Penta Digital, Inc. July 16, 2008

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News From
John McAuley
Idea of
the Week

Your Connections = Covered
A Message From John McAuley
The Way I See It

A Not So Trivial Pursuit

In 1979, two friends – Scott Abbott and Chris Haney – sat down to enjoy a game of Scrabble. As they unpacked the board, they discovered that some of the pieces were missing. Rather than look for another game to play, they decided they should try creating a board game of their own. Two years later, the duo introduced the first prototype of what would become Trivial Pursuit.

At the time they started working on Trivial Pursuit, neither Abbott nor Haney had any experience creating games. Abbott was a sports editor for the Canadian Press in Montreal, and Haney was a photo editor for the Montreal Gazette.

The game itself met initially with a tepid response. Abbott, Haney, and their business partners – Chris's brother, John Haney, and friend, Ed Werner – sank just about everything they had into its development. The quartet pushed hard to get it released and saw their dreams come true in 1983, when sales in both Canada and the United States topped the million mark. The following year proved even more successful, as Trivial Pursuit soon became a household name.

At the time, Trivial Pursuit was viewed as an overnight success. In truth that “night” had been long, hard, and fraught with anxiety. Here's the way I see it: Overnight successes seldom happen overnight. They typically take time and involve a fair amount of sacrifice, sweat, hard work, and tears.

At Penta Digital, we understand the work you've put into building your company or career, and we realize it certainly has been no trivial pursuit. So whether you're still struggling through the overnight – or enjoying the light of the dawning day – give us a call. We want to help you look good on paper.

John McAuley
Idea of the Week
Maximize Your Print Mailing with a Well-Written Cover Letter


Whether you’re sending direct mail or proposing a new business partnership, your presentation is always significant. Including a cover letter with your printed pieces is a compelling way to make connections, distinguish your team from the competition, or give a formal introduction for your skills and services.

Business cover letters can accompany other print marketing pieces in your mailing, acting as a greeting, a sales pitch, and a “next steps” proposition. Here are some tips to help you outline, style, and sharpen your next letter:

1. Opening

Promise a benefit in the headline or first paragraph and lead with your strongest sales point.

2. Supporting paragraphs

Expound on your most important advantage and tell readers what they will specifically receive as a benefit of your services.

3. Supplemental evidence

Back your statements with statistics, examples, endorsements, or testimonials.

4. Call to action

Tell the reader what is lost if he/she doesn’t act. Rephrase the benefits in a closing offer that incites action (i.e., deadlines, limited time offers, act-now incentives).

5. Closing

Rephrase the benefits and state your ideal outcome or objective. Reference any enclosed documents/resources and communicate a positive plan of action in a summary statement like this:

“Please review the enclosed proposal, try out the loan estimator on our website, or call me at ____ with questions. You’re welcome to contact me at your earliest convenience, or I’ll plan to follow up with you on Wednesday, May 1.”

Polish your presentation with these style guidelines:

  • Start with a short opening paragraph (four lines or less). Additional paragraphs should be shorter than eight sentences. Close your letter with a 2-3 sentence summary.

  • Avoid generic salutations like, “to whom it may concern.” Use the name or title of the decision maker you’re trying to reach and thank them for the opportunity to share.

  • Use deep indents and bullet points for clarity. Boldface key points or call-to-action statements to make your offer stand out on the page.

  • Use professional letterhead, weighted paper, or custom color envelopes for extra impact.

Add Dimension to Your Delivery


Well-written letters are an effective marketing supplement! Add a cover letter to your next print mailing to forge a personal connection and to produce a prompt, profitable response.

See more great ideas like this!
Click here to visit the Penta Digital, Inc. Ideas Collection.

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