Yesterday, Retail Strategies saluted Neiman Marcus on its 100th birthday by quoting from a newspaper column written by its namesake former chairman. I seriously meant to end the NM birthday celebration then and there.
But, as I picked up the book THE VIEWPOINTS OF STANLEY MARCUS A Ten-Year Perspective to return it to the shelf, I flipped through it to read some more of Mr. Marcus’s wisdom. And, well, I have to share one more of his columns.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I had the great pleasure of interviewing Mr. Marcus once, and it was a highlight of my career. He was one of those people who uttered wisdom with every breath. Besides that, he could not have been more charming or more polite.
And so, in the column from which I quote today, Mr. Marcus wrote about advertising: “Several generations have been raised on advertising hyperbole that lures buyers by the use of such words as ‘the cheapest,’ ‘the best,’ ‘the finest.’ Often these ads are illustrated by men jumping into the air to demonstrate their exuberance caused by the superlative proclamations that have been used to describe the product.”
Then he went on to describe an ad in a book printer’s catalog — one that he thought was refreshing. It went like this:
“To make work better for its purpose than was commonly thought worthwhile, was D.B. Updike’s goal at the Merrymount Press, and it is ours as well. We give the same care and attention to any printing job, large or small, quaint or grand. Working with clients who appreciate fine materials, hand craftsmanship and attention to detail, we endeavor to produce printing that will satisfy the discriminating eye.
“Each kind of printing has its particular challenges: from letterheads to menus, to pamphlets, to posters, to programs, to books of 400 pages, we like what we do. We combine enthusiasm with our skills so that printing is our pleasure as well as our work. It’s your money and our time; we might as well enjoy spending them both!”
Mr. Marcus closed this column, with the following: “Customers are yearning for more and better service from intelligent salespeople who understand their jobs and their products. They are willing to pay a price for satisfaction, a quality that is so hard to come by in this era of mass production and mass distribution. They are frustrated by being treated as consumers when in actuality they are customers. Consumer is a name originated by a marketing genius to describe a statistical abstraction. Customer is a living human being.”
The book was published in 1995 by the University of North Texas Press, Denton, Texas.