Kirby Hasseman, CEO of Coshocton, Ohio-based Hasseman Marketing & Communications (PPAI 314957, D5) and one of the promotional products industry’s most prominent raconteurs, has written a new book that’s half marketing guide and half parable.

Hit The TARGET, which was released this week, tells the story of Michael Mark, whose wife died in a tragic car accident and whose business is falling apart. After a call from the bank informs Michael that he has only three weeks to save his family home, he meets Charles, who teaches him about the TARGET Marketing Framework to help him turn his business (and his fortunes) around.

Developed by Hasseman Marketing, which made PPAI’s 2023 Greatest Companies To Work For list, the TARGET Marketing Framework consists of six actions for sales success:

  • T stands for Target
  • A stands for Attract
  • R stands for Reach
  • G stands for Go Get It!
  • E stands for Enthusiasm
  • T stands for Track

In this exclusive interview with PPAI Media, Hasseman – a perennial #Online18 honoree and host of the “Delivering Marketing Joy” podcast – explains how the framework came about, what led him to promo and what he hopes readers take away from his new book.

Hit The TARGET is currently available on Amazon and the Kindle Edition is free to download this week.

PPAI Media: What inspired you to write Hit The TARGET?

Kirby Hasseman: I’m also a small business development center coach, so everybody I’d meet with, I’d ask, ‘Who’s your perfect customer?’ and then they’d talk to me about how they’re building their list. During the process, I found that there was a consistent conversation across industries. Whether you’re in manufacturing, making cabinetry, doing physical therapy, no matter who it was, it was the same principle. So, we created the TARGET marketing framework that we at Hasseman Marketing go through.

For several months, we’d meet with clients and ask them these questions to help them dial in their marketing in a much better and more intentional way. I thought there might be a book idea, but I wasn’t sure until I got the idea to write it as a parable. I couldn’t shake it. I’ve found that when I get to a point where I have to get an idea out of me, that’s when I have the right idea for a book.

PPAI Media: What do you hope readers take away from the book?

Hasseman: If you’re in the marketing business or you’re an entrepreneur or you’re trying to help other businesses, there are tactical lessons in the book that will help you help your customers. There are also lessons in personal development about taking ownership, having the right mindset and setting goals. I hope it’s a fun story to read, too. 

I spend a lot of time in the book on E, which stands for Enthusiasm. That’s where branded merchandise really plays a huge role. I’d love for people in the industry to utilize this book as a resource for convincing clients that using branded merch is the best way to build enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

PPAI Media: You launched your marketing business 18 years ago – what led you to promo?

Hasseman: I’m one of those people who is destined to be in promo. My parents worked for Shaw-Barton, an old distributor. My wife also ended up in the promo space. Finally, it was just time for me. Once we got into promo, clients started to ask for other marketing services. So, we do video production, digital marketing and print pretty much all in-house.

PPAI Media: With your wife and daughters working at the company, what’s it like running a family business?

Hasseman: I love it, but I don’t know that they always love it. It’s wonderful to share passion and watch them evolve and grow. Whenever you start a company, there’s a little piece of you that wants there to be a legacy. To have your family be a part of creating that legacy is really powerful.

PPAI Media: Who else in the promo industry should write a book? Who else’s story would you love to read about?

Hasseman: Bill Petrie [founder and creative director of brandivate, as well as Hasseman’s co-host on the “Promo UPFront” podcast]. Bill is a great writer, so any book he’d write would be good. As for personal journeys, there are two people that come to mind. First is Dana Zezzo [vice president of vendor relations, marketing and events at American Solutions for Business], who’s kind of the OG of social media and content in our industry. If he told stories around his travels, that would be good. And Charity Gibson [chief marketing officer at Proforma] has been in the news a lot lately. She’s a super interesting gal and industry leader, so anything she did would be interesting, too.