Numero P

Over 20 years ago my first boss told me on my first day at work to completely forget everything I had learned, read or been told at university. He then showed me the bookshelf in his office which he had filled with advertising and marketing books written by the industry’s greatest creative minds.

My boss’s advice was simple; “Read all of these books and one day you’ll start to understand what it takes to succeed in this industry”. So I did. I read all of them. It took me ages, but eventually I purchased and read all of them. In fact, to this day my bookshelf at home is full of the same books plus many more I have discovered since. I have passed that same advice on to everyone who has ever worked for me. “You want to get anywhere in life, you need to read about the world you are in”.

When I set up my own creative agency, I wanted to do what all the great advertising greats had done. I wanted to publish my own book. Having invested so much time, money and effort in obtaining the copyright and trademarks for ‘The Dirty Dozen’ I was adamant I was going to leverage them for my book. With this in mind I called my book ‘A Dozen Words of Wisdom’.

The Dirty Dozen consisted of 12 agency partners, who were all experts at what they did. Behind the Dirty Dozen was a lead generation company, who through no fault of their own had picked up a poor reputation in the industry. This was largely due to their competitors constantly over promising and under delivering.

This company had a huge database of marketing decision makers and a team of excellent new business prospectors. They knew exactly how to capture the attention and imagination of clients on behalf of the agencies they were representing. They were lead generators. They would open doors for agencies, which would in turn lead to briefs. For this service they would charge a fee and command a percentage of the revenue resulting from the introduction.

I persuaded this company to help generate new business leads for The Dirty Dozen free of charge. In return, I agreed to PR their success story amongst my industry peers and introduce them directly to my partner agencies after a period of 12 months. In short, prove how good you are, and I will help introduce you to more agencies who have a negative perception of lead generation companies.

Leveraging the database of my new business consultancy, I sent an email to 5,000 CEOs, Managing Directors and senior marketing decision makers asking them to provide a ‘quote of inspiration’ for young entrepreneurs wishing to start a career in marketing or set up their own company. The creative challenge was that it could be no more than a dozen words.

I received nearly 500 replies. Too many to wade through myself. So I sent all the replies to my strategic partner of The Dirty Dozen and asked them to help me segment the responses into a ‘dozen’ trends that could later form the chapters of my book. In return for their support I would acknowledge them in the book that would eventually be printed and sent to all the clients whose quotes were featured. Essentially, free advertising.

Once my strategic agency helped me identify a dozen chapters, I then sent all the quotes to my design partner of The Dirty Dozen who agreed to help bring to life the quotes via illustration and rights free imagery.

Once the design had been finalized, I then sent the artwork to my print partner of The Dirty Dozen who would showcase the printing capabilities of their company by printing 2,400 copies of my book, at the highest possible standard for the lowest possible price. Once the books had been printed and collated, I then briefed my digital partner of The Dirty Dozen to build me a promotional website with links to Amazon.

I then briefed my content production partner of The Dirty Dozen to produce a one-minute promotional video to create awareness of the book via social media and then finally my PR partner of The Dirty Dozen to help me create awareness of the book in the marketing press.

Not many people have published a book. My book is my calling card. Signed copies sit in the bathroom of my nearest and dearest friends and family. Many copies also sit on the desk or in the office of anyone important who has ever interviewed me or worked with me. Why? Because within it are quotes of inspiration. Some of the UK’s top CEOs, Managing Directors, CMOs, Marketing Directors, marketing decision makers and creative people have shared the secret to their success…in no more than a dozen words.

All I did was write the introduction page, self-publish the book and set myself up as a seller on Amazon. 1,200 books were sent to Amazon. Around 300 books were sent to everyone who kindly provided a quote and were featured in the book. 600 books were distributed evenly amongst all my partner agencies to use for their own new business prospecting once my company had shut down. Finally, I kept hold of 100 copies – 50 copies of which were sent to creative agencies I was interested in working at once I wound down the company at the end of the financial year.

Publishing a book is not as hard as you think if you have the contacts to help you do it. To have the contacts you need to continually grow your network. LinkedIn is the perfect place to find people. You just need the confidence to ask them for help.

Copyright © Matthew Parkes 2020

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