What My Mentor Taught Me

Loren L. Lewis always said,

Never play another man’s game.
Always have a game of your own.

In the advertising business, RFP means “Request For Proposal.” In other words, some big company wants you to dance for them. They want you to sit up and beg like a dog at the dinner table.

I’ve never responded to an RFP.

I believe in the FPS.

In my little homemade world, FPS stands for Free Public Seminar. I did my first one in 1988. By 1992 I was doing at least one a month. In 1994 I launched the little missive you’re reading now. For the first several years of its life, this Monday Morning Memo was delivered by FAX. Can you believe it?

Don’t bother to Google FPS. No one uses that term but me. Today people call it “content marketing.”

It didn’t have a name in 1895 when John Deere launched a magazine for farmers about how to become more profitable. That magazine, The Furrow, is still in circulation. Today it reaches 1.5 million farmers in 40 countries who speak 12 different languages.

In 1904 a weird new food company sent its workforce door-to-door across America giving away free cookbooks. That company became a huge national brand within 24 months. Ever heard of Jell-O?

Ninety -five years later (1999,) author Jeff Cannon wrote,

In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek.

Bingo. One hundred and four years after John Deere proved it would work, someone gave it a name.

But content marketing probably isn’t for you. I believe that ship has sailed.

Does content marketing still work? Of course it does. The problem is that everyone is working it.

If every manufacturer in 1895 had been publishing their own magazine… if mailboxes everywhere were overflowing with them… would John Deere have seen success with The Furrow? Possibly. But they would have been playing another man’s game.

You need to have a game of your own.

Content marketing is a competition for the customer’s time. But it’s not the only way to win the customer’s time.

There is a way, I promise, for you to give away a sample of your product.

There is a way for you to demonstrate what you do in a dramatic and convincing way.

Both of these have been done before.

But not lately.

When everyone else is competing to win the customer’s time through the publication of online content, perhaps it’s time for you to start a game of your own.

For me, FPS meant Free Public Seminar.
For you, it can mean Free Product Sample.

Or maybe you just need to put on a show.

Demonstrate what you do.

Open some eyes.

Get some attention.

Roy H. Williams