Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Much to her chagrin, my daughter is attending summer school for the third year in a row. It’s not that she’s not intelligent, it’s just that being studious takes a backseat to being social and my eldest child tends to let her homework go undone a bit too often for her teacher’s liking. I wasn’t a stellar student myself so I am not one to come down too hard on her but my wife feels differently and so summer school has become part of our daughter’s high school experience. Fortunately we live within biking distance of the high school so I no longer have to listen to her complain about her lack of summer vacation on the ride to and from school. Instead, I get to listen to my son complain about his swimming lessons on the way to and from the community center—but that is another story.

The point is, my daughter came home from summer school a few days ago and announced that she wants to go to law school after college. Her mother was thrilled and, after getting over the disappointment of realizing she won’t be joining the Winston family business, I was too. After all, our litigious society will always need attorneys and heck; attorneys need branded mugs, personalized stationary and gift baskets, so she’ll at least be contributing to the family business. My wife was so excited she ordered her a personalized briefcase. It’s a really cool Dark Brown Leather/Twill Nylon Trolley Case with Exterior back zip pocket with ID window, secure luggage strap, interior zip pocket with padded laptop compartment, side strap handles, 37″ extending trolley handle and matching luggage tag. Unfortunately, before she could give it to her, our daughter announced she had decided she wants to be an actress instead. Since the bag is personalized and cannot be returned, Mrs. Winston is searching for a prospective giftee with the initials S.J.W.

The marketing lesson here is simple—before you put your name (or anyone else’s) on a gift or promotional product, make sure the gift is appropriate. It will save you a lot of money, time and aggravation. Well, I’m off to pick up my kid from swim practice—I think his coach is named Sam White, so I’ve got to find out his middle name. In the meantime, I leave you with the wise words of my good friend, Stuart H. Britt. “For a business not to advertise is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does.”