Generalist? Priceless. Specialist? Worthless.

Published by

Marketing, advertising,

 

PR and sales

                                  

industry-specific 

 

experience?

                  

Worthless.

 

An Opinion 

SALES

Give me a guy who can sell ketchup, propane, decorative plants, dental insurance, or rubberbands any day over a techie geek to sell your iPads, TVs, Wii programs, or Kindles. Geeks sell geeks. Sales pros sell people. Why think small when your opportunities are big? The geek market is small. Find people who are experts at serving customers, and teach them product/service knowledge.

Looking for an exceptional salesperson for your new snack products? Stop looking in the snack product industry. Find someone who sells railroad cars full of dorm furniture to universities. Surgical supplies? Get your search engine out of the med school dropout arena and find a classy cosmetics presenter with a sparkling, eager-to-learn  personality.

Oh, and remember that great salespeople don’t make great sales managers. Only great managers make great sales managers.

                                                 

PR

Find a freelance writer who has some psychology background and who can write some slam-bang persuasive headlines and sentences for all kinds of products and services– someone who is tenacious in follow-up efforts. Forget about established, specialist PR firms and groups who tend to be more interested in their names than yours. 

The public relations field is a breeding ground for con artists. I’ve seen top PR firms charge $25,000 a month and produce zero. If they can’t make what you have to sell be exciting, you lose. If they can’t follow up fanatically to get writers, reporters, editors, producers, and publishers pouncing on your story, you lose. You can teach someone with diverse quality PR experience about your industry media. 

                                            

ADVERTISING

Skip right over any provider who claims expertise in your field, unless you’re willing to spend lots of money to make no impact. Hospital advertising is a great example. It’s pathetic. Does “Excellent People” and “We Care” float your boat? Hospitals and banks are the perfect examples of advertising waste.

Get a person or small team on board who want to help you make a difference, who know how to ignite and cultivate creative thinking applications that get results. Just because something looks nice and is clever or informative doesn’t mean that it works. It may only mean that the agency is seeking to win a design award.

Don’t settle. Do your homework and due diligence. Then teach her/him/them about your business and industry.

                                    

MARKETING

Not “marketing” like healthcare people think: physician office visits with armsful of popcorn, candy, 6-foot subs, sports and concert tickets. That’s called payola, as in bring ’em gifts and they’ll prescribe or recommend or buy your products. It’s also called bribery, and it borders on STARK Law and other ethical violation issues. 

And not marketing like Fortune 500 companies hellbent on analysis paralysis before even considering a potential packaging design, pricing structure, promotional flyer, merchandising gimmick or ad headline. Part of why big companies have too much at stake to be entrepreneurial has to do with the astronomically wasted expenses involved in frivolous product and service development and meaningless market research.

You don’t need an army of “experienced (Fill in any specialty here) marketing pros.” You need a person or small team who have a proven track-record for producing results in a variety of fields. Diversity, flexibility, and common sense abilities to work with an Objective/Strategy/Tactics framework in all types of media are what count more than “industry-specific.”

P.S. Beware “Social Media Marketing Experts” who don’t understand marketing. There are plenty of them. 

                                    

THE KEY

It’s easy to teach experienced marketing/advertising/sales/PR people what they need to know about your product or service to most effectively represent it. But it’s nearly impossible to teach industry and professional practice-specific experienced people how to market, advertise, publicize and sell.

                                        

Specialization Closes Minds 

                                        

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