This is a classic interview between Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer from August of 2000.
Dan: Welcome to another Gold Inner Circle tape. I’ve got on the phone with me this time of year, or actually pretty soon a very busy fellow, Bill Glazer. Many of you will know him from having seen some of his ads in the newsletter. Bill’s been a Platinum member now for two years, right?
Dan: Has two businesses. His menswear stores in the Baltimore area, which are enormously successful and big users of our kinds of marketing, and then his company which provides marketing information and advertising information to the menswear retailing industry. And increasingly more by accident than strategy, to some retailers in other fields as well. There’s one very specific topic that we want to spend the majority of our time on. But Bill, for starters, maybe you can give everybody sort of a thumbnail description, background, what your current business is like, that kind of thing.
Bill: Great, Dan. I’ve been in the retail business now for 26 years. I actually went to college, got a degree in psychology, and did nothing with that at all. Have two stores, as you mentioned, in the Baltimore area. We are now the predominant independently-owned retail men’s stores in Maryland today. A lot of that, probably, is due to the fact that we use a lot of Kennedy-type strategies to market our business. And then a couple years ago, as you mentioned, I started to put together a course on how retailers can market and advertise their business. I have over 500 retailers around the United States and Canada using that, and I also do a little bit of one-on-one consulting with retailers.
Dan: Okay. Now the main reason that we scheduled this call is you made a discovery in your business. I think last Thanksgiving was the first time that you used this for your stores, if I’m not mistaken. And began to experiment with voice broadcast and have had such extremely impressive results that you’ve wound up turning around and getting a lot of your retailer clients to use it as well. So I’m going to let you describe what you discovered, how you used it first, and how it works.
Bill: Well, Dan, basically out of one of our Platinum group meetings, one of the voice broadcast providers came and they were telling how they use this technology sort of as a lead generation technology. People mainly in the mortgage broker business were using it to send out voice broadcasts. Let me maybe define what a voice broadcast is. A voice broadcast is when you record a message and then you send that message out to a database. It can be anywhere from hundreds of tens of thousands of phone numbers to people’s homes, giving them an offer. When I was listening to it, I came to the conclusion that this would work well to send this offer out to people who have never done business with you in the past, I wonder how this would work to people that have done business with you in the past and who know you. I started to experiment with it last year, mainly as a follow-up sequence to a direct mail piece that I sent out and also with clients of mine that I sent out direct mail pieces. And found enormous success with bumping results on response.
Dan: For that very first usage, you had reliable data from the prior year, as I recall, for fundamentally the same mailing. Correct?
Bill: The mailing was almost identical. That mailing, we received over a 35 percent increase in volume in response to that mailing. We did a later mailing in January of this year, 2000, and we actually experienced a 92 percent increase in volume. I have one retailer client of mine in Schenectady, New York, that he’s the largest I’ve ever heard. He has a 330 percent increase in volume. Needless to say, I’m one of his favorite people now.
Dan: I’ll bet you are. Let’s talk through a specific example. It doesn’t matter to me which one of them that you want to do. But who got the mailing and who got the call, and kind of what does the call sound like?
Bill: Okay. Well, let me tell you the first time we did it, we did it with our Thanksgiving greeting card mailing, which is a strategy that I actually teach in my course, which is to send your clients a Thanksgiving greeting card. I find that a lot of people send out Christmas greeting cards and very few people send out Thanksgiving greeting cards. So it just sort of separates you from everyone else. We send that card out. And inside that card, we put in there a folded-over offer piece, which says, “Do not open this up until after you display your greeting card on top of your mantel or whatever.
Dan: And the greeting card is, just for clarification, this is like a Hallmark real greeting card?
Bill: Absolutely. It has the gold foil inside of the envelope and all. It’s not a printer’s rendition of it. We actually buy these greeting cards from a greeting card company. Of course, we buy 10,000 of them at a time, so we’re in the low 40-cent range for these. But it has the appearance of being a several-dollar-value card.
Dan: And then inside is the folded-over, “open this only after you’ve displayed the card?”
Bill: Right. We essentially gave the same offer as we gave in the past, which is a discount off. The more you spent, the more the discount that you would get.
Dan: So it’s a progressive discount coupon, positioned as a thank you for the past business they’ve done.
Bill: Yes. And this only went to previous customers of ours. And in order for them to qualify, they needed to spend at least $300 within the last 12 months in one of our stores. We send out approximately 10,000 of these. What we did differently this past Thanksgiving was the day before Thanksgiving, I called, I recorded the voice broadcast message and sent it out the day. I’ll get into a little later in the tape some of the best times to do this, because that’s very important. And send it out before. And basically I said, “Hi, this is Bill Glazer, owner of Gage Menswear. I hope by now you received the Thanksgiving greeting card that we sent you. We really wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. By the way, I just want to remind you that after Thanksgiving, you can bring in the special offer inside your card and receive up to a 20 percent discount off your entire purchases for the three days after Thanksgiving.” That went out the day before Thanksgiving.
Dan: I want to make the point that a lot of the magic to this is that, as you just described that message delivered in your voice, the recipient can’t tell this was mechanically broadcast. Because the messages are left on their home answering machines. If I come home and access my home answering machine and the first message is from my next door neighbor complaining about my dog ruining his rose bushes and the next message up is from my sister-in-law asking for money, and the next message up is the one you just described in your voice, from you, and I’m your customer, it’s indistinguishable by me. It sounds just like the previous two messages from my neighbor and my sister-in-law. So it really feels like you called me personally.
Bill: Right. One of the great features of voice broadcast is the fact that you can really just get the inflection and everything just the way you want it. Because after you record your message, you have an opportunity to listen to it before you finalize it. Many times, when I record a message, I’ll record it three or four times before I get it just the way I want it to be. Another really important part of the message, too, is if you use it in sequence to direct mail, which now I’m even using it as a standalone without direct mail, and we can talk about that if you want to, but if you use it in sequence to direct mail, you also want to give the listener the opportunity to take advantage of the offer without having the direct mail any longer. Because many people get direct mail pieces and throw it away. But if they get the voice broadcast, they might then want to respond to the offer. So we normally end the message with, “By the way, if you don’t have the insert that we put in the card, don’t worry about it. Just come into either one of our stores and mention the special code word ‘Thanksgiving,’ and we’ll still give you the discount.”
Bill: A very important piece to that. Dan: So you delivered approximately 10,000 of these messages?
Dan: And that’s done all automatically and literally all at once.
Bill: It takes about eight minutes to get out 10,000 messages, which is fascinating. Because Dan, as you know and we’ve had many discussions about this, my sales associates who work in my stores, they are required to make telemarketing calls to their previous clients, which is a very, very strong media which I highly encourage people to continue to do. But a good sales associate can make maybe, if he’s really good, maybe 20 calls an hour. Well, with voice broadcast, you can make 10,000 calls in eight minutes. So you can really hit the masses with this thing.