Heads Of Departments
( Originally Published 1902 )
One of the best evidences of the advertising manager's ability in any concern is the smoothness with which he gets along with the various heads of departments in his establishment. When he gets to that point where he can work in harmony with these gentlemen he has gained a great point in the concern's favor, his favor, and the department manager's favor.
With friction and fuss and feathers and fighting the team does not pull along on the road to success as it should—the advertising vehicle stands a good chance of being ditched on the highway.
Absolute harmony is impossible to secure, of course, because as long as men are men evidences of the short-comings of humankind are always cropping to the surface, and little kicks and fusses are to be expected right along. But some men much more than others have a wonderful faculty in " pouring oil upon troubled waters " and running the advertising department with smoothness and dispatch.
I have known several young men who apparently possessed the qualifications demanded in an advertising manager, but who, somehow or another, made a dismal failure in operating an advertising department, simply because they seemed only to antagonize the men with whom they ought to pull, viz.: the department heads.
When a buyer of dress goods or furniture or anything else salable comes to New York and, after considerable poking and mousing about the wholesale district—which means very hard work, too-succeeds in making a clever deal on a lot of goods, he naturally wants the advertising manager to help him out in disposing of this purchase in the quickest and best manner possible. The buyer wants a good ad on his lot. He wants to give an expectant and appreciative audience the best possible ad on a special bargain lot—on grades that he knows are splendid values for the prices asked.
Now here is where the advertising manager should get in his fine work. He ought to be full of appreciation for the buyer's ability in securing this lot—he ought to thoroughly sympathize with the buyer's anxiety to get up a rousing big sale. He ought to tell the buyer so not merely in words but also in deeds. He ought to sail in and get up an excellent ad-with the proper display, argument, cuts and typographical arrangement. He ought to get all the items necessary—the buyer will gladly furnish these—and give the public the fall, complete and satisfactory details of the trade event. By doing so he makes a firm friend of the buyer and helps along the concern as well as himself.
More often than not the advertising man finds he cannot give all the space he would like to the department wherein this great event occurred. What then? Let him do the best he can. Let him explain to the department head his inability to give a large space in all the mediums wanted because of the pressure of other departments, but that he will do the best he can. Heads of departments are intelligent—were they not they would not be heads of departments—and being intelligent are susceptible to reason. They appreciate situations, and when these situations are explained to them can adapt themselves easier and quicker to circumstances than any other class of men on earth excepting possibly newspaper men.
It is always a good scheme for the man in charge of the advertising to have a daily personal confab with all the department heads. In a big establishment of course the proper plan would be to have the chiefs drop in the advertising sanctum—with a smaller store where the advertising man is not so busy he can go about the store and see the men and goods, as well as pick up suggestions from the trend of trade before his eyes.
Department heads appreciate this constant effort on the part of the ad man. It shows them his hearty interest in their welfare.
When a department languishes the stroke of the ax falls upon the department manager's neck, and knowing the power of publicity he is only too eager to receive suggestions and assistance from the man who guides the advertising pen.
I have seen departments sick of poor business and away behind previous seasons' records in the matter of sales, take sudden jumps and forge right ahead, as the result of a well aimed advertising campaign, conceived by the advertising man and aided and abetted by the department head. From a path of thorns the department manager stepped on a road of velvet, and he ever afterwards remembered the advertising man with feelings of the strongest friendship.
In standing in with the departmen heads there need be no necessity for sacrificing individually. In fact, the best and strongest advertising managers of my acquaintance—the men whose work means the best in public prints—are the men who stand in closest to the department heads.
The department heads are the real power in all mercantile establishments. They buy, sell and conduct their several departments with the same care and consideration they would use if they owned their own stores. Their salaries and the solidity of their positions depend upon the net results demonstrated in the course of the year's business in their departments. Advertising today is almost the life-blood of their business-when they feel they are being treated right in the matter of advertising—they make the advertising manager's life all the happier.