IT ALL STARTED AT ADRIAN COLLEGE
I entered Adrian College in a fog (not that kind of fog!)…not having any idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I did have a little artistic talent so I registered as an “Art Major”. My very first art class I sat next to, what is now, one of the most talented and respected artists in western Michigan. This was one of the most devastating moments in my life. I could not come close to the talent that this young lady possessed.
Looking back…this was a real gift. It was apparent that I did not have the DNA required to make a useful living in art. So I switched majors to Business & Marketing. I still see Cheryl occasionally in Kalamazoo and still thank her for sitting next to me!
Later at Adrian College, I took a business class that contained a section on computers and we actually did a little programming in Cobol. I thought this was pretty cool. I could tell that I did not want to be a programmer. But it did give me a glimpse into the tools that would change the way we do business.
That fascinated me.
I then entered into a career in management at a well known, Midwest, men’s retail chain. I was head of the committee to research and deploy their first point-of-sale (POS) system. Again, the opportunity to streamline a, transaction heavy, business fascinated me.
I met the love of my life, Nancy, at Adrian College and we have been blessed with two incredible children. Derek is a Major and Foreign Area Officer in the US Army and Lindsay retired from a leadership position in private education to raise her boys, Colt & Vince. Both are married and Derek & his wife Araceli have blessed Nancy and me with two wonderful boys, Jack and Paul. Lindsay and husband Sterling now live near Indianapolis.
Back to business. Fast Forward
After several entrepreneur efforts, in the mid-nineties I become interested again in the web and its ability to streamline all the transactional stuff that holds business back. Industrial sales & marketing is basically a transactional exercise. There are lots of moving parts & pieces that come together to make a sales organization successful.
In 2005 I founded a web development company to help industrial companies take advantage of the changing face of online search. Again, I could see that Google was actually streamlining the classic industrial buy cycle and I wanted to be part of that.
Think about it. There used to be 6 to 7 classic buy cycles…recognition of a problem, research, reach out…& so on. In 2010, GlobalSpec outlined four distinct stages of the industrial buy cycle; Needs awareness, research, consideration & comparison and finally, procurement. Google has single handedly compressed these 4 stages from weeks & months to minutes.
Then my world really got interesting.
I became an inbound marketing practitioner & evangelist. Inbound marketing, is a term created by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, the founders of HubSpot. When I read their book, Inbound Marketing, it all came together:
- No more shouting to your customer. No more interruptive marketing.
- Honesty and transparency wins in the age of search, social & mobile. (Sorry, I have been blessed with the “curse of morality”. Thanks Mom & Dad!)
- Measurement and accountability rule.
- Answering your customer questions & solving their challenges is the best marketing of all.
Again…I see the web as a “tool” that has transformational power to dramatically change the way industrial marketers “go to market”…generate leads and close deals.
This blog is dedicated to that principle. And…yea, I am still pretty good at the yo-yo.
PS: Thanks to Stan Krajenke, my Adrian College room mate, for the picture.
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