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The Eatin Towel
About 11 years ago I was on a quick trip with my “gang”. At that time, I would annually take my management crew on a 2 night get away to do business planning, have a little fun, and try and change the world. As we were heading down the road, one of my employees picked up a rather dirty towel and said, “What the heck is this”. The response from Ronald Vaughn Shumaker, “that’s my eatin towel”.
When asked to define “eatin towel”. Ronn advised, “every day I go through a drive through and to save time I eat as I drive. Before I pull out of the drive through, I place the eatin towel on my lap to catch the stuff that falls out of my sandwich”. I thought this an amazing addition to any vehicle and thus the official Ronald Vaughn Eatin Towel was born.
When we returned from the trip, I called a friend of mine and asked how much it would cost to get 500 large golf towels silk-screened with a story. The answer came back pretty reasonable and so I create the story of the Eatin Towel, stole Ronn’s signature from an application he had just submitted to a carrier and had these delivered within the week.
Ronn had no idea and was very pleased to now be part of our marketing lore. Our company for marketing as a point of difference used these towels and we even got a few laughs. We have reprinted the towel a few times and still use it today as one of our many marketing pieces.
Around this same time I was marketing in Indianapolis and ran across a large Internet café. This was before Wi Fi was readily available and thus I was doing a little work and since I’m a sales person, I asked to speak to the owner, gave him the towel, told the story and left. I did a little research with him as to whom he was insured with etc, but at that he had no pain or maybe I was too much a rookie to find the pain.
About 2 months later I get a call from Indianapolis from “Bill”. Bill indicated that he was getting something out of his trunk in his car, saw the eatin towel and decided to call. We met, did an audit of his current program and to this day our firm manages Bill’s risk.
Always be on the lookout for unique marketing opportunities. I’m not sure if this one will be in the hall of fame, but it is a part of a much larger point of difference campaign our company has been creating the last few years.
In addition to the eating towel, we have small zip log bags of rocks with a sticker on the back that states The Thompson Group Rocks. The sticker also has our website. Imagine getting a bag of rocks with nothing but a website, you might just check it out.
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