Ink Different

Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Stan Mattox, president of Shamrock Pens, a mail-order business in Rancho Mirage, California, is concerned. His flagship product, a four-in-one premium pen, has pooped out in small-space ads, so he's wondering what he can do to boost response.

My first thought is to recast this product's persona. The current "Management Tool" label gets a generous 2-plus on the intrigue scale. In an era where disposable pens can be bought in bulk at the local office-supply emporium, the universe of the premium pen may be shrinking-but it certainly still exists. There are a few brands serving the tastes of those wanting to brandish writing instruments with executive-suite cachet. Plus, nice pens still have a niche in the gift market. The Shamrock Pen fits into both categories.

My idea for Mattox's ad is to offer a different take on its four-in-one uniqueness, as embodied in the new headline, "The Only Pen with a Ph.D." That designation should catch the eye of the target audience. The ad goes on to define the "educated" skills the pen can perform. For price-sensitive customers, it's noted that at $30, The Shamrock Pen is "a third the cost of other premium pens having only one function."

An example of product-personality recasting that may inspire your own efforts was applied to the individually controlled, over-the-headboard reading light. It was dubbed The Marriage Saver.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Starting, buying, or growing your small business shouldn’t be hard. Guidant Financial works to make financing easy for current and aspiring small business owners by providing custom funding solutions, financing education, and more.

Latest on Entrepreneur