Salt Marsh Pottery, a company with 25 employees in South Dartmouth, Mass., traditionally sells its specialty hand-painted ceramics to retailers by attending gift-industry shows. In 1997 the company decided to skip a big trade show because the prior year's returns of $16,000 hadn't justified the $8,000 it cost Salt Marsh to exhibit.
Instead, co-owners John and Betsy Powel created a one-page sell sheet, complete with four-color photos of Salt Marsh's people and products. They printed it on an ink-jet color printer and sent it to people they had met at previous trade shows who had placed orders. Within one month of the mailing, Salt Marsh had generated the same $16,000 it had the year before.