Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth communications when it comes to promoting a product or service. I recently witnessed an example of how quickly a good (or bad) word can spread about a product that I’d like to share.
This spring and summer, the gnats in our area have been vicious. They swarm, they bite, and they basically drive you crazy. On Independence Day, we were sitting on our patio with some lifelong friends, and the gnats began to attack. My friend ran to his vehicle and returned with some amazing, natural, gnat repellent that he said you can only get at two certain retail chains.
At my next opportunity, I visited our local Red Wing Ace Hardware store (one of my favorite places to shop) and asked about this product, Bug Soother. They had never heard of it, but looked it up in their computer system and ordered a 12 bottle case. I stopped two days later and bought 4 bottles because I didn’t want them to get stuck with 11 bottles of something they might not sell just because I asked them to order it.
This stuff worked so well and smells so good that I couldn’t help but tell people about it, and I let several people try it when we were getting “bugged” by these gnats. I didn’t actually witness this, but I heard within a few days people were lined up outside the store one morning waiting for them to open so they could get their own bottle. The store has apparently sold hundreds of bottles to date and can’t keep it on the shelf.
No one has ever told me they saw it on TV, on the internet, or any other kind of media, but word has spread around the area by word-of-mouth. We should all strive to have our customers so excited about our products and services that they spread the word about us like I just did for this product and store.
- Ken Hilton, President
Dick and Marlene are names many of our long time users are familiar with. Dick has been a developer of accounting and payroll software since the origin of FMS, one of the companies that later merged with Red Wing Software. Dick and his father operated a hog farm and the first FMS agriculture accounting product was developed in the late 1970s for use on their hog farm. Computers at that time had no hard drive and worked off of removable disks that you had to keep changing to use a different portion of the program. Interest began in computerized accounting on the farm, and by 1980 they had a small group of customers using their software. The part time endeavor was run out of their home, which is when Marlene began doing support of the software. Figuring out how to help the customer became an easier choice than gathering up their four little girls to go find Dick in some barn or field. (Cell phones would have been very helpful!) In 1981, Dick’s allergies to grain dust played a factor in him going full time with the software business. They soon outgrew doing business out of their home and opened the FMS office in New Lenox, IL, with additional employees; Ken Hilton was part of that beginning.
In 1990, FMS merged with another agricultural software company out of Indiana and became FMS/Harvest. In 2000, FMS/Harvest was purchased by Red Wing Software. Dick and Marlene have remained working in Illinois for Red Wing Software. Dick manages the development team, and Marlene does technical support of CenterPoint products and Perception.
Outside of work, they have four married daughters and each has three children... well almost. They also have 11 grandchildren ages 9 to 6 months, with number 12 on the way and love being a part of their lives. Family gatherings at Grandma and Grandpa’s house are favorite times, and the kids ask all year how soon before the next family summer vacation will be so they can be together. They all manage to live in one big house together for a few days! As the grandkids get older, their different sports and activities keep them on the go! Other interests in their lives are church activities, traveling, back yard work, and friends. Dick does woodworking and there are always endless projects including a complete kitchen remodel in their home that has kept them both busy. Dick and Marlene are never at a loss for things to do, but there is always time for the grandkids!
They have met and talked with so many customers over the years, they all feel like family too. “It is great to talk with so many wonderful people. I always chuckle when someone says, “Are you the same Marlene that has always been there?”
CenterPoint Accounting customers, Larson Acres, Scheps Dairy and Dutch Hollow Farm were featured in the August issue of Dairy Today. They are all among the top dairies hosting virtual farm tours. Click here to read the entire article.
By Stephanie Elsen
Many of you may know Cori; she is one of our support technicians as well as the voice on many of our How2 Videos. What you may not know is her husband Ryan also works at Red Wing Software. Ryan is our Graphic Designer. Whether it’s a brochure, advertising, or our website, Ryan has a hand in designing or producing it.
This past November, they welcomed a brand new baby boy; Liam. Unfortunately, he was born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (basically a hole in his diaphragm). Thankfully, after surgery and sometime in the hospital, Liam has made a complete recovery. After a bumpy start, Cori and Ryan are now home with Liam, adjusting to being first time parents. We are all so thankful Liam is doing great and wish them the best!