Those of you who have been on the “EPIC” mailing list for the past 20 years will fondly recall (some of you still have them on your desks) some of our classic EPIC FUN promotional mailings: like Reginald Square (you read it to your kids), EPIC minigolf (how many billable hours were lost?), the branded 2×4 (the West Bend Post Office still hates us), a can of EPIC Spam (got a cease and desist for that one) and everybody’s favorite — the tube in a tube containing EPIC’s infamous Daily Globe!
Well … there is a reason you haven’t seen any of these premium items from us in a long while. That was a conscious decision made by yours truly. A dumb one. An “I know better” decision. And one that we are now paying the price for…literally.
For the 20+ years that I have been President/CEO of EPIC Creative® I have repeatedly insisted that we practice what we preach by investing in regular, highly creative, sometimes expensive promotional activities. And as a result of never wavering in that practice, we happily experienced an average of 5% growth from 1995 through 2011, after which we grew at 17% in 2012, then 25% in 2013 and 27% in 2014.
Back in early 2013, I put the kibosh on any significant EPIC marketing activities except for a few postcards and an occasional edition of Shoot Notes. My theory and argument was that we couldn’t handle any new business and needed to focus on the current business and continue to staff up (which we did) in anticipation of another 15% growth in 2015….sometimes I’m a dumbass.
Well, guess what? Several projects didn’t come to fruition, got cut or were eliminated due to circumstances nobody could have foreseen. Because of our strategic lack of advertising, we booked very little new business and KABOOM! 2015 is the first year in six that sales were flat, and we didn’t hit our goals. The consequences? We actually had to staff down a bit and we missed our projections. I HATE THAT, the staff hates that, my mom and dad hate that…everybody hates that!
Even though we encourage our customers to keep their marketing pedals to the metal, we got away with reducing our marketing/advertising for a year or two, and now we find ourselves working extra hard and spending more to get back where we belong.
Sheeeze, if anybody should know better, it should be me!
I am happy to report since deciding in August that digging my head out of the sand was a good business tactic, we are back on track, kicking up sales and advertising efforts and projecting 12% growth for 2016. Tragedy averted and back to normal, working like a mad man again. I’ll take growth challenges over downsizing any day!
WARNING WARNING WARNING… EXPECT more EPIC fun soon at a mailbox near you.
Don’t be a dumbass like me. ADVERTISE HARD, HAVE FUN!