Friday, September 25, 2009

Doing the Wrong Thing

Once the "Be the Cowboy, Not the Cow" ad hit the magazines, the 1394 marketing team started getting phone calls from the tech sales people around the nation. They were not calling to congratulate the team on a creative ad. They were calling to complain. The ad was attracting 100s of phone calls from small companies that wanted to develop FireWire products and were not sure were to start. These were companies looking for free samples or looking to purchase a dozen chips. 99% of these companies would be out of business or out of the FireWire business in 12 months. No sales person worth his or her salt wanted to deal with these people. They wanted phone calls from AT&T, Sony, Boeing, Dell, and HP. Not Scooter Trash LLC.

During the next weekly marketing meeting it came out that this is what happened the last time TI ran a 1394 ad. The sales people complained that the ads were generating calls from companies that would never amount to significant business.

We'd generated awareness but among the wrong clientele.

I was reminded of what my B-to-B marketing professor had told the class years earlier. No person should ever go into marketing until he or she had spent some time in sales. Not only did the "engineers turned marketers" lack marketing experience but they lacked sales experience as well.

Suddenly, those dark months of my life I was not willing to share with anyone became valuable. I'd spent 9 months as a telemarketer, calling people at home during dinner every night, selling them something they didn't want and not taking "no" for an answer. Up to that moment, I was ashamed to let anyone know I'd been one of "those people." However, at the moment I learned that the 1394 marketing team had ignored the pleas of tech sales, I suddenly felt that I had yet one more advantage to help me in leading the group. I'd actually done sales and had been pretty good at it.

Moving forward from that day, we never ran another ad. We looked to more effective ways to get the message out. Moving forward, we targeted our promotional efforts to the right clientele.

James Snider is an International Marketing professional, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James spent 15 years in marketing with 7 years working at "for profit" companies and 8 years as executive director of a non-profit.

James is currently looking for employment:

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