-Hill.
I also hoped that I would always be able to maintain a life as free of “stuff” as I had at that moment. Just me and my AWOL bag!
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be in advertising.
Not just any advertising, but big time advertising. You know, Madison Avenue. Problem was, I didn’t have any experience, connections, any references. I was just a small-town kid, first day out of the Army. So what are the chances walking in off the street in an Army uniform getting a job in a top NYC company? Slim to none.
So, I decided to start an Attraction Marketing campaign. Direct mail because there was no Internet in those days. And direct mail was the biggest advertising challenge there was – and also the most measurable! I really enjoyed measuring results!
Harold McGraw at McGraw-Hill was my prospect. After my research at the Fort Dix library, I found he was the guy and McGraw-Hill – the biggest direct mail advertiser in the industry – was the outfit I really wanted to work for.
Problem was, the Army was discharging me in 30 days.
I had to act fast. So, my plan was to fire off a different “tease” letter to Mr. McGraw each day for 30 days.
Each letter contained 2 key marketing techniques that I had learned from reading advertising greats like Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Raymond Rubincam, George Gribbin, William Bernbach and my other marketing heroes.
Technique #1 I owe to David Ogilvy- and that was to create a USP or Unique Selling Point (which was me). Technique #2 which came, in part from George Gribbin, was to manufacture an exciting deadline for “decision time.” This would be the appearance in 30 days of the mysterious person who would be the answer to his advertising prayers. In Part 1 of my blog, I gave an example of my first letter.
Here’s an example of #30, my last letter:
Dear Mr. McGraw:
Reason #30 why you should cancel all travel plans and be in your office TODAY, March 1st, THE BIG DAY!
Your morning visitor will not only:
- Detail the sales enhancing techniques in my 29 previous letters, but will also
- Announce a FREE Bonus Offer that will greatly increase sales of specific McGraw-Hill science and technical titles.
Al Carlson, Specialist 5th Class, Ft. Dix, NJ.
Once again, short and sweet.
I hurried up 8th Avenue to 42nd Street and the McGraw-Hill building. When a skinny soldier with an AWOL bag asked to be taken to the executive floor, the elevator operator gave me the fish-eye. “Mr. Harold McGraw,” I said casually.
I paced the long hallway, found his outer office, and announced who I was. Alas, his secretary told me the most important sales prospect of my entire life was busy all day. Suddenly I heard a growl from an inner office. “Is that the as__ ho__ who’s been writing me all those asinine letters?”
His secretary shrugged her shoulders. I figured my teaser letter-writing campaign had been a disaster.
See how Attraction Marketing comes to the rescue and wins me the job in my next blog.