Selling marketing services to entrepreneurs.

June 3, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

So, I’m reading Seth Godin’s blog about how to read a business book. He linked to the 800-CEO-read blog for May 16, 2008, What is Wrong With Business Books?! – Part II which quoted rather freely from the anonymous “Uncle Saul” at In a post called The Author’s Dilemma – Why Most Business Books Suck Uncle Saul said:

Entrepreneurs Need Tactical Guidance Obsessing about strategy is a luxury that only Big Dumb Companies (“BDC’s”) can afford. Entrepreneurs must define a series of skirmishes, they do not need to devise elaborate battle plans. Entrepreneurs need only develop a basic strategy and craft an evolving and iterative tactical plan which guides them in the general direction dictated by their overall strategy. Although a few books attempt to act as entrepreneurial field guides that offer tactics in specific areas (e.g., selling, marketing, PR, etc.), their usefulness is often limited. Books that highlight tactics are valuable for entrepreneurs whose specific circumstances match those outlined in the text. However, specific tactics are often difficult to translate into markets outside of those described in such books.

Entrepreneurs Have Corporate ADD A pithy format, offering bite-sized data, serves entrepreneurs well. If you prefer to pour through 400-page academic tomes, you may be a nice person, but you are probably not an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs “Get It” Consistent with their Corporate ADD, entrepreneurs tend to excel at digesting numerous disparate facts and making quick, gestalt decisions. This inherent impatience causes entrepreneurs to quickly become frustrated with books that repeatedly reinforce their central point through multiple examples, analogies and anecdotes.

Entrepreneurs Are Contrarians In general, the use of multiple examples is an appropriate means of convincing someone to change their behavior. However, since most entrepreneurs have no allegiance to the status quo, they find books which rely on numerous examples as a means of changing the reader’s behavior to be frustrating and largely irrelevant.

And I’m thinking, Seth Godin writes/sells books. I get why this is important to him, but it’s also important to marketing agencies, consultants and service providers who are selling to entrepreneurs. Let’s break it down.

Entrepreneurs Need Tactical Guidance When I’m coaching, I talk to entrepreneurs about three step strategic plans — pick a problem, solve it, pick another problem. The flipside for agencies is pitch a solution, deliver it, pitch another solution.

Entrepreneurs Have Corporate ADD KISS. If your pitch takes more than 5 minutes it’s doomed. Bullet point the cool stuff, leave the details for Q&A.

Entrepreneurs “Get It” Show what you’ve done to produce results. Don’t show a ton of examples.

Entrepreneurs Are Contrarians Entrepreneurs make products that appeal to early adopters. Their customers are contrarians, too.

Bottom line: know who you’re pitching before you make the pitch. Entrepreneurs are different from serial entrepreneurs, who are different from professional managers or second generation owners.


Entry filed under: CEO coach, digital strategy, marketing, marketing coach, sales. Tags: , , , , , , .

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