April 25, 2014

This week I will play foreign correspondent…While I rarely travel much internationally, I will brag that I’ve spent the last two weeks in Germany, Prague, Vienna and Budapest.

Poor me! ūüôā

I will confess that I was not “stationed” on any¬†dangerous battlefields and I am far from roughing it…

However,¬†there were some street vendors who seemed a bit dangerous in my travels…

And there was also one who I want to bring back to the U.S. to teach “street smart entrepreneurship.” Not sure she would get through customs though…

And¬†thank goodness that as I am¬†writing today from Budapest, I’m not writing in Hungarian. That’s a¬†difficult language! After “dumpling” I was lost!

I have a tough enough time with English…but I’ll give that my best shot now…

I’ve had some thoughts on this trip regarding how we look for marketing talent and then adapt it to our businesses…and of course a few quotes from friends and mentors came to mind…

An investment banker said to me recently:

“Advertising opportunities are now infinite.”

That just blew me away.

After spending my entire career knowing exactly where to find the experts I needed in every aspect of direct marketing, the fact that the choices are now more vast and more specialized than ever¬†got me thinking about the dangers of “one stop shopping.”

I wouldn’t do it then…and I certainly wouldn’t do it now.

Not to make any agency folks feel bad but even in the era of “finite advertising opportunities,” I never met an agency of any kind that I liked very much.

I learned early–especially when it came to copywriters–that any great copywriter who¬†was working in an agency (when they could be making ten times their salary as a successful freelancer if they were really good) was not at the top of my list as a prospect to write for me.

And the same was true for every aspect of marketing…media buying, database and list segmentation, purchasing and production…even then it was an era of specialists.

Now it’s gotten crazy…and anyone who tells you they can handle all of your marketing needs with one-stop shopping is someone you should run away from …quickly.

Those of you who know me know that I am really a very nice guy…and I respect every person’s talent and their ability to make a difference in their own business and with¬†other businesses.

But to be frank, when it comes to “buying marketing intelligence,” trying to get it from one place means you will settle for mediocrity in one or more areas.

Actually, I think the level of mediocrity could be multiplied¬†since you have not ¬†spent the time to¬†focus and¬†hire only “best in class.”

This may seem like a fairly simple point I’m making…but I believe it’s the make or break in terms of how you sell and market in a world that is as noisy as ever…and a world that demands excellence.

Dick Benson taught me the value of true outsourcing at a very young age:

“Brian…do what you do best and buy everything else around the corner…and never settle for second best.”

I think the same thing would be true if I translated that into Hungarian…

Until next week.

Warmly,

Brian

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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