Sep 01 2011

Generalist? Priceless. Specialist? Worthless.

Marketing, advertising,


PR and sales








An Opinion 


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.



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. 



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.



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. 



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 


# # #

  FREE blog subscription: Posts RSS Feed

  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

  Open Minds Open Doors 

   Thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

No responses yet

May 19 2011


 Every business has two


Organization Charts.


One is invisible!



Whether you’re looking for a job, struggling to keep one, or you’re running the whole dog and pony show, you need to be aware that every business has two power charts. The official organization chart (even if there’s only a small handful of employees) is one. The other is the real one. The real one is invisible, and hard to figure out.

It can be understood even though it’s invisible, but it takes persistent and careful observation of what’s not written down or computer-diagrammed. What? Sounds like a Harry Potter “Invisibility Cloak.”

Why bother? Because it affects who gets hired and fired, who gets promotions and raises, and who gets elbowed out of the action.

And probably needless to say, every professional salesperson and business owner needs to be able to size up and use the power charts of customer/client organizations and prospective customer/clients . . . or be prepared to waste a lot of time, money, and energy chasing after the wrong people.

Decision makers are seldom the check writers.



1. Who supplies the reliable information?

A decision maker or someone having close access to the real decision maker is the source.

2. Who has social contacts with the owner or top management people?

Social connections may have been achieved through long-standing friendships, or a spouse with good connections, or through activities in some political, community, athletic or religious organization. Or they could be more shallow and more short-lived, as with SM.

3. Which long-time employees have quietly cornered power?

Look for someone who has assumed (or been assigned) authority to approve memos, reports, plans, diagrams. Even if their initials on the project mean nothing, by making themselves a part of the approval chain, these (usually) senior employees can delay or kill a project by leaving it quietly on their desks, or in their email hold or inboxes. Negative power, yes, but it’s power nonetheless.

4. Which co-workers have relatives or former bosses in the ownership or top management hierarchy?

They may have realistic expectations of promotions that will turn them into powerful people eventually.

5. Who is currently involved in a co-worker romance?

Of course “fishing off company docks” is never okay or smart, but it happens with greater frequency than most think (including in the White House and California Governor’s mansion). Keep in mind that while some day, the relationship may end, at the moment, you might be faced with a duo commanding power from two different directions in the same business or organization. Once you understand the power structure, you’ll know how to get results and who is really important to your future with the company. . . or with running the company.


Just so you know there’s nothing new about organizational politics and manipulation: The above, with some updating added –believe it or not– appeared in the November 28, 1976 FAMILY WEEKLY as a “JOBMANSHIP” feature by S. R. Redford. Thank you, S.R., wherever you are!     




# # #


Your FREE subscription: Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

Mar 03 2010

You’re paid to make decisions, yes? No? Maybe?

If every decision you face 


is a coin toss, you’d make a 


good referee. But business 


and life decisions demand


 L  E  A  D  E  R  S  H  I  P


     Referees toss coins and make judgement calls about physical actions and movements within physical boundaries. Small business owners and managers must make informed decisions about psychological, mental and emotional  behaviors as well as physical ones, and business has no boundaries.

     Business owners and managers focus on accumulating coins, not tossing them. Referees need 20/20 vision. Business owners and managers require leadership vision. Referees put together all the pieces of a complex, moving jigsaw puzzle. Business leaders never have all the pieces.

     According to the likes of great minds as diverse as Albert Einstein and Henry David Thoreau, all we ever have is limited knowledge. Certainly that’s no truer anywhere than it is in business, especially because daily business decisions revolve around how others think, and we can never know all of what others think.

     Customers, associates, employees, suppliers, competitors, prospects, referrers, professional advisers are all focused groups of individuals with common interests but uncommon (i.e., unique) minds and brainpower. This depth of differences (and the selective perception filters of each) call for decisions that are customized and personalized as much of the time as possible if they are intended to have impact.

     Other than mathematicians, accountants, and engineers, not many careers thrive on rational, logical, objective, unemotional decision making. And EVERY purchase decision–no matter how rational, logical, objective and unemotional (even rocket-ship parts!)–is in fact emotionally-triggered.

     What all this means is that business decision making needs to go FAR beyond refereeing into the land of leadership that recognizes the individuality of emotional platforms and experiences, and that addresses those with respect, grace, and finesse. Decisions are the lifeblood of leadership.

     Making decisions that motivate others to strive wholeheartedly to achieve is what great leaders of the universe have done through the ages. The dynamics apply equally to Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Reagan as they do to Gates, Jobs, and the owners of the successful “Mom and Pop” deli down the street from your home or office.

     It’s probable that there are hundreds if not thousands of factors to be weighed in every small business decision, from investor and government influences to inventories and service supply lines, to the demands of unions, communities and the weather.

     We can only decide based on what’s available to weigh, our related base of experience, the input we get, and our gut instincts. True leaders decide, then move on. Make-believe leaders (usually those of political and big business persuasion) analyze to death then drag out decisions past the point of relevancy.   

     If you own or manage a business, you are paid to make decisions. Coin tossing is simply another form of knee-jerking and winging it. “None of the above” produces decisions that cultivate consistent high impact, long-term results. But leadership does.


# # #


Your FREE subscription: Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

One response so far


Tag Cloud