Penta Digital, Inc. July 16, 2008


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News From
John McAuley
Idea of
the Week





More Memorable Messages
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
Spicing Up Your Voicemail Greeting

"Thank you for calling. Today is Monday, March 17th. I'll be in meetings all morning and... blah, blah, blah..." Voice mail is one of those "conveniences" most people love to hate. They hate recording an outbound greeting, and they hate leaving inbound messages. But using voice mail doesn't have to be as painful as a root canal without the anesthetic. Here are four ways to make your voice mail fun, memorable, and a better marketing tool...

Educate your customers. No, that doesn't mean telling them you're either on the phone or away from your desk. And it doesn't mean letting them know what day of the week it is. Instead, try sharing a useful tip relating to your products or services. Let customers know how you can help improve their bottom line. Update the message frequently, with new and different advice.
Inspire them. Start your message with a daily quote or quick anecdote that's enlightening and inspiring. Your customers will appreciate the daily lift and might even encourage their colleagues (your potential customers) to call and hear the message, too.
Involve them. Ask one or two of your best customers if they would be willing to record a brief testimonial to use on your voice mail message. The customers who provide the testimonials will enjoy the experience and probably encourage their peers to call and hear it. Your other customers and prospects will hear the testimonials and know they're in good hands trusting you.
Entertain them. Add a spark of humor to your voice mail message. Offer a "celebrity" endorsement, if you're good with impersonations... or even if you're not so good with them. (Robert DeNiro from Taxi Driver: "You talkin' to me? You must be talkin' to me, because Phil isn't here right now.") Poke some gentle fun at yourself. (In a harried voice: "The ringing. I hear the ringing... then the voices. Always the voices." Second voice: "Hi, this is Gene's psychiatrist. He can't take your call right now...") Share a humorous anecdote or (clean) joke of the day. Have fun with your voice mail message, and make it a treat for customers who call and cannot reach you.



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