90 Days to Success Marketing and Advertising Your Small Business
To get a better understanding of the purpose of this book, let me tell you a bit about its creation. Almost 10 years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and got into the world of advertising sales. It was my first sales job of any kind, so I was excited to soak up any knowledge I could find along the way. I quickly learned to uncover the needs of my potential customers and provide them with solutions. This kind of honest sales approach led me to become one of my company’s top salespeople on the West Coast.
I developed an obsession with advertising. Have you ever had a Yellow Pages sales rep tell you, “No one ever just picks up the Yellow Pages to read them for fun”? They haven’t met Mark Hoxie. My thirst for knowledge led me from one advertising medium to another. I worked in television, radio, direct mail—you name it, I’ve sold it. Each time I changed positions, I would consult my sales team on how to sell against and, more importantly, in unison with other products. I had old customers calling me with marketing questions on a daily basis. I had several begging me to work for them full time as some version of a marketing director. Needless to say, I developed a bit of an ego. My ego was quickly put in check when I learned my father was going to close down the family business back on the East Coast. He’d been in the painting business for almost 30 years and simply was no longer able to make ends meet. The market had changed, other businesses began to undercut him, and he was ready to hang it up. Without much hesitation, I gave up my life as an advertising sales executive in Los Angeles to try to save the family business back in Syracuse. Using my experience selling advertising and growing other people’s businesses, I knew I could turn the company around.
After a complete marketing overhaul, I was able to raise the business from the ashes and bring it back to its former glory. The advertising itch quickly caught up with me. There’s nothing I love more than helping businesses grow through effective marketing and advertising, so I decided to turn the painting business over to my brother and get into consulting.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was out of my league. Most of the advertising consultants I could find had extensive resumes littered with Fortune 500 experience and high-end degrees and MBAs from some of the country’s top universities. Others wrote books. Because I don’t have a fancy degree or experience with multi – national corporations, I decided to take a shot at the latter option. I began to search local bookstores in an attempt to see what kind of books existed for small business marketing. Looking at the authors’ qualifications, I felt like I hit another wall. These guys all had similar qualifications to the other consultants I had researched. They worked in marketing for huge national companies, and all of them had spent years obtaining various degrees and certifications.
And then it hit me like a ton of phonebooks: What do these guys know about marketing and advertising for small businesses? How can they draw any comparisons between marketing a national fast-food chain or automobile brand and the needs of small businesses operating solely in their own backyards? As it turns out, they can’t. The marketing strategies of a national electronics manufacturer have nothing to do with a florist trying to make a living. I’ve helped florists grow their business. I’ve also helped mechanics, lawyers, roofers, accountants, restaurants, and all kinds of other businesses have great success in local and regional markets. Most importantly, I helped saved my family’s business. I pitched this idea to an acquisitions editor at Cengage Learning, and she was sold. Cengage has an excellent series of books dedicated to helping businesses and professionals take on real-world challenges in 90 days, and a marketing and advertising book was a good fit.
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