Just the other day, I visited a friend of mine at his office. While I was waiting in the lobby, I happened to pick up a copy of Rolling Stone magazine and started leafing through it. Naturally, I was looking for pictures of tattooed, scantily clad, rock-and-roll babes. Much to my chagrin, my attention was captured by an actual article. (Proof, if I needed it, that I’m aging way too fast.)
The article was about our country’s dependency on foreign oil and how that was a bad thing. Apparently, the Citgo station under the Saudi Arabian desert had already pumped its best days. Doom and gloom about the world’s energy situation poured from the pages, leading me to believe that the good old days of fossil fuel were well and truly over.
The author went on to point out that in one year alone, the price of gas had jumped from $1.78 a gallon to more than $3, and the price of crude oil had jumped to $70. “Wait a minute,” I said to myself. “Something doesn’t seem quite right about that.”
When I flipped to the cover of the magazine, I figured out why. The issue was from the end of 2005. The first thing that popped into my head was, “Who in the hell leaves a magazine in the waiting room for three years?!” My second thought was, “Damn, this guy is right. Isn’t oil going for almost $100 a barrel now? Didn’t I just pay almost 4 bucks a gallon to fill up my guzzler?”
I turned back to the article and feverishly read through the pages to see what our bleak future looked like, but then my buddy finally appeared and took me into his office. I told him, “I wish your magazines in the waiting room had more pictures,” which earned me a puzzled look.
I forgot about that article during my visit, but as I was driving home, my thoughts circled back to it and I wished that I could remember the author’s name, or that I had at least ripped the article out of the magazine. I would love to see what this guy is writing about our current situation and what his predictions are for the future. (Then again, maybe not.)
Can you imagine if this author was a financial advisor and had sent that article to all his clients in 2005? If he were doing a marketing campaign today, I bet he would send the same article out again, along with an announcement that he was changing his name to Swami. Whatever Swami said at this point would be golden. Whether it was muni bonds, gold, or pork bellies — a positive mention of any of them would have his clients flooding him with investment dollars.
And there you have it — Bill’s marketing idea of the day. Sit back, pop a six-pack of Bud, and rack your brain for any predictions you might have made years ago. Make sure your predictions are about business. Try to avoid things you might have said to your children like, “You’ll poke your eye out,” or, “You’ll grow hair on your palms.” Try to keep it real.
Once you come up with a true prediction, you’ll want to type it up and put it on fancy, glossy paper. Put the approximate date you made your prediction in big bold letters at the top. Next, write down as much about your prediction as you can remember. Something like, “I don’t know what the market is going to do today, but I predict in 20 years it will be much higher! Put all your money into stocks.” — Swami Broker, October 1, 1987
Put on your Swami outfit and start passing out your marketing materials to everyone on the street. Be sure to offer another prediction for the future, as well as a way to invest in that prediction (preferably something about ethanol or biodiesel). When the prospects come to your office, start speaking in tongues as you slide over the new account forms.
My prediction is that, in no time, you’ll be able to afford that brand new Hummer you’ve always wanted.
Once a mildly amusing comedian and a recruiter for a top independent broker-dealer, Bill Miller now works as an industry wholesaler; reach him at email@example.com