Category Archives: Success

The Pet Rock was more than a gag or fad it was a brilliant marketing strategy

The Pet Rock was more than a gag or fad it was a brilliant marketing strategy

By Andrew Spriegel
January 16, 2011

Nothing is as easy or as simple as it seems.  How times have you heard someone say “A guy made millions selling pet rocks.”

Marketing, Marketing and More Marketing

In inventing, retail and service businesses, success or failure often depends on marketing.

Gary Dahl, a Los Gatos, California advertising professional was in a bar in 1975 with his friends who were complaining about their pets.   Dahl, as a joke told his friends that he considered dogs, cats, birds, and fish messy, not well-behaved and they cost too much money,  he had a pet rock.  His “pet” was clean, well-mannered, easy to care for, required no expensive foods required no feeding, bathing, walking, grooming, was well-behaved, had an even temperament, would not grow elderly or pass away or become sick.  They were the perfect pets, and Gary joked about it with his friends.  However, he soon took the idea seriously, and went home and started to write an instruction manual for a pet rock.  The manual was full of jokes and gags that referred to the inanimate rock as a pet.

Dahl quit his job to launch Rock Bottom Productions, the company that sold the pet rocks for $3.95 per “pet”.   Marketing, packaging and shipping the pet rock like live pets, in cardboard, pet carrier boxes, with straw for the rock to rest on and breathing holes.  Large volume sales only lasted about six months, however sales made Dahl a millionaire.

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio – Daniel Moneypenny

Innovators and Genius in Ohio – Daniel Moneypenny
Daniel Moneypenny
by Andrew R. Spriegel
January 14, 2011

Daniel Moneypenny has transformed the English language into a revenue proposition, and he has done so on behalf of some of the world’s most powerful corporations. Daniel is a master of positioning statements, tagline, corporate & product naming, ad campaign development, along with his full spectrum ideation services for Fortune 50 & 100 clients.

Daniel is President and Chief Creative Officer of his branding/ideation firm, Emaginit that he founded over 25 years ago. Countless clients worldwide rely on emaginit for Moneypenny’s unique branding, potent phraseologies, and marketing stratagems. On any given day, he can create 100-200 branding entities for a specific client. These C-Suite clients have provided hundreds of written testaments to the effectiveness of his unconventional approach – from Dow AgroSciences and Pepsi to Time Warner.

Daniel has traveled far and wide developing branding & ideation elements. Exxon says he’s “extraordinarily gifted in turning a phrase into a great advantage.” Citicorp calls him a “man of ambition and integrity.” Procter & Gamble calls him the “Swiss Army Knife” of creative consultants.” Daniel cuts through immense information clutter to reach targeted audiences with a keen ability to connect viable words/phrases to products and new companies. In an over-communicated marketplace, his has an extraordinary skill, one that virtually ensures market share. He led Diebold’s ATM hardware and software branding launches across 26 countries. In addition to spearheading Amway’s branding efforts by developing 47 consecutive successful branding assignments throughout Europe, Japan and domestically. Emaginit continues to build its vast database, that currently holds in excess of 1,000,000 branding entities. He believes that intellectual property will become the new currency. So much so, emaginit is launching its own IP division to insure conception to consumption continuity.

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Pricing a Business for Sale Opportunity

by Kipp Krukowski
January 03, 2011

Pricing a small business for sale opportunity is something that needs to be carefully considered.  Some business owners believe that the best method to maximize their price is to start high and then lower the price if it doesn’t get enough activity.  In theory, this sounds like a good idea…because why would you want to sell a business for less money than what someone is willing to pay?  However, this is not a good strategy at all when it comes to selling a business.

I like to equate pricing a business for sale opportunity to the “dating scene”.  When you are single and looking to find a connection with someone, you may only have one opportunity to impress the “right one”.  If you mess up the opportunity to connect with the individual when you have the opportunity, they may never cross your path again and might even connect with someone else.

Picture a situation where a seller offers the business at an inflated price.  When buyers are looking on the internet for business for sale opportunities and see that the price is not realistic, they will likely not inquire on the business.  Others may inquire but then as they start to review the information, they will realize that the seller is not realistic in their expectations and move on.  Some buyers may even go as far as putting in an offer on the business with the hopes that the seller will become more realistic during negotiations, only to become frustrated with the results.  In all three of these cases, the “right one” may slip through and not purchase the business.

Fast forwarding the example, after months or even years without getting a buyer to the closing table, the seller decides to reduce the price to a more realistic price.  At that time, the seller may have exhausted a number of the best prospects. Some are not interested in returning to look at the opportunity because they wasted time, and possibly money, on pursuing it in the past. Others may have found another business opportunity that suited them better since they were able to work out a deal with a realistic, motivated seller.

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The Cleveland Memory Project

Cleveland State University Libraries present:
The Cleveland Memory Project, engaging our students & community to improve the civic life of Northeast Ohio
This website is the practicum project of Kent State University School of Library and Information Science student, Kevin A. Caslow.

Akron: The Cleveland Perspective

Akron, Ohio, currently the 5th largest city in Ohio, is located 39 miles south of Ohio’s 2nd largest city to date, Cleveland. Its thriving rubber and tire industry has earned Akron the nickname of “The Rubber Capital of the World.” Akron is also the host for the All-American Soap Box Derby held annually every July at Derby Downs. Starting in the early 1920s, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron was a major manufacturer of zeppelins and later, blimps. Today, Suffield Township near Akron, is home to one of the Goodyear blimps, the Spirit of Goodyear.

The earliest connection between the Akron and Cleveland was the Ohio and Erie Canal, which officially opened on July 4, 1827. Akron’s various industries and Cleveland’s shipping industry along Lake Erie benefited mutually from this early commercial connection.

Traffic on Main Street in downtown
Akron, Ohio in 1941. View image.

In 1895, the 39 mile distance between Cleveland and Akron was further bridged when the Akron, Bedford, and Cleveland Railroad began service between the two cities. Among the first electric commuter railroads in the nation and, at the time, the longest railroad of its kind in the world, the “AB&C” could take commuters from Akron to Cleveland’s Public Square in just 2 1/2 hours for only 50¢.

Goodyear blimp flies past a ship at the 1937 Great
Lakes Exposition in Cleveland. View image.

Today, the highway system, urban sprawl and business opportunities have brought the two cities even closer together. Now, along with other northeast Ohio cities, they are often considered collectively as “Greater Cleveland” or more recently “Cleveland Plus.” Clevelanders and Akronites regularly travel the 39 miles between them to share each other’s offerings in the arts and culture, business and manufacturing, professional and recreational sports, health care, education, technology and the outdoors.

The photos featured here illustrate the intertwining history of Akron and Cleveland from a Cleveland perspective via images gathered from the Cleveland Press and the Bruce Young Collections at Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library.

For more photos of Akron and many of the other topics mentioned here, go to Summit Memory.

Credits and Appreciation

This website is the practicum project of Kent State University School of Library and Information Science student, Kevin A. Caslow. He would like to give special thanks to Joanne O’Dell and Judy James of the Summit Memory Project.

 

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio

Innovators and Genius in Ohio
Tom Moran
By Andrew R. Spriegel
December 30, 2010

There are many stories about the lack of innovation and the down economy in the Ohio and Cleveland Area.  Enter Tom Moran of Midwest Plastic Fabricators (MPF) in Aurora, Ohio.  Innovator and Inventor of numerous patented manufacturing processes and products, Tom is a 45 year veteran and leader in the industry.

One of the innovative products is a line of NEMA PVC Junction Boxes.  A combination of innovative materials and patented cutting edge technology combines for easy installation and reduced life cycle cost.

PVC offers less resistance than conventional metal in cutting holes for conduit entrance.  In addition, non-conductive PVC eliminates potential shock hazard.  In addition, its non-corrosive properties offer longer life and environmental integrity.

Photo Above: Light weight PC Enclosures offer Heavy Duty Performance for food process applications

Photo Above: Innovative Non Metallic PVC Enclosures feature Three-Point Latching

Photo Above: Patented PVC Elbow Crate Saves warehouse Space and is a dispenser pack.

Consider the Fulton Road Bridge,

a Cleveland engineering landmarks is a $44 million architectural attraction that spans the Cleveland Metropark Zoo


and Big Creek Valley.

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Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

By Tara1 | Published: December 1, 2010

portion padl pizza cutter

My thanks to Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel for agreeing to an interview with me about his business partner Greg Getzinger’s invention the Portion PadL and how together they brought the product to market. The Portion PadL was invented to enable pizza businesses to quickly and easily slice pizzas into equal pieces. The Portion PadL is available for both commercial and home use.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you are based and your career background?

Andrew Spriegen Inventor and Patent Attorney

Andrew: I worked most of my career as a Manager or a Lead Senior Electro-Mechanical Engineer for Fortune 100 companies, GE, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Invacare and others.  My experience involves a wide range of products, satellites, locomotives, off-highway vehicles, medical durable goods, surgical devices and consumer goods.  I have many US and international patents and had made a lot of money for other companies.  At 48 years old I decided to go to law school to become a patent attorney and commercialize my own products and other’s products.  I now own a patent law firm (www.Smart2Patent.com) and own several businesses commercializing products.

Tara: Is the Portion PadL the first invention you have bought to market?

Andrew: No, I had brought numerous products to market prior to the Portion PadL.

Tara: I understand that the original idea for the Portion PadL was invented by Greg Getzinger with whom you are now in business. Please could you tell me a little bit about Greg, how he came up with his invention and how the two of you connected and set up your business?

Greg Getzinger

Andrew: Prior to owning a pizza business (Pizza BOGO, www.pizzabogo.com) ), Greg was a Vice President for a large Insurance Company.  He developed the equal slice pizza cutting board (Portion PadL, www.PortionPadL.com) for his business to develop school and institutional accounts.  He heard complaints about unequal size slices of pizzas and worked on developing a solution for the problem.  Greg and I met at a networking event that his group was having at the building where my law firm is located.  It was a chili cook-off and Greg brought in a “chili pizza” on one of his prototype boards.  I saw the board and I asked him if it was patented and said that if it wasn’t it would be a great product to patent and commercialize.  We formed NuVo Grand, LLC as equal members.

Tara: Did you start with working drawings of the product or did you make a prototype?

Andrew: Greg built numerous prototypes (20+) of the equal slice pizza cutting board.  He was trying to perfect the cutting board for his business.  He did not have drawings, rather his father-in-law was making various designs based on Greg’s dimensions.  Greg tried numerous materials, sizes, grooves…

Tara: How did you go about protecting the invention?

Andrew: I have written two utility patents on the cutting board and I am working on a third utility patent.  We are building up a lot of intellectual property around the product.

Click here to see Video

Tara; Were there any mistakes, issues or problems you both experienced in the process of commercialization of the idea?

Andrew: Actually it has gone very smoothly.  Greg and I seem to compliment each other’s skill sets.  Greg is great at sales and marketing and I knew how to have the product manufactured, the manufacturers, the processes and protecting intellectual property.  I spent my career commercializing complex products very quickly and therefore I help inventors avoid the mistakes made by the typical inventors. Greg did encounter a big snow storm delivering materials to the manufacturer…a two hour trip turning into a twelve hour ordeal.

Tara: Did you consider licensing the invention or did you always plan to manufacture it yourself?

Andrew: The only products that I pursue are patentable, simple, revolutionary and either we can manufacture or have someone manufacture, preferably one at a time.  I prefer to take an order and then manufacture the product, that way you get to positive cash flow quickly.  Inventors often run out of money because they buy large quantities of product to get a good price on the product and they wind up with a garage full of product they can’t sell.

In my experience, licensing a product is a difficult thing to do.  Either you don’t get a deal, someone attempts to steal or design around the product or you get offered pennies on the dollar.

If you can manufacture and sell the product you start to “take away market share” and companies sit up and notice.  At that point if you sell or license the product you get a much better deal.

Tara: How will you go about marketing and publicizing your product? Do you intend to sell the product direct to businesses and public yourself or are you planning to wholesale it?

Andrew: Greg started marketing the product to large companies right away.  He has a real talent for sales.  Greg knows that it takes a lot of “no responses” to get a single yes.  Now our customers are Domino’s, Schwan’s, Speedway, Piccadilly Circus Pizza…and many Mom and Pop pizza shops.

I built the website www.PortionPadL.com and work with bloggers and social networking to build the brand.  If you Google “Portion PadL” we are the main listing for about the first six pages.

Tara: How long has it taken from Greg’s initial idea to where you both are now with the business?

Andrew: We have been working together less than a year.

Tara: What advice would you give to an aspiring inventor who thinks they have a good idea?

Andrew: We all love our own ideas, you have to determine if there is a market for the product.

Here are some of my key decision factors:

  • 1. Is the product Protectable? (Patent, Trademark, Copyright…)
    • a. If you have a great product and it is not protected people will copy it fairly quickly.
    • b. If you can’t protect the product I wouldn’t bother commercializing it
      • i. However, there are products that sell very well such as the Snuggies, the Amish Fireplace…but those products have been successful because of large ad campaigns
    • c.    The Portion PadL is protected by numerous Utility Patents Pending so it’s met that key decision factor
  • 2.    Is the product Revolutionary?
    • a. If it meets “a need” it is likely a commodity
      • i. People can listen to music on a large number of MP3 players
    • b.    If it meets “a want” it is likely Revolutionary
      • i. The iPod is the product that people want to listen to music on and therefore they have the largest market share.
    • c. The Portion PadL has numerous advantages over the existing products that assist people in cutting and therefore it is a “want” product.
  • 3. Can be manufactured “one at a time” until you have volume orders?
    • a. In the initial stages of commercializing the product we bought a full sheet of Richlite and when a customer ordered one we had the manufacturer make one and ship it.  That way we got to positive cash flow quickly.

Tara: What advice would you give to an inventor who has already developed and manufactured their product and are now looking at ways to publicize and market it?

Andrew: If they don’t have the expertise get help.  Many inventors have a great idea or product but they get in their own way because they have no idea how to sell it.  The product fails not because of the product but because the inventor cannot let go of controlling everything.

Tara: You have started creating a series of books for inventors chronicling the journey of inventors from invention idea to commercialization, perhaps you could tell me a little more about what you hope to achieve with the books?

Andrew: The series is called the Spilled Coffee Chronicles of Invention. I have several writers documenting inventors progress in commercializing products.  I have a high success rate in commercializing products and the books will help inventors avoid the many inventors pitfalls.  The books describe the successes and the failures along the way.  The volumes are just starting to be published but the first volume for the Portion PadL is on Kindle and Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/2wspqrh and http://tinyurl.com/36ypa6a, respectively.  The books are also written to dispel many of the myths around inventing.  It is not a get rich quick thing, it takes hard work and persistence.  The books generate income for the inventors, the writers, myself and for reinvesting in publishing the series.

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Turning Your Ideas and Products into Cash

Turning Your Ideas and Products into Cash

a
Sometimes you just have to get out and sell it!
a
When Dave Hoffman came to me for a consultation he needed advice on his invention.  Dave had designed and built a wireless dial measurement indicator.  Like most engineers (including myself) he was critical of his prototype, he wanted it to have better accuracy.  I suggested that he add an attractive label to the digital display and that he have JD Sanders market the product.  That’s when I found out he had ten working prototypes and I suggested he sell them all.
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JD Sanders has great marketing skills and in addition he worked at Cromwell Tools  for two decades and had a ton of contacts in that arena.  Dave had his invention written up in Machine Design and it was off to the races.
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Parker Hannifin, Babcock & Wilcox, JJB Engineering, Ansco CNC Specialists, Cornwell Tools and Standard Engineering Group, all of the Akron, Ohio, area, SchoellerBleckmann Energy Services, Grayledge Pump & Industrial LLC, Logan Machine Company and GM Lordstown, Ohio, are currently using the wireless test indicator.

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