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Grant Johnson is the founder and president of Johnson Direct.

Grant Johnson's business fable book is no fairytale

Milwaukee's Grant Johnson, founder and president of the Brookfield-based Johnson Direct marketing and branding firm, is known nationally as a guru of marketing.

He speaks and writes across the country on the principals of direct marketing, what he calls "marketing you can measure," blogs for the Big Fat Marketing Blog and is on the editorial advisory board for Inside Direct Mail magazine.

He was 2000's Wisconsin Direct Marketer of the Year and still, he doesn't like to refer to himself as an expert. Why not?

"Because an ex is a has-been and a pert is a squirt under pressure," he quips.

But for all intents and purposes, he is as close an expert as you're going find on the subject and his new book, "Fairytale Marketing -- 7 Magical Discoveries," demonstrates his insider skill.

Hitting shelves in December 2008, Johnson's 83-page book is a clever, unique standout among decades' worth of others -- mostly long, dry textbooks -- on the topic. A fan of story telling, Johnson dared to write a fable -- a business fable crafted in period lingo with potions, princes and beginning with "Once upon a time" -- in order to creatively share his insights on marketing and advertising campaigns.

But his strategy is no fairytale, he says.

"I wanted to make it quick and simple to get people excited about direct marketing and start applying some of the principals in the book because it's pretty powerful stuff," he says.

The power of his approach is the ability to track and measure your efforts and to learn from them -- what works and what doesn't. He advocates targeting the right demographic and testing before blowing your budget, where as traditional advertising relies on selling that "feel-good factor" to the masses and hoping for the best.

His book's suggestions -- the seven "magical discoveries" -- make a lot of common sense, such as establish credibility, find a point of differentiation, own it.

And a look at his recently expanded company, Johnson Direct, proves his plan works. His team has partnered with Microsoft Business Solutions, AAA Life, Humana, several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, ServiceMaster, Northwestern Mutual and others to produce effective marketing plans.

"My business is growing in a recession," says Johnson. "The book is a fairytale, but the principals are a reality."

"Fairytale Marketing" retails for $14.95 and is available through his Web site.


Talkbacks

M.Noe | Jan. 12, 2009 at 12:17 p.m. (report)

Grant Johnson knows his business. I worked with him many years ago and was impressed with his charisma and dynamic personality. I'm glad to see he's sharing his trade secrets with us. Congratulations and thanks, Grant!

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LRicci | Jan. 12, 2009 at 11:54 a.m. (report)

Grant's expertise is unqualified. Heck! This guy's team can sell ice cream to Eskimos! But the principles he uses, outlined in his book, are classic. Measure, Measure, Measure. Most folks think creative wins the race, and also think 50% of all marketing is wasted. Those folks don't know which 50% is wasted, but Grant knows!

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