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Ojal que te disfrutes el artculo

I hope the headline caught you by surprise, that is, if you don't speak or read Spanish. I also hope my lead got your attention without losing you — always a risky endeavor.

As we begin 2009 with our February issue, two ideas germinated from different sources and merged wonderfully for a column on SURPRISE.

Allow me a little background. As the editor of this publication and another Penton magazine that deals with marketing, I receive free copies of business books. Tons of them. If I get one more book on branding (the most overwritten topic I can think of), I'm going to beat my head against the wall.

Despite writing about business for a good part of my career (I was the business editor on a daily newspaper), I find most business books boring, often too self-promotional and usually lacking good, objective reporting.

Then I got a copy of Pow! Right Between the Eyes! The Book about Surprise Marketing by Andy Nulman.

The book is too wordy, could use a dose of organization, is a little too hip (or cool or whatever) with the language and lacks a checklist which might be excusable given the topic.

BUT. I'm writing about the book, and Andy Nulman got exactly what he wanted: a mention from the editor. More importantly, his book got me to think about my own lack of surprise in what I do both professionally and personally. I would call influencing an editor in two ways really hitting a home run.

To sum up his book in one sentence: It's about why and how you should add the element of surprise in your marketing.

It really comes down to this: If you have ANY adventure left in you as a businessperson, try a little surprise. It doesn't even have to be a breathtaking, expensive or epic effort.

Nulman points to a hotel chain that changes the floor mats in the elevator every day. On the floor mat is the name of the day. So when 10 people crowd the elevator and keep their eyes fixed downward, they leave knowing for sure it's Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday… Now tell me that doesn't start a conversation if you stay in the hotel for more than one night.

Then there's Sami Bay, a 31-year-old who founded www.somethingstore.com. It seems that you send them $10, and they send you something for your dough (the 10 bucks includes postage and handling). “Something” has included a $25 BestBuy® gift card, a magnetic dartboard and a Bluetooth headset, according to Nulman.

Surprise. Anyone can do it.

And now that I'm thinking about surprises more than ever, this issue has a special one. The front cover and the lead paragraph should be enough of a hint.

For the first time in the history of this magazine, we have a Mexican wholesaler on the front cover and as the subject of Michael Maynard's profile. HARDI's Kim O'Neal suggested the idea, and my publisher, John Ehlen, and I met with Tadeo Peralta, the vice president of T&P, at the Phoenix conference, and we were delighted with him and his business. We knew he had a good business tale to tell.

I rather like the moniker that I've given Tadeo: the Father of HVACR Wholesaling in Mexico. With stories filling the media that seem so grim and negative, it was more than a pleasant surprise to read how a neighbor south of the Rio Grande not only understands two-step distribution but actually promotes it.

In a recent column, former HARDI president Randy Boyd wrote about putting the “I” (international) in HARDI, referring to his travels abroad to see how others participate in the wholesale business.

Highlighting a successful Mexican distributor for the first time ever in HARDI's official magazine allows us to place an exclamation point on the idea of HARDI and its international dimensions.

HVACR Distribution Business welcomes letters to the editor. Please send correspondence to: Tom Peric', Editor 2040 Fairfax Avenue Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
856/874-0049 or e-mail
[email protected].

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