What do you say about a magazine that has survived two World Wars, a depression and several recessions? One word comes to mind: resilient. Contributing to this resilience has been the editorial staff’s ability to provide the information that readers need to run their businesses more profitably and sell more electrical supplies.
Paging through back issues of the magazines over the past few months in preparation for this issue reinforced our belief that the editorial equation hasn’t changed. Sure, more readers want this information in a digital format so they can access it 24/7 on their smartphones, tablets or other electronic devices, but the core editorial content we publish each month to fulfill that mission hasn’t changed much over the years.
I didn’t realize how little EW’s editorial mission had changed until I read what George Ganzenmuller wrote in his “Times & Trends” in EW’s 50th Anniversary issue published in March, 1970. George was the magazine’s chief editor for more than 30 years and he hired me in Nov. 1982. What he wrote 45 years ago about the magazine’s editorial mission still rings true today:
“Over the decades, we have constantly sought to fulfill these editorial objectives:
- To define, analyze, and offer solutions to the industry’s major problems.
- To inspire better performance through spotlighting the successful methods of individuals and firms.
- To advance the industry through ideas or approaches drawn from our foremost authorities on subjects of vital interest to our field.
- To present product information in an easy-to-understand manner.
- To pinpoint market opportunities.
- To assemble and interpret market statistics.
- To provide a strong medium of communication between distributors and manufacturers on matters of mutual interest.
- To search out the attitudes of distributors’ customers as they reflect on the performance of the industry.
- To build a better appreciation of the economic advantages of wholesale distribution.”
I also enjoyed what he wrote about the theme of EW’s 50th Anniversary Issue, because its intent is very similar to what we have attempted to provide in our 95th Anniversary salute beginning on page 20.
“When we started to plan our 50th Anniversary issue in the fall of 1968, we decided that our primary focus would be on the future, not the past. It might have pleased our editorial vanity to fill our pages with a nostalgic recounting of our role in guiding the industry to greatness. But readers could ask us, as readers should, “What have you done for us lately?”
“No publication or any organization for that matter, can expect to coast on past performance or old formulas. It’s what you do here and now, and even more important how you prepare for the future that count.”
I learned so much about this industry from George Ganzenmuller, and from his hand-picked successor as chief editor, Andrea Herbert. It’s been an honor for me to write for EW in this same ‘Times & Trends” column as my mentors, George and Andrea. Little did I know, I would still be learning from George to this day from what he wrote in “Times & Trends” 45 years ago.
The March, 1920 of “The Jobber’s Salesman,” Electrical Wholesaling’s predecessor, published some “Sales Don’ts” that still have legs 95 years later. Here are some of the best:
- Don’t argue -- illustrate.
- Don’t ever tell a prospect that he is mistaken.
- Don’t talk price; talk quality even though your price is low.
- Don’t run down the other fellow’s goods; talk the reason why of your goods.
- Don’t neglect the fact legs often make up for brains in getting orders -- although one isn’t much good without the other.
- Don’t smoke in the presence of a prospect unless he invites you to do so.
- Don’t neglect to read the trade journals in your line.