Using Direct Mail to Develop Sales Outlets for the Cub F-Type / 1952

Using Direct Mail to Develop Sales Outlets for the Cub F-Type / 1952

"The response was incredible. We had immediate replies from 5,000 shops and the figure just kept on going up.

We got the Nichigeki female dance troupe, then at the height of its popularity, to put on a splendid parade riding bikes fitted with the Cub F-Type engine through the main street of Ginza, Tokyo. The route was lined with cheering spectators and it was reported all over the country. The Cub F-Type immediately became known as a bike that women as well as men could ride.


A grand demonstration of the Cub F-Type that garnered attention at a Motorbike Festival held in August 1952. The Honda Monthly (No. 12) published that same month says, "More than 150 promotion vehicles from Honda and other manufacturers paraded from Hibiya Park through the main streets of Nihonbashi, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Shiba in Tokyo in a major demonstration to make motorbikes better known.

The bicycle world was used to ordering goods on consignment and the idea of pre-payment came as a bit of a shock to them but it fitted their needs perfectly. If you ask me, Takeo Fujisawa had real guts and knew how to take a finely-balanced gamble," he continued, laughing. "He succeeded in creating an independent sales network in almost no time at all." Fujisawa also developed techniques for following up the response from the bicycle shops. He bought light aircraft for the company and used them to shower promotional leaflets from the sky all over Japan – of course the leaflets always included the names of the local outlets.

"In order to build up a sales network you have to stimulate customer demand and the secret is to make sure that the desire to buy and the desire to sell both happen at the same time," said Kawashima. "It was instructive to observe how this multiplication effect worked out." In later years Kawashima found this experience very useful when he was developing the U.S. market.

"Mr. Fujisawa’s writings include a book entitled ‘Light the torch with Your Own Hand.’ This title means that ‘If you don’t carry your own light you can’t lead the way. If you walk with light provided by others, you will always be bringing up the rear. You may be sure of never losing your way or stumbling, but you’ll never be a leader.’ In terms of marketing networks, ‘If you simply make use of existing methods you’ll never be able to make real money.’ The essence of Mr. Fujisawa’s sales strategy was to build up networks using your own ideas and policies so that you can do business exactly the way you want," said Kawashima.

Honda took the initiative, deciding on its market, establishing a production plan, and using it as a basis for the allocation of resources and placing orders with suppliers. With all the necessary information at their fingertips, it became possible to make independent decisions. But to achieve this, an "independent sales network" is necessary.

From the moment they first met, Honda and Fujisawa would get together every day and every evening, sitting up into the night talking together, encouraging each other in endless conversation.

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