Remembering Steve Block, a Legend in Print Sales
Among the many places that Steve worked were the following companies: Vose Swain, Daniels Printing, Dynagraf, Will Land Printing, Summit Press, Mark Burton, Quinn Printing, Harvard Publishing, and WE Andrews. Wherever he went, he made friends for life. Perhaps that’s why everyone in the Boston-area printing and print-buying industry knew and loved Steve Block.
At his funeral service on Jan. 2nd, over 350 people filled the seats. If you looked around, print industry members—past and present—were lined up in all four directions.
Steve’s sales techniques are legendary. Always creative, he was known for sending chocolate chip cookies (his “Chip Off the Old Block” campaign) and bagels (his “Bagels & Blocks” campaign) regularly. Being an artist, Steve created logos for these and many other campaigns, which featured his unique style and bold graphics.
Another Steve Block trademark was his famous “BLA BLA BLA” letter. Recognizing that most print salespeople used run-of-the-mill sales letters touting great quality, great service and low prices, Steve came up with his own version. In place of all the usual clichés, he inserted the words “BLA BLA BLA” throughout, throwing in an occasional industry term to drive home his point. Prospects would get this letter, laugh their heads off—and call him straightaway.
Although graphic arts was the only business Steve was in, he was by no means only about business. On the contrary, he was a man who loved his family deeply. He was known for his kindness, generosity and love of laughter.
In the mid ’60s, he married Barbara Sumberg. They had a daughter, Lori, who also spent decades in the same career as her father. Though her parents divorced when Lori was a toddler, Steve and Barbara both walked Lori down the aisle at her wedding.
By that time, Steve had met his life partner Shirley Geber, with whom he shared 32 loving years. Barbara had remarried. All four adults joined hands as they walked Lori down the aisle that day in 1996.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com