Although he initially began in a different capacity, working in operations and accounting, Pritchett soon took over as director of marketing. Pritchett explained that his initial interest in marketing “...was nothing more than the interest in communicating with as many people as possible and getting them to do what I wanted them to do. There’s a pleasure in seeing the fruit of your work come back to you in sales.”
Logos Research Systems sells bible software, though Pritchett is quick to point out that they are a technology company, as two of the company’s founders are former Microsoft employees. Accordingly, technology is a pervasive theme in everything that they do, including marketing.
According to Pritchett, technology, and the Internet in particular, has revolutionized the field. “It’s just a fascinating place for marketers to be reinvigorated, to develop new ideas and ways of working. I think marketers really have to pay attention to what the consumer wants because the Internet has given people the flexibility to really pick and choose their media.”
Consequently, Pritchett noted, “Getting people to pay attention to your particular message is a challenge these days.” This means that in order to be noticed, marketers must constantly think of innovative ways in which to connect with consumers. One recent demonstration of how this can be achieved is a campaign that Pritchett developed for the 2006 Christmas season.
Logos compiled a collection of 300 titles and put them on three CDs for a limited-time Christmas special. However, instead of including the information about the special in the HTML company newswire as the company typically does with other specials, Pritchett himself sent a plain-text message announcing the offer.
| Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. Ping-pong; I love ping-pong. I do ATVs, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, but I don't do that enough. I like that kind of stuff; I like the extreme-sport-type stuff.
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. Well, aside from the language, I'd say Glengarry Glen Ross because it was such an interesting snapshot of a sales and marketing experience.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. I'm gonna go with the Philadelphia Flyers' hockey games.
Q. What was the last CD that you listened to?
A. Kutless's Hearts of the Innocent.
Q. If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you spend it doing?
A. Becoming a better human being.
In the message, he explained that this was absolutely an once-in-a-lifetime offer and that after December 31, all excess merchandise would be destroyed. In the message, he simply stated that he did not want any customer to miss the amazing opportunity simply because the HTML newswire would not be ready in time to notify them.
Without including the titles or the price in the email, the company was able to generate more than $1 million in sales, in less than one month, solely as a result of that promotion. “That lit fires that you would never believe. That preplanned obsolescence that guaranteed scarcity made people jump through hoops. We did about half of our business off of the plain-text email without even saying what the product was,” Pritchett explained. In fact, the campaign was such a success that the company earned a MarketingSherpa 2007 Email Marketing Award for Best Promotional Blast.
As a result of technology, Pritchett was able not only to develop an inventive promotion but also, quickly and easily, to determine its level of success. This is an example of what Pritchett views as marketers’ increased levels of accountability. Because what does and does not work can be determined almost instantly and because measuring ROI is also much simpler than it has ever been, marketers must now prove to management that they are allocating funds appropriately. More importantly, they must demonstrate that the dollars that are going out are coming back in the form of sales.
Pritchett believes in the importance of technology and the Internet to such an extent that he even looks for individuals with similar enthusiasm about these areas when hiring employees. “I think one of the best things that marketers can do, not only to get noticed by prospective employers but also to hone their own skills, is to create their own businesses selling something. It is one of the things that I look for when I’m trying to hire people in marketing. I want to see that they are entrepreneurial enough, or interested enough in the web, or interested enough in marketing to try to add another stream of income to their own lives and also to have an outlet for their creativity in marketing.”
This not only shows one’s familiarity with and dedication to the field but also demonstrates ability and willingness to evolve as a marketer. Running a web-based company, for example, allows one to try things that may not be in line with his or her present company’s image and that would not be possible to try otherwise.
Pritchett has done this himself and believes that any other serious marketer should do the same; especially because it sets potential candidates apart from one another when applying for new positions. “Start your own entrepreneurial business on the web. You need web skills in today’s job market. You’ve got to have the web skills, and the best way to learn those web skills is to have your own business to figure it out.”
And, he quipped, “Who knows? If it takes off and you get really good at it, you might withdraw your name from the job opening and start hiring your own people.”