What is a brochure? An ad? A radio commercial? A website? You get 5 points if you said they’re all marketing communications channels. But they’re also something more. You can’t be everywhere, and that includes everywhere your prospective customers are. So you develop materials such as ads and brochures to stand in for you. In … Read more


Whenever I visit the State Fair or any kind of exposition such as the Flower and Patio Show, I always gravitate to the booths where the people we once knew as hucksters are giving demonstrations. I genuinely enjoy their sales pitches, and they provide some excellent reminders for my professional life.

What does someone selling a set of pots and pans, eyeglass cleaner, or a high-horsepower blender have to offer to a copywriter? Plenty.

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The men and women who sell advertising are among the nicest people you will ever meet. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll also tell you that I’m a salesman’s kid, so I have a soft spot for good salespeople. Many of them have a genuine interest in you and your company’s success, and want to do everything within their power to help you make that happen. But if you’re going to regard salespeople as trusted advisors, please don’t lose sight of who employs them and how they are compensated.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice, or even accepting it when it’s handed to you without a request. But before you base your decision on the advice, stop to ask yourself whether the person who provided it has a stake in what you’ll do.

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Most business owners and managers are eager to find good advice – and that makes sense. If someone else has expertise, why not borrow it (or at least consider it) when you’re making an important decision?

But when you ask for that advice (or when it’s handed to you without a request), stop to ask yourself whether the source has a stake in the advice.

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