Smart Companies Put Marketing First

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I got to my office, or the center of the universe, a little early this morning. I rode my bike for about 50 miles yesterday and I didn't feel up to a repeat performance today. I pushed my chair back, and put my boots up on the desk.

I grabbbed one of the financial papers and set about doing a little reading. On page 4 or 5 there was an interesting story about a company I was very familiar with. I had known, and done business with the gentleman who owned that business for almost two decades, until he sold it for a "tidy little sum," as our British friends would say.

The company, el
even months removed from the old ownership, was in trouble, and writer attributed this to a change in the market, and financial belt tightening.

What a crock!

The original owner started the company with $10,000 of his own money, and without any financial help from bankers or investors
had built it into a multimillion dollar operation. It was an extremely profitable business.

So what happened?

My friend sold the business to a very large corporation, and they quickly assigned their talented team to run the operation. My friend was retained as a consultant, but it was made very clear to him that the managing team had their own ideas about how to run things. After a few weeks, he decided to just stay home and collect his check, and nobody had any objections.

The new management team soon had everybody in meetings, and planning sessions. Sales starting dropping off after three months, so the team had more meetings and strategy sessions.

Then the team cut the customer service division by two thirds.
This was done to make the company more efficient. Then the marketing department was cut in half. Again, the justification was effiency.

It has been about eleven months since my friend sold the company, and the company is in serious trouble. The sales have fallen by 75%, and the management team is still having daylong meetings and strategy sessions.

I gave my friend a call.

He told me he got a call from the CEO of the parent company, who, unknown to his ace team, offered the company back to the original owner. At the moment they are ironing out the details of what may be one of the best buys in the business.

Essentialy, the big conglomerate is going to pay the original owner to buy back his company, and then some. He figures he can restore the company in 12-18 months on their money.

He'll do it the same way he built it the first time.

1) Customers are number one.
2) Sales and Marketing drive the business.
3) All other departments rank below Sales and Marketing.
4) Compliance, Acounting, and Management exist to support
Sales and Marketing.
5) His job, as CEO, is to constantly drive the Sales and
Marketing effort.

In other words, "If your company ain't sellin', it ain't gellin'!.

Every time I hear a salesman tell me how much time he spends in meetings it gives me a clue as to how well his company is run.

Every hour spent in a meeting is an hour of lost selling time.

I have never had a meeting that lasted longer than forty five minutes. Never. And once a month is plenty.

Meetings are a waste of time unless something of earth shattering importance needs to be communicated. You spend your time selling, you'll be successful. You spend your time in meetings, and pretty soon you'll need a psychiatrist.

Jim Whelan is The chairman of Board and owner of The James R Whelan Agency - The Most Powerful Name in Advertising. Please sign up for his daily free newsletter at

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