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Marketing Excellence
Grace Thomson
Sales Representative
The Monterey Herald

The living proof drove a red Ferrari.

Grace Thomson’s effectiveness as a sales representative for The Monterey County Herald can be measured in pie charts and bar graphs. But nothing says “success” quite like the guy in the expensive convertible who pulled up to a jewelry store and, while still in his car, shouted that if the $125,000 watch he saw in the newspaper was still available, he’d take one.

That ad was a result of Thomson’s call on a high-end jeweler who advertised mostly in magazines. Knowing that his clientele was wealthy tourists, Thomson arranged for a classy-looking newspaper wraparound that ran whenever high-end events were in town.

The Herald had never done an advertising wrap before, but that was no obstacle for Thomson, who has overcome many such challenges to satisfy a customer – or potential customer. For instance, when a hotel and restaurant didn’t return her calls, she dropped off a single shoe in a box with a note saying, “Now that I have one foot in the door, may I bring in the other?” She got a call back from the owner – and a signed advertising contract – the next day.

And when retailers in Carmel-by-the-Sea cited two-hour parking limits as a hindrance to business, Thomson approached city leaders with the idea of a visitor’s parking permit. The concept was approved and the new permit ran along with ads from the retailers in a Monterey Herald target publication.

It’s easy to come up with ideas when you love what you do and think about your work all the time, says Thomson, who joined the newspaper in 2002 after working as a sales representative for a seafood supplier.

“If you asked me three years ago if I was a creative person, I would have said no,” Thomson said. “This job brought out the creativity in me. I think the key is to find your passion in life and do it.”

Luckily for The Herald Thomson’s passion is finding what a customer needs, and creating solutions to meet those needs and help them grow their business.

“It comes from asking a lot of questions and finding out what they’ve tried before, what worked and what didn’t,” she said. “It’s not done in a week or a day. That’s why it’s important to have enough going, so you’re not dependent on a particular sale to meet your goals. If you are, that stress shows to the customer, and they know you’re not really concerned about their needs, but yours.”

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