From the moment I joined the Wizard of Ads group, I was immediately attracted to our organization’s rallying cry that there’s a better way than serving The Fortune 500. One of the biggest reasons of which is there’s 500 of them and almost 6 million of the others.
To be precise, there are 5.91 million businesses with fewer than 100 employees in the United States, and over the two decades since my belief in small businesses has guided me when it comes to choosing clients to work with. Along the way, I created the manifesto below, which I call my formal Declaration of Independents. Check it out…
What do I mean by “independent” when making this declaration?
1. Owner-Operated Businesses – Mom and Pop types that are not part of the Fortune 500.
I hold this truth to be self-evident: that I only want independent business owners as clients!
2. Companies that are not publicly traded and only put a group of shareholders ahead of customers, even if those shareholders are employees. When employees act as stakeholders in the company, they feel they get a “say” in how the marketing budget is spent, which is why I prefer –
3. Companies not operated by “committee.”
There’s a saying in business from Barnett Cocks, a British clerk of the House of Commons: “A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”
All too true. This committee is full of people who know what ads sound like because they’ve been watching them and listening to them all their lives! If a business is too big or run by too many people, the temptation becomes to just use the same old worn out ineffective approach.
The tried is rarely true anymore. Conventional wisdom is mostly conventional without much wisdom.
No wonder business owners are confused and scared. They face an uncertain future with the proverbial deck stacked against them – and all but a few marketing consultants willing to take on the challenge.
Strong branding fills that void. Our work takes the best advice from Madison Avenue’s gurus and distills those marketing concepts down to something manageable by Mom and Pop companies. Most of the time, though, we just buck trends entirely and make up new rules for successful marketing. We prefer unconventional wisdom. We’re rebels and underdogs, just like those guys forging a new country.
Revolutions, though, can be back-breaking work. What we’re doing here is branding and bringing folks over to our way of thinking. It takes diligence but it can be tiresome. There are tweaks and constant tinkering. It’s a marathon with no finish line. But I prefer it to the apologetic little dance some ad guys have to do to please the Board of Directors, the stockholders and the “committee.”
Knowing I’m doing my best to keep a family business in business helps me sleep better at night. And, from what I hear, that family sleeps better too.