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ADmissions | The Yin and Yang of Successful Marketing

True tales of an Arkansan adman

By Frank Cox, Jr.


Years ago, while working for another marketing firm, I represented an accounting firm and we adopted “Relationships Backed by Performance” as the positioning statement for their firm. As far as I’m concerned, these are values that any successful business should live every day.

Note that there are two sides to this equation. Here’s what I mean: There are thousands of great guitarists in Nashville. Many never make it because, for various reasons, they don’t form relationships with the people who could help them get ahead. At the same time, there are well-connected people in Nashville who want to be superstars but, unfortunately, they just can’t cut it musically. In either case, they desperately want to “make it” in the music business. But they just can’t seem to put both sides of the equation together.

In my own career, I’ve worked with some advertising account managers that were some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. I really loved being around them and they knew how to form great relationships. But in one or two cases, they washed out of the advertising business because their performance was lacking. How? Procrastination. Or lack of follow-through. Or getting the details wrong. Or being a poor communicator. Or simply being an order taker and not taking the initiative to get ahead of their clients, thereby creating and delivering value for the investment the client was making.

The good news is that these folks that I knew landed on their feet, and found a different career path that better suited their particular talents. But for those who can create and nurture strong relationships—and then really, really, really deliver the goods—then the world is their oyster.

Truth is, none of us are perfect. And the notion of Relationships Backed By Performance may be something we can only aspire to. But as aspirations go, I think it would be hard to find a better one.


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