Twistable, Stickable, Buildable, Playable WHAT?
by Ray Jutkins
In the very early '90s I met Kem Clark. She was an
active participant in a direct mail seminar I ran in Phoenix, Arizona. Since
that time we've stayed in touch. Visited. Did a wee bit of consulting for
one of the charities where she is active. Even attended a grand holiday
party in her home.
She was also the subject of a presentation at an Arizona
Direct Marketing Association event. At an earlier time I wrote about her and
her company. More recently she was a guest on my INB Internet Radio
Network program Marketing with Ray.
start by introducing her product; Wikki Stix. Because it is
the "stuff" that gave the title Twistable, Stickable, Buildable, Playable
Okay, what IS Wikki Stix? Think post-it-note.
The 3M product known 'round the world. A piece of paper with glue that
allows you to re-use it over and over. To pick up the paper and "stick" it
down in another place. Again and again.
That's what Wikki Stix is ... except it's not
paper. It's a piece of yarn. A piece of string. A brightly colored piece of
string. With a "sticky" substance within the fabric. That allows it to be
placed on just about any smooth surface, removed, and put someplace else.
Now, why in the world would you want to do this? And who
cares? To begin, children care ... and those working with children care.
Wikki Stix is really a "toy". Something to play with. To make
things. To build "stuff". To do designs.
And it is a teaching tool. Teaching kids letters and
numbers. Yes, teachers use Wikki Stix to teach the
letters of the alphabet. And how to spell. Math, too ... how to add,
subtract, multiple, divide.
Wikki Stix, because it is flexible, also
teaches hand movement. It is an alternative to crayons. Hey, crayons are not
going away. Yet, for the smallest, youngest amongst us, crayons can be a
hazzard. Not all kids color within the lines. Which means table tops, chair
backs, walls and other places frequently have crayon marks ... compliments
of little people.
And Wikki Stix is safe, too. Food
coloring safe. Meaning, since kids seem to put just about everything in
their mouths, if they get hungry and want to try a Wikki Stix
sandwich, they won't fall over and die. Little kids' teachers are big
believers in the product.
There are others, too. The airlines and family restaurants.
Several airlines use Wikki Stix as their hand-out toy. It is
light weight, easy to carry, and easy to offer as a play thing to the family
with children. Kids can easily become bored on even a short flight.
with restaurants catering to families. Kids can make a mess. And may with
their food. They will not with Wikki Stix. It's not messy.
package of Wikki Stix comes with a small paper offering
suggestions on what to make, what to build. Simple line drawing ideas.
Frequently, when I'm presenting a creative seminar, I give each participant
a package of Wikki Stix, and ask them to get with a neighbor.
They then have 3 minutes to "make something". It's fun, and it gets people
working together. Plus, an added bonus ... it leaves nothing behind for the
next guy to clean up.
use is for occupational therapy. No matter your age, when you need to use
your fingers and hands and are having trouble, a package of Wikki Stix
may come to the rescue. The problem could come from an accident or illness,
maybe from a disease, such as arthritis. It really doesn't matter - using
Wikki Stix "forces" you to use your fingers, your hands.
Wikki Stix is even being used by the blind!
How? Well, Karen Evertz, a private practitioner and adjunct professor at
Syracuse University in upstate New York, has uncovered some truly unusual
uses. Karen discovered raised Wikki Stix works in a fashion
similar to the raised alphabet of Braille. Different shapes, sizes and
thickness of the product are used to teach the blind different skills.
Okay, teachers of small children use Wikki Stix.
As both a play thing and a teaching tool. The airlines and restaurants
use it to keep the kids out of trouble. And physical therapists use it in
their work. Now, how in the world do you sell this stuff?
didn't take long for Kem Clark to figure out you did it ONLY with a sample.
When someone saw, touched and then used the product, they understood. Yet,
until they actually "played" with it, they did not get it.
So, it's easy; Kem does lots of sampling. Through the mail
"live" samples are sent to all prospect categories. They're handed out at
educational and therapy trade shows; Kem shows up with a basket of samples.
Likewise at the food industry conventions and shows, she is there.
she has learned is the product is a hard sell unless the buyer "sees" the
use. It's been tough to get third parties to carry the line. That is,
retailers, such as children's toy stores. Oh sure, in some places you'll
find the product. Most often because of demand created by locals. Usually
the store owner/manager has no idea what Wikki Stix is, who
wants and needs it, and why. And they have zip idea on how to sell it.
The burden to get the message across falls 100% on Kem Clark
and her team at Wikki Stix. Each year she produces a
collection of 4 color flyers, blank on the back. That get personalized to an
For example, the Wikki Stix Creativity Kit
flyer tells the story of a craft kit. It's designed for kids 8 years of age
and up ... and shares how to make picture frames, greeting cards, mobiles,
funny faces, jewelry and much more. For a very reasonable price a school, a
camp or recreation department, a hospital, day care center - scores of
places - have a product that will last and last. And get used over and over.
course Kem uses the product in soft sell promotions, too. The Wikki
Stix holiday season greeting card is always something you
make yourself ... with Wikki Stix. Kem sends the sample, the
"card" and instructions.
Other holidays, such as Valentine's Day, Halloween, national
holidays, back to school and more are also reasons for direct mail to
customers and prospects. Valentine's is all hearts - with lots of red
Wikki Stix. Halloween is orange and black. Thanksgiving has pumpkins
and corn stalks and earth colors.
has learned full color post cards work for her, too. Especially to past
customers, who don't need a sample - they know what to look for. Post cards
have also been a good tool to drive new prospects to her trade show stand.
And as follow-ups after a "live" demonstration at a specific show.
Probably the best sales rep Kem has today is "word of
mouth". References, referrals, testimonials. Including mine. Many times I've
made the suggestion that the "answer" could be Wikki Stix.
So, next time you're looking for a Point of Difference, for
something unique, unusual ... Wikki Stix just may be the
answer. Especially if you're working with children, are in family
hospitality or physical therapy.
You may enjoy a visit to
www.wikkistix.com - surf over and
take a look.
About Ray Jutkins, October 3rd, 1936 — January 6th, 2005. Ray was one
of the NMOA’s most generous contributors. Over the years Ray supplied the
NMOA with hundreds of tips and articles for members. This is just one of
many. Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ...
including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the
Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa. Keep an eye out for more of
Ray’s marketing tips and how-to articles in the pages of
Digest and the article archive on the NMOA website.