Are You Building a Company or Just Laying “Marketing Brick”?

Posted by James Obermayer on Sep 15, 2015 11:09:00 AM

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Building a Company

There’s a quote by Charles M. Schwab that goes like this:

Three men were laying brick. The first was asked: "What are you doing?" He answered: "Laying some brick." The second man was asked: "What are you working for?" He answered: "Five dollars a day." The third man was asked: "What are you doing?" He answered: "I am helping to build a great cathedral."

My question is, which are you? Are you laying marketing brick at $30-60 bucks an hour or building a business you can be proud of?

Are you building a business with your lead generation efforts that drive sales or are you spending the company’s money on tactics that have tepid responses? Do you avidly measure your results or decline to look at the stats for weeks or months after the fact? Are you simply concerned with the lead count versus the qualified lead count?

Why it's importantEarly in my marketing career I was just laying marketing brick for a basic wage. It was a job that was occasionally stimulating. I spent eight hours a day at it and no more. Then a media rep for a magazine asked me about responses to programs, return on investment, and sales lead follow-up. I had no answers. Until then, I didn’t have a mentor so I didn’t know what to look for or how to measure lead gen campaigns.

This media rep became my mentor. He didn’t make me feel stupid. He just taught me what to look for and how to measure responses. He recommended a sales lead management service (predecessor to CRM systems); showed me the reports; told me why it was important; and from there I started building something of value for Beckman Instruments—my employer at the time. I built market share and got an increasing piece of the sales reps’ time. And while they could have sold other products in the company, they instead started selling more and more of our division’s products. In the process, I built a reputation.

Why it mattersI became an over-confident wise-ass that was liked by sales, but not as popular with marketers in other divisions of the company. At the time I didn’t care very much that other marketers “didn’t see the light,” but I care very much now. I learned that building something of value meant contributing to the company’s success in a measurable manner. I learned how to increase follow-up; measure ROI for campaigns; increase the lead count; and create qualified leads.

This attitude of building something was appealing. And measuring it was proof of my worth. Through the years I learned that lead count takes a back seat to lead quality; follow-up trumps any other sales activity; and measurement of ROI is as equally important as the other two.

James Allen, author of the literary essay, As a Man Thinkethi, wrote, “Until thought is linked to purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment.” And it’s from this same piece that we get his most famous statement: “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”

Maybe you're thinking, hey, lighten up, it’s only marketing. Marketing’s purpose, however, is to create wealth for its company—create demand—manage the demand—create acceptance in the market place—create a successful sales channel—and create personal satisfaction in building a company by his or her conscious thought. According to Allen, “A man is literally what he thinks,” and if you are just laying marketing brick for a wage, it’s hard to realize you could be building something more important … until you think about it. 


Jim ObermayerToday's blog was submitted by James Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting. James is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.

iAllen, James, As a Man Thinketh, 1903. Available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kindle, and even free on the internet.

IiThe photo rights were purchased from iStock.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

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