~ Providing Personalized Marketing and Public Relations to Help Build Revenue ~
Questions & Answers: A Conversation with Rick Phillips of Phillips & Associates

Q. How has marketing changed since you began Phillips & Associates back in 1982?

A. Certainly the tools of marketing have changed. But I don't believe the fundamentals have changed even an iota. In the early '80s, computers were the size of buses, and were used only by giant corporations pretty much to store and kick out data. Then, the most critical tools for newspapers, magazines and printers were an Exacto knife and rubber cement. I used to "dummy up" advertisements and newsletter layouts cartoon-style, with boxes and squiggly lines and stick characters scribbled all over. Today, we can give a client an exact replica of what we have in mind without resorting to caveman stylings.

Q. You mentioned the fundamentals of marketing haven't changed. What are the fundamentals?

A. The first set of fundamentals of marketing is the same as that of business: you have to know your business, understand who your potential customers are, and recognize what they want. The object of marketing -- no matter what business you're in -- is to establish an awareness and a perception for your product or service, and persuade targeted publics to respond.

Q. Seems most people can't tell when "Marketing" ends and "Sales" begins. Can you clarify the difference?

A. Marketing consists of a variety of disciplines that assists a Company develop its product or service, create tools to convey its message, and promulgate that message in a persuasive manner to potential customers. All the tools of influencing people are created, designed and produced by marketing people with the purpose of preparing Sales people with what they need to approach customers firsthand.

Sales people are not necessarily concerned about designing, building or imaging a product. Their attention is on presenting the finished product to as many targeted prospects as they can, and assist those potential buyers with their purchases. Marketing comes into play again AFTER the sale by helping Sales keep track of previous buyers and influencing them to remain repeat customers or referral sources. . .

Good marketing people can also help a Company's executives innovate and envision business opportunities and revenue-producing options.

Q. Why should a Company hire an outside firm like yours to assist in marketing?

A. Company executives who best understand the value of marketing realize the importance of having access to professionals with a keen acumen for business.
Marketing, when done properly by those who understand it best, can make a substantial impact on a Company's revenue.

Marketing people can make the difference between substantial profit and absorbing a loss.

Hiring Phillips & Associates, for instance, allows a Company to have at its side a fresh perspective and a great deal of experience for an affordable cost. The gain outweighs the cost every time.

Q. What's your number-one challenge in getting Companies to hire Phillips & Associates?

A. Well, it's not easy talking to decision makers. Also, the term "marketing" has been such a misnomer over the years that it has confused people. "Marketing" has been used as a euphemism for telemarketing and other unrelated jobs. Some businesses call their sales people "marketing." Even shopping at the grocery store is known as "marketing." (laughs)

Some Companies hire a graphic artist to assemble ads and think they have "marketing" covered for the Company... It's a wise business executive who understands what his/her Company stands to gain by deploying a strategic marketing plan executed by experienced professionals.

Q. What do you enjoy most about marketing?

A. I enjoy most providing marketing and business ideas that help clients make money and improve lives. In short, being useful and effective.

Q. Over your career, you've probably encountered some interesting marketing assignments. Do you have any favorites?

A. There have been some interesting duties. I ended up driving Jack Nicklaus around in a golf cart after setting up a media interview. I'm an old caddie, and Jack has a soft spot for caddies, so, we hit it off talking about looping. It was three days after Tom Watson famously beat Jack in the U.S. Open, so, I wisely avoided that subject. If you're not careful, Jack can truly be a Bear. I sensed that his tolerance for stupid was minimal, so I avoided that Golden Bear trap. (laughs)

Q. Ever meet any movie stars or singers?

A. Somehow, a lot of renowned and notorious people have crossed my path through marketing. I once had the pleasure of physically removing Connie Stevens from the basket of a hot-air balloon. It was after one of my PR stunts. I remember not being in any hurry to put her down on her feet... I interviewed Lorne Greene, photographed Trini Lopez and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., and discussed marketing with author George Plimpton. I've met a bunch of tennis greats, including Connors and McEnroe. I also did a few promotions with political candidates such as Governor Jeb Bush, Bob Dole and Al Gore's wife Tipper just a week before the 2000 election.

Q. If you had to do it over again, would you pursue marketing as your chosen profession?

A. No. I'd want to become a major league catcher. It's the simplest path to the big leagues and to fame and fortune. You can make any team's payroll just by hitting .250!