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of Agricultural Advertising for a uniform rate card and order blank. The best of these will be published in the February and future issues.
These forms, to be in time for February issue, should be in the Editor's hands not later than January 24th.
The cordial co-operation of publishers, advertisers and advertising men is earnestly requested.
tions of a ten inch advertisement, every other week with alternate insertions of a four line catalogue notice. To get the three months rate, the order was made 140 lines five times, and four lines eight times. Before passing it, however, the estimate man figured 140 lines five times and four lines twentyone times, securing the six months rate and thereby effecting a saving in cash of about $12 and securing thirteen additional insertions of the four line advertisement.
That rate card needs revision.
Time Discounts. An advertising order which goes out in a few days, calls for five inser
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must realize that the only way to measure
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LUTHER TUCKER & SON,
PUBLISHERS, ALBANY, N. Y.
The Price Element in Mail Order Work
Continued from December Agricultural Advertising.
F. A. SOUTHWICK.
N catering to the element
that makes price a prime factor, the enthusiastic mail-order man runs great danger of stuff
ing up the descriptions. The lower the price the better the description usually is. With high-grade goods plain statements of fact will suffice, but when the cheapening process commences the customer must be fed on nicely turned phrases that may mean nothing to the seller but everything to the buyer. It is easy to write descriptions in such manner that the buyer may infer the best and most complete equipment. "Best quality"
and such claims are meaningless and misleading. For example, there is a top buggy advertised for $21, and of "A 1 grade." How much quality can one get for this sum when Brewster or Kimball charge $35 to $50 for a pair of shafts? Yet there must be some means employed to make the purchaser believe he is getting good work, and the description of that buggy is so good that it seems shame to take such a rank advantage of the seller.
Then there is the special price bait which always means a skimping of the work. One correspondent writes: "I always wait for special offers." He will learn that what he really waits for is a lowering of the quality. No one is going to hold his quality up and still sell at lower prices. Or, if he does, it is a candid admission that his price was too high at first and those who paid the full price have been swindled. Mail order buyers are learning this
have more confidence in and respect for one who maintains his price, because, if they can jew the price down they never know when the best offer is made. When one makes a deal of that sort one never feels certain that he has reached the lowest price and there will probably always lurk in his mind the feeling that had he hung out little longer he might have been offered still lower price. Even on the plea of a desire to introduce one's goods, price competition is bad because whatever price is made is likely to become fixed and hard or impossible to advance.
I might pause here to ask if it is the price which has made Pear's, Sapolio or Royal household words throughout the civilized world. Does price explain the fact that of the many food products recently on the market, Grapenuts and Postum are all that remain? We might with profit look a little nearer home and ask if it is price that impels us to purchase space in the Home Journal and Delineator at $6.00 and $5.00 per line when we can buy all the space we want at from $3.00 to $5.00 per page. It is evident that if ad. men were controlled by "the price every time," there would soon be very little advertising worthy the name.
But naming a low figure is not the only way of competing in the matter of price. I mentioned above the inducement of throwing in a lot of extras. Because a piano is sold with stool, scarf, and a cheap, goodfor-nothing instruction book,
and perhaps half a dozen pieces of cheap music (all of which the purchaser pays for) there is no reason why a
stove should be made to include coal scuttle, saucepans, teakettle, or ton of coal. But it is common practice of some mail order advertisers to offer such extras and make the buyer think he is being presented with them when in reality he is paying a pretty high price for them. He must not lose sight of that large class of mail order buyers who form a component part of that contingent ever looking for some gain without any outlay. To those of course such a proposition always appeals, and it seems to be hard to convince them of the folly of their faith. Such people, however, are not profitable or lasting customers, and can in most cases be dispensed with without loss to the business.
This practice also has a degenerating tendency toward downright dishonesty. It is only a step to the practice of leaving out these accessories when making shipment. If complaint is made the customer referred to the transportation company. Of course he receives no satisfaction from that source, and between the two he tires and drops the matter. That this is done I know by experience. I am glad to say, however, that I do not believe it is a general practice, or, in fact, even a frequent one, but it shows the danger that always lies just ahead when the seller promises a lot of extras in order to make a sale. Morally speaking, the line between truth and deception is exceedingly faint. Legally, it is discernible only to the expert. Mark Twain once said, “Truth is our most valuable possession. Let us use it sparingly." I hope the day is far distant when mail order advertisers follow Mark's advice, but in competition on basis of price alone there is great danger of some of them doing so.
Another phase of price competi
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tion is the freight paid proposition. This has proved a winning game in some instances and the attractiveness of the proposition cannot be denied. It is a notorious fact that some will pay a much higher price for an article delivered to their station without stopping to reason that the freight charge must of necessity be added to the price in the first instance. There is an element of unfairness here also, because some will inevitably pay more for the same thing than is right, while the seller will, of course, see to it that none pays too little. Bv.c without going into the ethics of the case, it is sufficient to say that as a matter of strict truth the seller only pays freight when the customer gives him the money to do so, and in every case the "consumer pays the tax." No matter what inducement is held out, no matter whether the freight be paid or a lot of extras thrown in, whether sold on installments or whether bait is given. The customer pays for it. And it will usually be found that the more liberal the proposition appears the more the customer pays before he is through. He who pays
the lowest price will undoubtedly always get less for his money than he who pays a fair figure.
In contra distinction to the practice of including extras to make the price look small, is the one of cutting out necessities. One advertiser will describe his goods complete with all necessary accessories or parts. Another, in order to make a lower price, will omit some desirable but inconspicuous feature and charge extra for them, so that when his goods figured up to where the first man sets his standard, his price will really be higher on the same equipment. We find this most common in the carriage and
business where there is ample room for sharp prac
McCormick Harvester Co. Studebaker Bros. Wagon Co. Ohio Carriage Mfg.Co. The Salzer Seed Co. Kalamazoo Carriage Co. Superior Drill Co. Oliver Chilled Plow Co. Temple Pump Co. Standard Oil Co. Electric Wheel Co. National Lead Co. Winchester Arms Co. Elgin National Watch Co. J. J. H. Gregory Seed Co. Deering Harvester Co. P P. Mast & Co. Foos Mfg. Co. The Burpee Seed Co. Elkhart Carriage Co. Hoosier Drill Co. M. Rumely & Co. Fairbanks, Morse & Co. Rock Island Plow Co. Empire Cream Sep. Co. German Kali Works, Bradley Fertilizer Co. Osgood Scales Co. Am. Wire Fence Co. John Deere Plow Co. DeLaval Cream Separator Co. Advance Fence Co. The D. M. Ferry Seed Co. Ohio Carriage Co. Kentucky Disk Drill Co. Flint, Walling & Co. Nichols Shepard Co. Jones of Binghamton. Sharples Cream Separator Co. U.S. Cream Separator Co. The Storrs Harrison Co. Aermotor Co. International Stock Food Co.
Some advertisers have been using THE FARMER over forty years.
It will pay you also. Sample copies, weekly circulation, rates, etc., upon application to
INDIANA FARMER, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA