Robert Lerose, Lerose Copywriting, Uniondale, N.Y.
SIPA: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
ROBERT: I went to work for a small newsletter publisher that covered the real estate market in New York and the surrounding suburbs. They put out special directories on a different sector of the industry every few months. It was my job to call the companies active in those sectors, get their information and then try to sell them an enhanced listing. Nobody trained me in exactly how to sell them. I learned as I went along. There were no incentives for the sales you racked up. It was grunt work. Later on I got a job with a B-to-B publisher in their circulation department, eventually becoming director. That’s where I was introduced to direct mail promotions for the first time.
Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
About a year after I launched my freelance copywriting service, I got a call from the marketing manager at Institutional Investor who said that my package had beaten their old control 3-to-1. That was probably my first serious indication that I could make a good living at this.
In brief, describe your business/company?
For the past 18 years, I’ve supplied copywriting and marketing consultation for both B-to-B and consumer mailers around the country. Most of my clients are newsletter and magazine publishers and other information service providers, but I’ve written for banks, insurance companies, non-profits and so on. Unlike a lot of copywriters, I love writing renewal series and have amassed a nice track record in that area.
What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
1. Persistence. Many clients have thanked me for keeping them focused.
2. Recognizing that my job is to help the client succeed first and expending my best efforts and experience to that end.
3. Treating everyone fairly, honestly and respectfully.
What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
I can’t single out one thing. Writing articles, speaking at industry events, staying in touch with clients and prospects—these evergreen strategies still work. And reminding myself to get out of the office to see and meet and hear people in person.
Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto as we look to 2012?
Not so much a trend as a mindset: To find those things that offer genuine value and avoid the rest.
What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
Sharing knowledge and building relationships. I’ve been attending the annual conference for 12 years and I always walk away with admiration for the speakers who candidly reveal things. Most importantly, building relationships with people outside of the formal sessions.
Where did you grow up?
Long Island, N.Y.
What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
Hofstra University on Long Island. There’s not a single moment. Rather it was getting to know some teachers very well and learning from them outside of the classroom as well.
Are you married? Do you have children?
Never been married. No children.
What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
Reading–no surprise if you like to write. Enjoying long dinners with good friends.
Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, about the founding of Facebook. It was the basis for The Social Network. I have concerns about the way the author recreated some of the scenes, but the narrative has an undeniable velocity.
I think you do an astonishing job putting out these daily alerts and reporting on the news and issues facing our industry in general and SIPA in particular. It’s hard work to do it well, but you succeed.
Catch Robert at SIPA’s Marketing Conference
Dec. 7-9 in Miami as he leads the session:
Renewals and Retention – Making the Most From
What You’ve Got (A Marketing Certificate Session).
He does an incredible job leading this session.
Sign up today!
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Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach
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And an unbelievable SIPA room price of $199
(half off of regular room rate!)
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