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Publisher's Outlook
May 2002


Nadji Tehrani

30 Years
(May 1972 - May 2002)
In Pursuit Of Excellence

BY NADJI TEHRANI


The Early Days
I founded TMC in 1972 with the objective of providing original, high-quality information that would be useful to the industries being served. Like many entrepreneurs, I started the company with little money ($2,000 capital) in the basement of our house.

If you recall, at that time there was a so-called Yom Kippur war transpiring in the Middle East, which subsequently led to a rise in energy prices, energy shortages and long lines at the gasoline pumps. Frankly, I never thought those long lines and the rise in prices of energy were justified. Even now with the current war going on in the Holy Land, I believe the rising energy prices are nothing more than price gouging, but thats another story.

The rise in energy prices in the early 70s created a great opportunity for energy-efficient, material-efficient and non-polluting technologies. Back then, the state of California had passed the Route 66 Law, which required all manufacturers not to pollute the atmosphere with the use of chemical solvents in their manufacturing. Putting all of the above together, it became obvious to me that a group of industries would inevitably emerge that would be independent of any of the above problems, and that theyd need a credible source of information to help them succeed. Upon extensive investigation, I came up with several titles for magazines pertinent to the energy-efficient, material-efficient and non-polluting industries, including Radiation Curing, High Solids Coatings, Powder Coatings and UV Curing Science and Technology. As such, in a pioneering effort, TMC began producing magazines and several books with these titles, and because the marketplace needed such products, we were extremely successful. In fact, every one of our magazines was profitable from the get-go.

In The 70s The Vision Became Clear
The 70s were, more than anything else, the years of soul searching and figuring out in what direction we wanted to take the company. The problem with our niche publications such as High Solids Coatings, UV Curing, Radiation Curing, etc., was that even though they were extremely profitable, they had a limited audience and, therefore, limited potential even though the industry was growing at a rate of 25 percent per year practically every single year for 10 years running. But the extreme attention to uncompromising editorial quality kept us as the number one publisher in this field virtually forever. We had a very loyal base of subscribers who regularly subscribed to our magazines year after year, and our advertisers were also extremely loyal to us. After all, we were the first and only industry publication in all of the above fields and no competitor could keep up with us.

Another Pioneering Effort Was NeededA Renaissance In Sales And Marketing
With a persistent energy crisis resulting from the (seemingly) perennial Middle East wars, prices of gasoline rose tremendously, making door-to-door sales cost-prohibitive. In 1979, I decided to pick up the phone just to see what I could do to sell advertising space in our Radiation Curing magazines behold a new industry was born! I discovered that I could sell three to four pages of advertisements per day, even though I could only spend approximately one hour per day on the phone. By the end of the first week, I had sold approximately 15 pages of advertising without a car allowance, travel expenses or anything like that. It was far more than any of my sales representatives could do during three to four weeks of traveling! As such, it was obvious to me that the days of door-to-door/traveling salesmen were over. I realized that if I was able to repeat my initial success and prove the viability of selling over the telephone, it would be a great idea to train others to do the same. In testing my theories, I made a number of mistakes, i.e., trying to bring in the field salespeople and convert them into inside salespeople and by interviewing in person for selling via telephone. At that time, I didnt realize why those methods failed, but today I know why. First of all, the techniques that one needs to sell on the phone are totally different than the techniques needed to sell in person. Second, if you really want to select an effective inside salesperson, you must interview on the phone and not in person.

A Call On Creativity
Early on, due to lack of knowledge of the above, I was unable to find anyone else who could sell on the phone until one day it occurred to me that maybe product knowledge might have something to do with this new technique. At that point, I turned to my long-time secretary who knew everything there was to know about our products and asked her to begin to learn the selling techniques I had been using on the phone by listening to me over the speakerphone. She was extremely reluctant to give it a try at first, but I persuaded her to see the potential and she accepted. You guessed it, she was extremely successful selling over the phone. I realized that she had a pleasant and believable telephone voice, she was extremely professional and she had great product knowledge, which in those days were the only things that mattered! I guess you might say these attributes were equivalent to a smile and a shoe shine for the door-to-door salesman!

The Dawn Of A New EraFrom Conventional Marketing To Telemarketing And Electronic Marketing
Upon the perfection of our telephone sales techniques, I discovered there was no publication in existence that could teach anyone our newly discovered technique of selling effectively by telephone. Therefore, I first applied for a registered trademark for the name Telemarketing and we launched the magazine called Telemarketing, The Magazine of Electronic Marketing and Communications. After some difficulties in the first year, simply because the industry did not exist, this new and revolutionary technique took off like a rocket. It was so successful that it literally forced us to stop the publication of the energy-efficient chemical publications mentioned earlier.

The Phenomenal Loyalty Humbled Me!
I wrote a letter to all subscribers of the energy-efficient magazines indicating that due to great success in the new telemarketing venture, we were unable to continue publishing these other magazines. Nevertheless, the subscribers ignored my letter and continued to send in their subscription fees ($98 per year) several years after the publications were folded. Believe it or not, we just received a subscription order for The Journal of Radiation Curing dated February 18, 2002 (from JADAVPUR University in India), exactly 11 years after The Journal of Radiation Curing ceased publication. That can only happen when the subscribers respect and value the editorial quality and integrity of the publication! Frankly, I am very proud of the TMC staff for producing such masterpiece-quality magazines!

Masterpiece-Quality Editorial Continued
We used the same dedication to editorial quality in Telemarketing magazine, which, evolving to reflect the state of the industry it serves, is now Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine. Among many other equally gratifying things, our dedication to quality in Telemarketing/Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine has been rewarded by The Wall Street Journal referring to it as The Bible of the Industry and Fortune Magazine as The Industry Standard and by Alex Fraser of Hewlett-Packard as The Only Credible Source of Information on the Industry.

The First Industry Trade Show, And The Japanese Sense Of Humor
In 1985, we launched the telemarketing industrys first convention called TBT (Telemarketing and Business Telecommunications), which is now known as Communications Solutions EXPO, again reflecting the evolving industry. In 1987, we launched a TBT in Europe, specifically in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and in the mid 90s we introduced a TBT show in Brazil. As such, our publication and tradeshows gained worldwide recognition. I remember when I was invited to a lecturing tour in Japan in the early 90s, at which point many Japanese industry executives were referring to me as Mr. Telemarketing and at other times as Mr. TBT. I truly enjoyed my lecture tour in the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Kyoto and elsewhere, as well as the opportunity to get to know the Japanese culture. One of the treasured highlights of my tour was in Tokyo, where I was afforded the honor of participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of Nippon Telephone & Telegraphs telemarketing college. I was truly amazed at the discipline, focus and passion with which the Japanese people work on everything they do. I would like to share a funny incident that happened to me during one of my lectures in Japan. Unfortunately, simultaneous translation for my speech was unavailable, so I was requested to speak for 5 minutes and stop for 5 minutes for translation. During a portion of my presentation, I remember telling a not-so-funny joke. About 10 minutes later, the audience erupted in laughter. By that time I had forgotten what the joke was, but I later asked my translator, How did you translate my joke to make them laugh so hard? And he said, I simply said that our speaker has just told a joke and I want everyone to laugh very hard!

TBT Shows And Conferences The Main Industry Source Of Training
By the mid 1980s, TMC, by virtue of its flagship publication Telemarketing and TBT conferences and exhibitions, was regarded worldwide as The industrys only credible source of information and education per Alex Fraser of Hewlett-Packard. From that point on, practically every single major newspaper in the country would call me to ask the status and the trends of the industry. I was often called by members of such prestigious business and industry publications as The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Advertising Age, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The New York Daily News, to name a few.

Unfair Stereotyping
Early on, due to an unfortunate amount of fraud committed by a small group of criminals within our society, several newspapers were interested in finding out why there were crimes in the telemarketing industry. My answer generally was as follows: Every time you have a highly successful concept that is experiencing explosive growth, you unavoidably invite a lot of well-meaning, honest business men and women. Unfortunately, you also attract a lot of criminals who, in this case, use the telephone to commit fraud. For a while the press was confused and wrongly referred to these criminals as telemarketers. I started a powerful campaign to inform each and every member of the press that they should not participate in the unfortunate practice of double standards toward our industry. I shared with them that if a criminal stabbed someone with a scalpel (a surgical knife), the next day headlines would read, A Criminal Stabbed Someone not A Surgeon Stabbed Someone. Yet, if the same criminal picked up the telephone to commit fraud, they would refer to the criminal as a telemarketer. This double standard unfortunately existed for a while until an article appeared in The Wall Street Journal in which I set the record straight. The headline of the article was The Untold Story Of Telemarketing. That article was perhaps the best article written about our industry because it was bold enough to set the record straight.

I informed all publications that Our industry is a job-producing and job-protecting industry and the small fraction of people who commit crimes by telephone are not, by any stretch of the imagination, telemarketers and they are best described as criminals. Let us all remember that today the multibillion-dollar telemarketing, contact center, CRM and customer interaction centers employ more than three percent of the U.S. workforce.

The Hypocrisy
The other matter that bothered me about the national press was that without exception, every single one of those publications used the telephone to sell subscriptions or classified advertisements or display advertisements while the editorial departments of the same publications were bashing telemarketing, the industry that created advertising and subscription revenue that paid their salaries!

In other words, none of those ill-advised idiots would have been employed had it not been because of the revenue generated through telemarketing or by telephone! Why is common sense so uncommon?

A Blessing In Disguise
In spite of the negative articles, the telemarketing industry grew at a rate of 25 to 50 percent (depending on the segment) throughout the 80s and 90s. Indeed, as stated in my April 2002 Publishers Outlook, the industry continues to enjoy enviable growth to this date, a full 20 years after our publication laid the foundation for this vibrant and totally useful industry. In the April 2002 Publishers Outlook, I reported that inbound teleservices outsourcing, for example, enjoyed explosive growth of 29.1 percent, the interactive segment grew by 152.2 percent and last but not least, the global Top 100 teleservices outsourcing companies grew at 58 percent in 2001. I know of no other industry that grows half as much as our industry after being in existence for 20 years!

New And Humanitarian Applications For Telemarketing
As the industry grew, human ingenuity created new applications for this highly effective industry. For example, the American Red Cross uses telemarketing to generate blood donations, to serve not only the needs of many hospitals domestically, but internationally as well. In fact, in October 1990 I was invited to keynote a telemarketing conference sponsored by the American Red Cross Blood Services, Northeast Region. Everywhere I looked at that conference, I saw signs that read, TelemarketingA Link To Life. I found out that this one regional office had collected 70,000 pints of blood via telemarketing in 1990. I asked how many lives could be saved by 70,000 pints of blood and was told that one pint could save the lives of two to three patients, which means that those 70,000 pints of blood could have saved the lives of between 140,000 to 210,000 people. I later found out that nationwide that year, 6.2 million pints of blood were collected by the American Red Cross through telemarketing and other means, which translated to 12.4 million to 18.6 million lives saved by telemarketing and other efforts. But this was not limited to national efforts as, for example, this was done for American fighters during Operation Desert Storm 10 years ago against Saddam Hussein and Iraqs intrusion against its neighbors (some things never change, do they?). Indeed, many industries such as insurance, health care and financial services used the immense power of the telephone, inbound and outbound, to improve the lifestyles of our people. Even the prisons are using the inmates as TSRs to help them serve a useful function and do a worthwhile job. One of my favorite applications for telemarketing was when some churches used the power of telemarketing to generate funds to build a new church and then to gather congregations for the same church. The bottom line for all of the above is that the telephone is like anything else; it will do remarkable things if it is in the hands of the right people and by the same token, it will have undesirable results if it is in the hands of the criminals.

New Publications And Expos Introduced, Dignitary Keynotes Take Part
In 1998, TMC launched CTI Expo (currently Communications Solutions Expo) in Baltimore, MD, which was a resounding success. In June 1982 when Telemarketing magazine was launched, I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that this industry would someday attract so much worldwide acceptance. I wouldnt have guessed that literally hundreds of billions of dollars would someday be transacted through the phone. I wouldnt have guessed that someday we would see regular advertising on major television stations for CRM products. I wouldnt have guessed that three percent of the U.S. workforce would eventually be employed by the industry, and I certainly wouldnt have thought that former Vice President Al Gore, the next U.S. President for a short while, would keynote TMCs Communications SolutionsTM Expo in the spring of 2001. Mr. Gores participation in an event centered around the world of call centers, contact centers, CRM and communications showed how far weve come as an industry. In my eyes, this event represented not only a culmination of two decades of growth for TMC and its hard-working employees, but for the call center, contact center and CRM industry as a whole.

Further Innovations
In February 1998, Internet Telephony magazine was born. That was followed in October 1999 with the launch of Internet Telephony Expo. As we all know, Internet Telephony magazine and Expo were a tremendous success. In fact, the first two Internet Telephony Expos were sold out, and the most recent one held in February 2002 in Miami achieved record attendance nearly 100 percent more than expected.

Planet PDA Launched
In December 2001, we launched Planet PDA, which is a conference and exhibition dealing with the next generation of computing, namely, handheld computing. This phenomenal new technology will no doubt contribute to the increase in productivity of users more than anything else in history. Needless to say, Planet PDA in 2001 was also a resounding success and we expect even greater success with the two conventions on PDA that are scheduled for 2002, one of which is being held on May 13-15, 2002 at the Boston World Trade Center.

BiometriTech Launched In 2002
As a result of the unfortunate terrorist actions of 9-11, the nation and indeed the world has suddenly become extremely concerned about security. The purpose of BiometriTech is to inform people about the nature of new technologies that are designed to enhance the security of any organization as much as possible, and hopefully to prevent any future terrorist attacks.

TMC Labs
Perhaps one of the greatest milestones of TMCs pioneering efforts was the establishment of TMC Labs. Here a group of experienced engineers analyze the viability and user-friendliness of a variety of technological product submissions so that the users dont have to. Any industry insider will tell you that TMC Lab reports are respected enormously by the entire industry. The award logos generated by TMC Labs are displayed with pride by all recipients at every trade show and you will also find them on every piece of literature, promotion and advertisement that the recipient companies produce.

In Summary
The last three decades, as briefly described above, were truly 30 years in pursuit of excellence. As the record proudly speaks for itself, TMC is regarded as the unquestionable leader in every field that it serves. As I have indicated in numerous lectures around the country and in discussions with my TMC staff, nothing great will ever take place without true and dedicated teamwork by the staff of a company. More than anything else, I am not only proud of all of TMCs achievements, but also, I am equally proud of developing great careers for many outstanding team members who have contributed immensely to TMCs resounding success. To say that I love them dearly is an understatement.

In addition, Id like to extend my appreciation to many advertisers, exhibitors, sponsors and subscribers of our publications, for without their support, we would not have been able to achieve any of the above.

Over the years, I have tried to tell it like it is and give you objective editorials on subjects vital to both the present and future of our industry, but when times demanded it, I also felt I had no choice but to cover topics that ranged from former President Clintons health care proposals to Alan Greenspan and the effect of the Feds policy on the economy to the problems facing this great country in the Middle East. Trying to fit my thoughts on a topic into just a few pages every month is both difficult and rewarding. Trying to fit 30 years of wonderful memories into these few pages has been no exception. I just hope I have done justice to them.

I look forward with great expectations and enthusiasm to the next 30 years!

Sincerely,

Nadji Tehrani
TMC Chairman, CEO and
Executive Group Publisher
ntehrani@tmcnet.com

[ Return To May 2002 Table Of Contents ]


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