Communication & Alignment

Unconventional ways to draw in powerful people [Podcast]

Cartoon_BT_Ch8_lightbulbsThere are people out there who have the power to positively change the course of your business. But how do you reach them? The answer, surprisingly, may be cartoons.

Just ask Stu Heinecke, a Wall Street Journal cartoonist, Hall of Fame-nominated marketer, author of How To Get A Meeting with Anyone and president of CartoonLink, Inc. Heinecke accomplished all of these things by drawing on his lifelong passion for cartoons.


After studying marketing at the University of Southern California, Heinecke felt that it made sense to combine his love for cartoons with his newfound knowledge of marketing. He noticed that personalization was becoming a force in direct marketing and decided to see how he could apply that to cartoons.

“Cartoons, it turns out, are some of the best read and remembered parts of magazines and newspapers according to readership surveys,” Heinecke says. “I wanted to create these campaigns for the biggest users of direct marketing in the world, and that happened to be magazine publishers at the time.”

Heinecke started by scoring assignments from Rolling Stone and Bon Appétit, where he was challenged to develop campaigns that could compete with the magazines’ most successful mailings. In both cases, he succeeded. He then created personalized cartoons and sent them to other major media companies to show that he could do the same for them.

“That campaign is what launched my business,” he recalls. “It cost me all of $100. Every one of those publishers became clients.”

Heinecke’s success put him on a much wider path of discovery, making him wonder just how far he could go and who he could reach.

How-to-get-a-meeting-with-anyoneSo, how do you reach the unreachable? Heinecke suggests honing in on who you are and what you have to offer. Perfect your VIP statement and figure out what makes your business stand out.

“What are those hooks that you can put out real quickly that gets the executive assistant, and eventually the person you’re trying to reach, to say, ‘I can’t refuse this call, this is just too interesting,’” he says.

He also recommends nurturing relationships with executive assistants and treating them as valued members of your team.

“These people are some of the most important people in the organization, Heinecke says. “If they’re the executive assistant to the CEO, they’re working directly with the CEO and they know exactly what he or she is thinking, what their goals are, where they want to bring to the company and what they’re working on. They’re keeping the wrong people out and letting the right people in. Turn yourself into the right person.”

Hear more from Heinecke in this podcast, which explores innovative methods for connecting with industry leaders.


Above: A snapshot of the personal cartoon, drawn by Heinecke, that Dave Nelsen references in the podcast. Nelson has had it on his fridge for 20 years.

Related reading: See how Stu Heinecke used “Contact Marketing” to earn the business of some of the world’s most elite companies.

Category : Communication & Alignment

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About the Author: Dave Nelsen

I joined Vistage as a founding member (CE 676) in 2003. I've started four tech companies, attracting $70MM in venture capital. I was recognized as E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year (2000) and as Vistage Best Speaker of the Year (2011). I've h…

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