Marketing season

By | September 30, 2019

Wow! WMS is looking us in the face. It seems like only yesterday that I thought the world would end before church was over. The seconds dragged by. Wouldn’t it be great to bring back some of that version of time management into our future? 

Unfortunately, that can’t happen, and time marches on…. 

Kerry Knudsen

We are distributing our 2019 Readers’ Survey questions this week, to be compiled and added to the November issue. Suppliers sometimes overlook the November issue for all the obvious reasons – Christmas doldrums, changing fiscal years and perceived lack of reader engagement. However, that last one, lack of reader engagement, is not accurate. The readers are fully engaged in our November issues, and are especially engaged in our surveys.  

We discussed the value of our surveys two months ago. In a nutshell, we respect the readers’ time and don’t bomb them with spam, and they know it. In addition, we use tightly controlled survey protocols to assure an accurate snapshot of what the readers think. As with our other editorial content, we are independent, professionally trained, credible and thorough.  

Most importantly for suppliers, the readers trust us and simply love to see what their peers think. As with any group picture, the people that are in it want to seek out their own faces and the faces of people they know. Everybody reads our surveys. 

Obvious spot for a plug. If you are not in our November issue, you should know why. It is one of the most-read, most-studied issues of the year. Also, we provide the opportunity to place your ad next to or inside the survey. Call Steve. He knows. 

Still talking about November (I’ll get to Trump in a minute), that is the issue where we polybag our Wood Industry Wall Calendar. Unlike the magazine proper, there are only a few slots open on the 2020 calendar, and when they are gone they are gone. In the magazine, we can cut a little and add a little. If we cut a month out of 2020, I guarantee it will get noticed. Ads for the calendar close right after WMS, but, as I said, they’re almost gone already. Last year’s advertisers have first refusal, and most have acted on it. 

OK. Trump.  

I expect everybody has a firm opinion already on Trump. I try to be objective, but it’s tough in the face of clearly deliberately false information, so I’m more focused on the press than I am on politics. 

For example, besides making-up phrases out of Trump’s phone call to Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, House Judiciary Chairman Adam Schiff also seems to have misconstrued the call, itself.  

Schiff hears the transcript to say that Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” potential malfeasance by former Vice President Joe Biden, and he interprets that to mean Trump wants Zelensky to mess up the 2020 election with “dirt on a political opponent.” 

When I read Trump’s call before Schiff got to it, I heard Trump ask Zelensky to “look into” potential malfeasance by former Vice President Joe Biden, as President of the U.S., having heard Biden’s public-domain tape bragging about corrupting the Ukraine government using his position as VP to do so in an effort to save his son, Hunter, from being interrogated for his role in a corruption probe being undertaken by the Ukraine government. 

Taking the personalities out of it, if ANY president got wind of ANY agent of the U.S. government endeavouring to meddle in a criminal investigation in another country, I would expect him to see to it that the affected government got all the support he could provide, including encouraging the recently elected president of that government to look into it, despite any corrupt action on the part of the preceding government. 

Further, I would expect the affected government to need that kind of encouragement from the president, himself, since one of the parties to the alleged corruption was the son of a former Vice President of the United States. One would not expect Zelensky to take a call from Barney Fife from Mayberry. 

I am a word guy. That’s what I do for a living. Therefore, accuracy, credibility and truth are the coin of the realm, and they must be upheld even in the face of overwhelming power in opposition. Take my word for it, it is common for liars to threaten and bullies to lie. 

But my friends in the media are word guys, as well, so I expect that, at minimum, both interpretations would get similar exposure.  

As a word guy, I can tell you that ambiguity and synonymy are functions of language. There are often multiple ways to interpret a word, phrase or utterance, including a “parody.” Because of that, journalists are honour-bound to review quotes from sources and be certain they understand what was intended. 

You already know that. Ambiguity and synonymy are common faults in sales and employment contracts. You learned long ago that you and the other party both needed to interpret every clause the same way. That’s why it’s called an “agreement.” In fact, the only reason a party to a contract would not clear up an ambiguous statement would be because they want to use it in bad faith. They want to deliberately misconstrue a word, phrase or utterance, then present it in court as the intended meaning, or threaten to. We can call this person a snake. 

Snakes are what they are. They cannot be otherwise. This is why snakes in business find themselves further and further relegated to cold, dark, lonely places as people with whom they have had dealings get sick of them. 

In the alternative, they seem to end up in the media, either as anchors, commentators or as suspects. 

Anyway, today’s politics are way over my head. It appears as though there is no chance the Senate will convict, even if the House impeaches, so the motive in taking this course is ambiguous. It seems as though lighting fuses is the only way to compete against Trump for oxygen in the media sphere. The problem with that is that the sphere is, by definition, a confined space. Normally, we all share or we all suffocate. 

Time will tell. Call Steve. 

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