Saturday, May 23, 2015


Somehow I have managed to complete an MBA (on top of a double major liberal arts degree – Art and English); worked 15 years on blue chip advertising accounts; headed marketing communication as a corporate executive; and had some moderate success hanging out a shingle as a marketing consultancy. I have written over 500 blogs and a couple of books (my latest – Failure Coach a novel by Wes Morgan is available on  All this and $1.98 gets me a small coffee at Starbuck’s (they call it a "tall" coffee).

So when my friend Stan, a business coach, calls me and asks if I am willing to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss with his client Samantha to discuss ways she might take her business as a video production company to the next level, I’m flattered – and happy to oblige. This happens a lot to me. I always suggest a spot convenient for me for such meetings (as a consequence I always buy my own coffee).

We exchange pleasantries. A little bit about you.  A little bit about me. And an extemporaneous lecture which I hope will be useful. Stan is grateful – he is adding value. Samatha is grateful while admitting my advice is solid (based on what she has already done to stay in business for five years.)

Here’s how it went:

“Stan tells me you want to take your business to the next level.  Is that right?”

“Yes.” Samantha explained that her business has grown through referrals. She hoped to cultivate genuine business relationships over time. She also suggested that self-styled marketing consultants, graphic artists and agency-style advisers have been fertile ground for her.  (I am paraphrasing here. This part of the discussion is inextricably connected to the changing nature of the ad biz.)

“Well based on what you are telling me and what Stan has already told me – let me offer some nuggets that might be helpful:

Working with agencies: A longer sales cycle, agencies generally have their “go to” resources. Also the agency business may not be a robust as it once was. Get to know some key players in our town. (I gave her a short list of some that come to mind.) The nature of your dialogue might start with a question like: What are you seeing in the marketplace? What are your clients looking for

Direct interface with corporate: You can sometimes be successful in going directly to clients but you need to find champions willing to invest in marketing – and specifically video. You need to learn to talk their language. This is not to say be disingenuous. The nature of the dialogue here might start with questions like: What is the story your want your prospects to know? How are you engaging with your customer prospects?

Trade groups and associations: I’m a fan of the American Marketing Association, so of course that tops my list but there is value in becoming a known expert. This strategy might begin with professional associations but might expand into trade/industry associations for which you think you might like to do business."

For this advice: NO CHARGE. 

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