Update: It’s about you

… continued from November-December Wood Industry.

only effective to a certain point, after which the publics revolted. People resent being treated like cows. However, the idea of Bernays-type marketing stayed on in Europe, to the detriment of the European markets. For example, last year I was offered the chance to buy two European magazines for next to nothing. The would-be seller was proud to point out that every story had an advertiser behind it. This is not our style; it is old-style.

While Europe recovered from the war, it had little incentive to invent or review. Rebuilding was the objective. Meanwhile, the West’s idea of public relations evolved along several lines. Some PR programs now consist of issuing news releases. Another school of PR says you meet the public with the truth and do what you can to direct reaction. Another school of PR says you should court the press so they have a positive attitude toward you in the event of a crisis. However, you cut it, though, the Bernaysian, control-oriented, behaviour-modification mode of PR is old, rusty, discredited and failed.

Let’s look at an alternative solution. To repair rusty and failed, we need to make some money. The purpose of a business is to make money. In order to make money, we need to sell something. You sell wood products; your suppliers sell supplies.

In order to sell wood products, you must have buyers. This is called a market. You need to identify the market and you need to stimulate the market. This is called marketing.

One way of looking at marketing is that it exists in three parts: public relations, advertising and direct sales. Many of you focus strongly on direct sales, since your market is local or regional. The larger the market, the more your needs will involve advertising and PR. Together, the largest corporations spend billions annually on PR, with the objective of staying on good terms with the media.

Under the Bernays school, if the media doesn’t cooperate, you destroy them.

Once you have identified your market, you need to research the market. How? By every bit of information you can get. Magazines can be helpful if they follow minimal standards. You might sponsor a local hockey team, join the Rotary Club or just read the local real estate news. Anything you can learn about the market behaviour can mean sales.

In the case of Wood Industry, we do a readers’ survey every November. The survey has always been for editorial advice. The survey is also for you. We publish the survey results so you can know more about the industry you are in.

There are ways to validate a survey. These include making sure there is a statistically valid sample, that the sample is random, that people are not pressured or paid to answer and that the raw data is either presented as-is or is subject to accepted methods of standardizing, such as concentrating on the means and reducing the effect of the extremes.

If you get an idea from your market research, how do you get the market to respond? In a word, value. You must have something the market wants (even if you have to convince it), and it has to pass a cost:benefit test in the market. At the root of this test is credibility. On some level, the market must accept what you say as being true.

Conversely, you have to accept what the market tells you is true. There was a time when Danish Modern just was not going to sell.

This is where media differ from other businesses. Too often, suppliers see themselves as the media’s customers because they write a cheque. However, they are not writing a cheque for a product or service. They are writing a cheque for access to the market. A ticket to the beach. The media is just the doorman, if you will. The gatekeeper. He gets paid, but the bulk of the money has to go to the market as information. Without the media, the supplier cannot get access to the market.

If suppliers pay the media but cannot get a market response, they leave. Therefore, while advertiser-focused magazines have been the rule in recent years, they are also the cause of the death of magazines across all industries in North America and Europe. People don’t like to be controlled, and won’t respond if they are not respected. They want the gatekeeper.

In this year’s survey, over 25 percent of you said you don’t even read the cartel-controlled magazine, and another 36 percent flip through in less than 15 minutes. That automatically means anybody advertising there is missing 61 percent of the market.

An amazing 91 percent of you in this tense advertising environment said you want your trade magazine to follow professional standards of journalism. As noted, 85 percent of those that read it said the Monograph: Our Own Worst Enemy in the September issue was fair and necessary reporting. Nobody was “forced” to respond to the survey, and nobody was paid. There were, however, a few that responded that were not manufacturers, but machinery suppliers or bureaucrats. We are pleased they thought it important to try to skew and bias the results. They know you take this seriously, and still want to deceive you, in spite of what’s been reported. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

The wood industry in North America is not, as the conventional wisdom claims, 10 years behind Europe. It is even with Europe, but Europe is 80 years behind current trends. Clearly, nobody travels to Europe to learn marketing. Glass-blowing and wine-making, yes. Marketing, no.

It appears obvious the CWMDA cartel is trying to put Wood Industry out of business. What that would mean for the industry in Canada is the flow of information would be regulated by the cartel. That would mean their marketing plan actually anticipates you are too stupid to be trusted with information.

These old-school, dried-up, failed marketing practices are not going to take the wood industry in Canada where it needs to go. The market is moving ahead, and the industry needs to keep up. It is time for recovery.

There are precious few real experts in marketing and PR working with our industry. To the extent we can help, we want to and we will. We will, of course, be grateful when this remarkably unbrilliant information-control campaign is over. It is a waste of time and resources that rightfully belong to the market, and it is damaging the legitimate suppliers as well as the manufacturers.

One of our survey respondents said it best: “This is my life – it is not a game to me.  I don’t like the thought that I can be misled through trusted published media and back-table dealings among [suppliers].”

If true, and it is, then the boycotters are not attacking Wood Industry. They are attacking their customers, and they can expect the customers to respond.

—If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. ― Edward Bernays

 

The complete piece follows:

Update: It’s about you

Fifteen years ago, when I first started doing surveys for this industry, only 10 percent of the readers had e-mail. The conventional wisdom at the time was that the secondary wood industry in North America is 10 years behind the rest of the world in adopting technology. At least, that was the wisdom from Europe. “If it’s happening in Europe,” the saying went, “it will be here in 10 years.” Today, we can all pray that what’s happening in Europe never makes it here, at all.

In this year’s survey, 85 percent of those that read it said the monograph entitled Our Own Worst Enemy, published with our September issue, was fair and necessary reporting. More on that in a minute.

First, we decided to take a look at the WMS show, this year back in Mississauga, Ont. As has become typical, Homag did not participate directly in the show. However, its Canadian headquarters is only a few kilometers away, so Homag held a concurrent event and Wood Industry sent Associate Editor Dennis Furlan over to report.

According to Furlan, the president of Homag Canada, Christian Vollmers, came over to greet him, and jumped into the controversy. According to Furlan, Vollmers pointed out that there was no boycott of the show, and no boycott of Wood Industry. He then said the reason for the boycott of Wood Industry was our March 2011 editorial, which compelled him and the other members of the Canadian Woodworking Machinery Dealers Assn. (CWMDA) to sit down with a lawyer and craft a letter threatening Wood Industry. In fact, Vollmers said, it was one of the few times the CWMDA acted with unanimity against somebody. I’m still back there on how you can have a boycott and no boycott.

We then contacted an American company that was participating in the boycott against Wood Industry, and received a very agitated response, admitting complicity, but denying intent: “[Our company], quite simply, is not the one in charge,” the respondent said. “We do not have a European company paying for our marketing budget,” and “We are forced to go where the Big Boys go.” I have to admit, I was embarrassed to hear an American in that circumstance. “Forced” is a big word.

Vollmers said the reason Homag is boycotting Wood Industry is because we mentioned Homag in the March 2011 editorial. We did not. We have posted copies of all the documents at www.woodindustry.ca.

Vollmers said the reason the CWMDA sent a lawyer letter threatening Wood Industry was because of the March 2011 editorial, Wood Industry Attacked. It was not. The March editorial was in the mail on March 25. The lawyer letter was sent on January 25 — two months before the March editorial. In fact, had the lawyer letter not been sent, there would have been no editorial. We had to inform the readers once we were threatened.

Several months ago, Vollmers claimed Wood Industry had said Homag is part of a cartel. We did not. In fact, we said specifically in our response to the CWMDA’s lawyer that we did NOT think the CWMDA was a cartel, but that current actions, including collective action to threaten a defamation suit made it appear the lawyer was a lawyer for a cartel.

Therefore, if Vollmers is telling the truth about what he believes, then he believes total falsehoods and has based his entire boycott strategy on a misconception. There comes a time when one has to explain one’s errors, not amplify them.

Let’s talk about the “European marketing budgets” the American mentioned. Europeans, by-and-large, are governed by a market view cultivated in Europe by American public-relations legend Edward Bernays. Bernays’ main claims to fame were teaching young women to smoke in the 1920s, overthrowing the government of Guatemala in the 1950s, and, moving to Germany in the ‘30s, teaching propaganda to Josef Goebbels in between.

Bernays, believed humans to be cattle in need of control, and fostered the concept of “enlightened despotism,” claiming the public could not be trusted to make sound judgments.

Goebbels and associates discovered their theories were only effective to a certain point, after which the publics revolted. People resent being treated like cows. However, the idea of Bernays-type marketing stayed on in Europe, to the detriment of the European markets. For example, last year I was offered the chance to buy two European magazines for next to nothing. The would-be seller was proud to point out that every story had an advertiser behind it. This is not our style; it is old-style.

While Europe recovered from the war, it had little incentive to invent or review. Rebuilding was the objective. Meanwhile, the West’s idea of public relations evolved along several lines. Some PR programs now consist of issuing news releases. Another school of PR says you meet the public with the truth and do what you can to direct reaction. Another school of PR says you should court the press so they have a positive attitude toward you in the event of a crisis. However, you cut it, though, the Bernaysian, control-oriented, behaviour-modification mode of PR is old, rusty, discredited and failed.

Let’s look at an alternative solution. To repair rusty and failed, we need to make some money. The purpose of a business is to make money. In order to make money, we need to sell something. You sell wood products; your suppliers sell supplies.

In order to sell wood products, you must have buyers. This is called a market. You need to identify the market and you need to stimulate the market. This is called marketing.

One way of looking at marketing is that it exists in three parts: public relations, advertising and direct sales. Many of you focus strongly on direct sales, since your market is local or regional. The larger the market, the more your needs will involve advertising and PR. Together, the largest corporations spend billions annually on PR, with the objective of staying on good terms with the media.

Under the Bernays school, if the media doesn’t cooperate, you destroy them.

Once you have identified your market, you need to research the market. How? By every bit of information you can get. Magazines can be helpful if they follow minimal standards. You might sponsor a local hockey team, join the Rotary Club or just read the local real estate news. Anything you can learn about the market behaviour can mean sales.

In the case of Wood Industry, we do a readers’ survey every November. The survey has always been for editorial advice. The survey is also for you. We publish the survey results so you can know more about the industry you are in.

There are ways to validate a survey. These include making sure there is a statistically valid sample, that the sample is random, that people are not pressured or paid to answer and that the raw data is either presented as-is or is subject to accepted methods of standardizing, such as concentrating on the means and reducing the effect of the extremes.

If you get an idea from your market research, how do you get the market to respond? In a word, value. You must have something the market wants (even if you have to convince it), and it has to pass a cost:benefit test in the market. At the root of this test is credibility. On some level, the market must accept what you say as being true.

Conversely, you have to accept what the market tells you is true. There was a time when Danish Modern just was not going to sell.

This is where media differ from other businesses. Too often, suppliers see themselves as the media’s customers because they write a cheque. However, they are not writing a cheque for a product or service. They are writing a cheque for access to the market. A ticket to the beach. The media is just the doorman, if you will. The gatekeeper. He gets paid, but the bulk of the money has to go to the market as information. Without the media, the supplier cannot get access to the market.

If suppliers pay the media but cannot get a market response, they leave. Therefore, while advertiser-focused magazines have been the rule in recent years, they are also the cause of the death of magazines across all industries in North America and Europe. People don’t like to be controlled, and won’t respond if they are not respected. They want the gatekeeper.

In this year’s survey, over 25 percent of you said you don’t even read the cartel-controlled magazine, and another 36 percent flip through in less than 15 minutes. That automatically means anybody advertising there is missing 61 percent of the market.

An amazing 91 percent of you in this tense advertising environment said you want your trade magazine to follow professional standards of journalism. As noted, 85 percent of those that read it said the Monograph: Our Own Worst Enemy in the September issue was fair and necessary reporting. Nobody was “forced” to respond to the survey, and nobody was paid. There were, however, a few that responded that were not manufacturers, but machinery suppliers or bureaucrats. We are pleased they thought it important to try to skew and bias the results. They know you take this seriously, and still want to deceive you, in spite of what’s been reported. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

The wood industry in North America is not, as the conventional wisdom claims, 10 years behind Europe. It is even with Europe, but Europe is 80 years behind current trends. Clearly, nobody travels to Europe to learn marketing. Glass-blowing and wine-making, yes. Marketing, no.

It appears obvious the CWMDA cartel is trying to put Wood Industry out of business. What that would mean for the industry in Canada is the flow of information would be regulated by the cartel. That would mean their marketing plan actually anticipates you are too stupid to be trusted with information.

These old-school, dried-up, failed marketing practices are not going to take the wood industry in Canada where it needs to go. The market is moving ahead, and the industry needs to keep up. It is time for recovery.

There are precious few real experts in marketing and PR working with our industry. To the extent we can help, we want to and we will. We will, of course, be grateful when this remarkably unbrilliant information-control campaign is over. It is a waste of time and resources that rightfully belong to the market, and it is damaging the legitimate suppliers as well as the manufacturers.

One of our survey respondents said it best: “This is my life – it is not a game to me.  I don’t like the thought that I can be misled through trusted published media and back-table dealings among [suppliers].”

If true, and it is, then the boycotters are not attacking Wood Industry. They are attacking their customers, and they can expect the customers to respond.

— If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. ― Edward Bernays

 

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