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Thomas Williamson

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THOMAS WILLIAMSON, Pres. Fisk Tailors.

How would this letter impress you? Would you read it thru? Would it cause you to feel that prob ably you ought to see the local representative of this tailoring concern about the suit of clothes you desire to purchase? Definitely what are the results that the writer of this letter wishes to secure? Would the letter secure them, or not? Why, or why not? From the addressee's point of view, what was the effect of this letter? The president of this company considered it a sound message of the type that he likes to have go out over his own signature. It reads connectedly and seems to be sound in logic. Apparently the letter is all right; but it failed. Why? It was mailed from the Fisk Company to two hun dred "live prospects" whose names were supplied by Mr. Marshall Zombro. But AI r. Zombro could not trace a single new customer to its influence, and as he had paid the postage on the 200 letters he wrote the president of the company. The latter was so much in terested that he came down to Mr. Zombro's town to find out why the letter had failed. Together he and his agent did some effective investigation to find out what kind of message would bring business. They in terviewed some of the young men to whom their un successful letter had been sent, but they did not find any one who had read it thru. They did get from these young men, however, a great deal of informa tion which a little later enabled them to write a very successful letter.

G. Classification, of ?nailing list.—Among the fundamental faults of the letter just quoted is the failure to apply the principles that underlie mailing list classification. Essential differences in the point of view of the various types represented by the two hundred young men were not considered. Many of the men had never yet indulged in the luxury of tailored-to-measure clothes. Others had been patron izing a local tailor with whom they were on friendly terms. Some were served by a house similar to the Fisk Company, and were satisfied. Some were office men; others were salesmen; others were factory men; about half of them were married. Clearly the letter

did not take into consideration all these important facts. Rather, it took for granted that all the men would be interested in a distant maker of tailor-made clothes because his concern was a large one.

These two men, the manufacturer and the agent, in planning their second letter, thought it would be best to send out one good letter to a selected list of men who they thought would be really interested, those who really needed to dress well, and especially those who were in the habit of buying tailored-to-order clothes. Together they decided on the type of pros pective customer they should try to reach, and the agent agreed to supply a list of names. It was a much shorter list than the first one—about sixty names—but the mailing was successful.

7. Right combination for effective was an ideal combination for the criticism of the letter already quoted: the manufacturer, the agent and indirectly the consumer. The manufacturer knew that his letter had flatly failed and was eager to find out why. He was where he could definitely ascertain the addressee's opinion of the letter, and he soon real ized that the appeal was entirely wrong.

The letter stated the manufacturer's reason why the addressee should buy, but did not give the reader's reason. Incidentally it may be noted that the manu facturer based his reason on faulty logic, for if his service had built up a big business, the desirability of the service must have been independent of the pres ent size of his business. But this logical inconsistency was not a great fault. The young men he interviewed did not have logical reasons for patronizing their tailor or their clothing merchant, and had not noticed the inconsistency. The main fault of the letter lay elsewhere. The manufacturer transferred the man who wrote that letter to a job which brought him into contact with local agents and their customers—in or der that he might obtain and appreciate the buyer's point of view.

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