Many years ago I worked for a grass seed business in Winston-Salem NC. The company was Loft Seed out of Bound Brook NJ and I ended up in North Carolina after the business was purchased by Budd Seed. Being the IT Manager back then, lots of stuff fell onto my desk, including creating and building their first website.
I hired a small local company to do all of the coding stuff and another company to help me pull together the content. We created a website that showed lots of really cool images of lush green lawns, golf courses, industrial and business property. It was a really cool looking site, for 1997.
Another feature we built into the site was a FAQ or Frequently Asked Question section. We had lots of good questions and obviously equally fabulous answers. Most of which led the reader to the resellers of Loft grass seed.
We promoted the site on all of our printed material and put the web address www.loftseed.com, on the bags of seed.
With every opportunity our sales people, customer service staff and managers told everyone they met to check out our site at www.loftseed.com
One morning a new opportunity to promote the site developed that I quickly jumped on. I was able to promote the site. Here is what happened.
Early in the morning, after arriving at work, I get caught up on my email and tasks list while listening to WSJS 600AM, the local morning Talk Radio show. As I found out later on this day, most of the local business men also listened to the same talk radio show.
There were two DJ’s on this show and on this particular morning one of them was complaining about weeds in his yard. So, they put out a call for anyone with a suggestion of how to get rid of the weeds to call into the station.
Wow, I thought. This would be a great way to promote the FAQ area of our site.
I dialed the number – 336-777-1600. Busy, I redialed, busy, I redialed – it was ringing.
I can’t recall the names of the two DJs, but immediately one of them asked me my name, “Teddy Burriss,” I replied.
“Who do you work for Teddy?” was the next question he asked. Wow, this was working great, I thought.
“I work for Loft Seed in Winston-Salem and we have the answers to your weed problems at www.loftseed.com. You and your listeners need to check it out.
I did not worry about the next statement because I was so excited that I got to say www.loftseed.com. I should have started to worry.
“This is great,” one of the DJs said, “We have a grass expert on the line.”
“No, I’m not a grass expert, I’m the IT guy and I know the answer to your problem is on our web site at www.loftseed.com.
Well, I thought I was doing good. I got the web address out twice already.
“We don’t have time to visit your web site Teddy, tell us what we need to do to get rid of the weeds.”
“I’m the IT guy, I am not the grass expert. You really need to check out www.loftseed.com. I am sure you’ll find the answer there.” I said one more time happy that I got the URL out three times.
“Come on Teddy, we need a solution right now. You work for a grass seed company, surely you know the answer. What do you suggest?” he cajoled me even more forcibly for an answer.
I caved. Big mistake.
Here is what I boldly told him, “OK, if you don’t have time to go to www.loftseed.com and you want the IT guy to tell you what to do, I’m going to tell you to spray RoundUp (R) over the entire yard and then reseed your lawn with Rebel II.”
Both DJs laughed and said good bye. Click – I was off the air.
Now, I laughed a little myself and then went back to my work, proud that I got the URL stated at least 4 times.
In less than 3 minutes one of the landscape guys who worked for the company came storming down the hall. He stood in my doorway, his face red and angry looking. Apparently he heard the show.
“Are you crazy? I don’t want you telling anyone else how to manage their lawns. You’re nuts and should never call in to a talk radio show ever again! And, stay away from my employees.” He stormed off in disgust.
Within a few more minutes my boss came to my office, “What the bleep was that all about?”
I got ready to answer him but he cut me off.
“Our biggest customer just called me and said he heard our IT guy on the radio telling everyone in Winston-Salem to spray RoundUp (R) on their lawns. He wants to know when I’m going to fire you for being so stupid.”
“I thought it was a pretty good idea,” I replied.
“NO IT WAS NOT!” He yelled back at me. “We’ll talk about this later.” he said as he stormed off.
The phone rang next. It was another manager for the company. He laid into me just like the others did. “What the blankity, blankity is wrong with you? You can’t tell people to spray RoundUp(R) on their lawns. That’s just stupid. I hope your boss fires you.” He hung up the phone without listening to my reasoning that my ideas got people talking.
The reprimanding and cajoling continued on for a few more hours. Eventually it all died off and I still had my job.
Periodically I get reminded of my Live radio lawn care suggestion episode. Usually we laugh and joke about it. I always try to remind myself and who ever I’m talking with that I got www.loftseed.com mentioned 4-5 times.
Regardless of the 4-5 mentions of www.loftseed.com on the radio, I now have a new rule for myself. I don’t call into radio shows and I don’t offer public suggestions about anything that I do not believe I am an expert at. Period.
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