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Direct Marketing For Small Business

Q:As the owner of a small business (and a second one soon to be launched), I find the discussion in this thread amazing.

A:Perhaps I am different from other small businesses, but I recognize the NEED for high quality marketing consulting. I have been having a very difficult time finding a qualified individual to work with me. The consulting companies around here have blown me off - they don't understand that I am happy to pay someone $2k - $3k to design and write DM pieces & graphic arts as long as they are qualified. My only requirement is that they be able to demonstrate their skill (via providing previous work examples), and have some kind of satisfaction guarantee (ie if the piece doesn't pull a minimum of 0.5%, free re-write, etc). I have yet to find anyone willing to put their money where their mouth is. How it is marketing consultants can get away with this but the rest of us can't is something I can't explain. It ranks up there with politicians making laws for us but exempting themselves. At any rate, from my perspective of life as a small, sole-prop biz just getting off the ground, I think there IS a huge market out there waiting to be tapped. The key to the door is the tried and true "Satisfaction Guaranteed". Until then you might get the same effect & save alot of money by simply poking yourself in the ribs with a fork. Your response only confirms what it is I am saying about "marketing consultants" - they think they have the answers to all of the problems of business, but do not take their own advice. What is worse, they don't expect to play by the same set of rules by which the rest of us have to play. In all candor, I cannot think of any business owner who can reasonably expect to succeed in business if he or she doesn't want to accept the burden of dealing with indecisive, 'nickel-and-diming' customers, bad debts, or those who would second guess advice given? How many attorneys or physicians do we know that are exempt from this or the fiscal responsibility for bad advice? What Divine directive exempts "marketing consultants" from dealing with the same lot in life handed to the rest of us? Now I will grant that the large & established "marketing consultants" can afford to be picky with their clients. But so too can any established business. My only point is that I repeatedly hear would be "consultants" blaming their customers for the consultant's failure. Such is the mark of one of a few possible situations: (1) The marketer lacks the ability to ACTUALLY market as evidenced by the failure to penetrate an incredibly vast market, (2) The individual has no problem with professional hypocrisy - he or she is willing to preach the rules of the game but not live by them, or (3) The individual is slothful and unwilling to work hard for his or her own business. In which case, why would I think that individual will work hard for me? Blaming the customer for the inability to succeed is like a craftsman who blames his poor quality on his tools - it makes no sense. Poor craftsmanship is the result of a poor craftsman, not the tools. If the rest of us succeed by putting our money where our mouth is by providing guarantees,"marketing consultants" should as well. Until that time, would-be marketing consultants will not be able to penetrate the small business market - to the harm of both the consultant and small business. Your reaction to my posting is focused on the first paragraphs, and not the last, which I will repeat here: "If you (Small business entrepreneurs) offer (DM) consultants the opportunity of an ongoing relationship >:which will involve your total marketing programs and budget--including testing >:to find the right lists/offer/copy--then I believe your experience with them >:will be more positive. And a deal to "co-maker", with some >:portion of the fee based on performance can also be negotiated in this situation." All consulting clients--multi-nationals and one-man bands--should expect 100% commitment and quality from their suppliers. And poorly executed work should and will be done over again. But the fact is that small businesses are simply not real users of normal management consultants due to lack of time and money budgets. That is why we have "franchised" the national Small Business Institute to inforrm, train and consult small businesses about our proprietary methodologies. I don't know what your business it. But if you discovered that a market segment which ordered your product/services consistently cost you more money then you made, you would probably avoid doing business in that segment.

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What Divine directive exempts "marketing consultants" from dealing with the same lot in life handed to the rest of us?

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