Monday, December 03, 2007

Cox on Marketing

One of my favorite "philosophers" of business is Coleman Cox. If you look at almost any collection of quotes, you'll find quotes by Coleman Cox, generally about sales and business.

Most people like to quote his one-and two-line quips. Here's a great longer quote from Just Plain Talk:

    When a man is "all run down" and needs building up he calls in a doctor for advice, and medicine that will put him right. He does not dispute the doctor's diagnosis of his case, or rewrite the prescription to suit himself. How different it is when his buisness is "run down" and needs building up. He calls in an advertising man whose business is to stimulate, and build up a run down business. He rewrites the advertising man's "prescriptions" as fast as they are handed to him, changes the size of doses and time of giving to suit himself, and then puts all the blame on the advertising man if the business does not show immediate improvement. Yes, the advertising business is the only business in the world every man "knows"--or thinks he knows.

Isn't it true? You can buy books by Erick Simpson and Matt Makowicz, or a program from Robin Robins. But what do you do?

You start by putting on your "Let's do it my way" filter.

You are seeking advice because your way needs improvement. So why are you stripping out bits and pieces of their advice so that the action plan looks more like what you've already been doing?

Reason One: You're most comfortable with what you've done in the past. True. But that got you here and you want to move on. Doing more of the same is going to get you more of the same.

Reason Two: You say "My customers wouldn't go for that." Sorry: B.S. meter is now off the scale. Until you test your prospects, ask your prospects, and test the system, you don't know. When you're consistently given the same advice, maybe it's time to listen to it instead of assuming it won't work. See

Reason Three: It costs too much money. Finding the right list costs money. Doing a mailing of 3-4 pages and repeating it 3-4 times costs money. It can costs a couple thousand dollars. What if you don't get any response?

Reality check: In order to save money and play it safe, you are very tempted to go cheap on the list, do a 1-2 page letter, and only repeat it once. What have you done? You've mailed to the wrong people with a watered down message, and you haven't reinforced it.

But at least you get to blame your advisors! After all, "their" program didn't work.

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