Monday, April 2, 2012

Common Sense Makes Sense

After nine decades on this planet, my view of marketing boils down to a few "common sense" facts.
The first being this: You are either marketing a product or a service.
The second being: You cannot sell your product or service from an empty wagon.
And third (ta-da): Advertising alone never sold a damned thing.
During WW2 I served as an "Airedale Swab-Jockey" for three years, three months, and fifteen days.
By the sheerest of accidents, I helped a brilliant aviator create the Navy's first "how-to do-it without-getting-killed" formal flight manual.
We, Cdr James Gramentine, USNR, and I did it the hard way. I was a good illustrator and author, he was a fine aviator. He took me up, did whatever, and we landed so I could illustrate that and tell a reader how to do it. Our first printed version was crude, but extremely effective. Before we did that, the "Navy Way" consisted of what they called a "syllabus".
Look that up in the dictionary and you will see it is nothing more (or less) than a simple "outline" of a course of study. It went something like this:
1. Monday: Learning the parts of an airplane.
2. Tuesday: Starting the airplane's engine.
3. Wednesday: Learning to taxi the airplane.
Etc, etc, etc, etc.
Not one doggone word about what it looked like or how to do it. You had a single sheet of paper with the "syllabus" plus the assurance that "Your instructor will show you how."
What is wrong with this picture? That was the easy part.
What was wrong was a dozen (or more) instructors had a dozen (or more) ideas on "how to do it".
Jim Gramentine wanted ALL Navy Flight Instructors to teach it ONE WAY - The right way.
The idea worked. Gramentine and I were tapped to formalize our crude first version and we did.
Gramentine stayed in the Navy.
I didn't I went on to become an engineer, an artist, a marketer, and a publisher. I had a MARVELOUS time and will share what I learned along the way.
Ask me an intelligent question about marketing your product or service and I will do whatever it takes to provide an intelligent answer.
Bill Mullin