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The Milkman: A Marketing Story

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Clyde Priest started delivering milk in 1936 at age ten to support his family during a difficult economic time in American history.

He retired July 20, 70 years after starting his career in a quickly disappearing marketing profession.

According to CNN, Clyde the milkman represented the very best characteristics of sales while serving as a trusted and vital resource to five generations of Missouri families for nearly three quarters of a century.

Priest also knew he worked in sales and had to offer value to his customers beyond what they could get at any supermarket or chain store.

"My theory all these years has been: You could buy milk anywhere, so the only thing I got to sell is my personal service. That was my philosophy," he told the Associated Press. This could be one of the reasons why he stayed in business longer than seven of the actual dairies that supplied milk and related products to him.

The milkman, once a staple supplier to most American homes, is a dying breed in this country, and people like Clyde Priest represented that level of service. According to the report, he was so trusted by the families he delivered to that they had him put the milk and other dairy products in their refrigerators when they weren't even home. One is hard pressed to find another salesman with that level of respect and trust.

Priest attributes his success to doing what he loved and putting a little extra effort in.

It is amazing what a little extra effort will do over 70 years.

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  • I am pleased to tell you this article is being featured in the Culture Focus today, August 30.

    Diana Hartman
    Culture Editor

  • Thank you for the honor 🙂