Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marketing 101

The first installment of this two-part humor essay from our friend Slim Randles appeared on my blog, It's Not All Gravy, last week. It's not necessary to read that one first to appreciate this installment, but it does add a bit more context to the story about building a business. We always appreciate it when Slim shares his cowboy humor with us.

Emily’s dilemma was obvious: how do you sell manure? Since she fell in love with Dewey Decker, she could think of nothing less than spending her life with him and embracing the fertilizer business whole hog, so to speak. Emily Stickles has never done anything halfway.

In her job with the county, she has kept a vigilant eye on almost every business around, encouraged where she could, and crushing hard if she needed to stomp on violators.

But Dewey’s business, scooping up cow manure and redistributing it to gardens all over the county, was a labor of love with her. This was her man’s business, and she would do what she could to help.

She had papers spread out all over the kitchen table and was jotting down ideas. The first and most obvious one was to take advantage of the local paper and send them a news release. Oh, they might want advertising money, too … they’re kinda funny that way … but a news release comes out looking almost like a news story. The trick is, it can’t look like a free ad for the business, which it is.

She looked down at story ideas:
  “Local Merchant Says No Shortage of Product in Sight.”
  “County Soils Need Biodegradable Amendments”
  “Avoiding Infertility: Spread the Word, and the Manure.” 

Well, that last one needs work. 

Tomorrow she’s going to corner Dewey and work up a business plan with him. Oh, she realizes all he wants to do is shovel … but he’ll need to graduate to supervisory work if his company is going to progress. 

Okay, how about “Valley Expert Says: Bovine Donations Enrich Local Gardens.” 

Maybe a cup of coffee will help her think.
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Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent release is Boxes For Beds, an historical mystery available as an e-book. Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series. The first book, Open Season, is available as an e-book for all devices. To check out her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. Sometimes she plays on stage, but she does avoid computer games as much as possible. If he didn't live so far away, she would like to hire Dewey to come and clean her pasture.


  1. I can plow all day, but don't ask me to leave the farm to talk about my crops. LOL.

  2. I do love creative marketing! This is a must for all writers to sell their wares; however, I'm not certain it works the same way for manure peddlers. On the other hand, Mary, Mary, quite contrary's "silver bells, cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row" doesn't seem a viable alternative. Back to recycling the bovine leavings...

  3. Thanks for the chuckle, Diana.

    I think you are right Linda. We do need to be clever about marketing, but maybe not to clever. I do love the way Slim uses humor to make that point.

  4. Love this! Great humor and yet gets the point across very well. It's hard for us creative (manure shovelers) to put on our city hats and go peddle said product!

  5. Emily should definitely go with: “Valley Expert Says: Bovine Donations Enrich Local Gardens.”

  6. This takes me back to my days on our farm and the ads we placed, "Free manure for your garden. You haul." I had to tell so many people how to find the place, but met a lot of interesting characters. Including a man in jeans and wellies named Dennis who hauled away many a load for his vegetable garden—and weeks later walked into the examining room in a lab coat the day my husband and I went to meet our new physician.
    True story!

  7. Very Fun! Thanks for the laugh :)

  8. Kathryn, I love your story. Two of our local physicians can often be seen at the garden center wearing bib overalls and boots. (Smile)


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