I worked on my first company-sponsored newsletter in the 1980’s, called “Dental Industry News”. As a Senior Product Manager, I was a contributor of information, photographs and more, but it was written, printed and distributed by a professional PR agency. Unfortunately, I never thought to keep a copy for my consulting career 30 years in the future, but I learned a lot with that.
But I have been doing newsletters of one kind or another since then.
2012-present: RTD, a client in France, had no salesforce but a growing network of dealers in nearly 100 countries. Nor did the GM have the time to call or visit all his dealers to inform them of news at the company, product changes or of the new and constantly-emerging research that supports the product line.
I suggested a newsletter, which would have several recurring sections: product news, selected scientific articles, an interview, and an interesting clinical case study.
The first few editions were actually created with desktop publishing, and were then posted on the RTD website and announced by email.
It was a heavy file, so we opened a Constant Contact account and basically send out a “newsletter menu” allowing a network of dealers- and a growing network of dentists and opinion leaders- to scroll the menu, and read the articles they choose.
Between the English and Spanish versions, we average a 50% open rate.
Bisco Dental Products (1993-1999)
Bisco built a “direct-to-dentist” business. With no distributors in the US, I had to find ways to communicate our messages to 150,000 dentists, about 1/3 of which were customers.
We could buy mailing lists, and cross-reference with the company’s customer base. I wrote and published a quarterly 4-color, 6-page newsletter. It included product information, Clinical Case Studies, Interviews with the company President (a chemist) and more. It was mailed BUNDLED with the quarterly promotion.
COE Labs, GC America (1988-1993)
In 1987, the old COE Laboratories in Chicago was purchased from the Nevin family by the pharmaceutical division of ICI, of Great Britain. ICI America inserted their own management with little or no knowledge of the Dental industry. Three years later they gave up, and decided to sell it to GC of Japan. This led to a merging of two companies, and two management teams, new product lines, new distributors and sales reps and a whole lot of “growing pains”.
It was confusion among employees, among distributors, open your leaders; none of which is good for business.
to ease this situation, I started to newsletters. One was for employees in the home office and in the field and it was called “Word O’ Mouth”. its sole purpose was to help members of the teams learn to know each other and trust each other through incredible growth and expansion periods. it was done in-house on early desktop publishing (Quark) and literally photocopied for distribution.
I also created the “CoePourri” ( was always proud of that name) as a newsletter for the employees and its distributors. It was in black and white, tabloid size created in-house on desktop printed outside and mailed professionally. It carried stories about products, campaign promotions, tradeshow schedules, awards and PEOPLE.
Crude but effective.