Over 1 billion sold.
In 1981, I launched an advertising agency with no clients.
I poured through the Palm Beach County newspaper to see what clients spent the most on advertising. Car Dealers were number one, banks number two and real estate developers a close third. I had met an agency president who worked for car dealers and he looked to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown or the receipt of a mafia hit—so I ruled out the
I decided to run an ad myself, and to direct it to bankers and builders.
“Free media buying workshop—a must attend event for
all banking and real estate advertisers–The most important
free lunch you will ever have. Learn how to spend your ad dollars wisely in the newspaper and on Television and see
how creative messages can turn a small budget into big sales—Wednesday noon at the Holiday Inn Business Center.”
My little ad filled a conference room with marketing directors
eager to get more from their advertising. I introduced them
to the concept of branding. What is the difference between
a Rolex and a Timex? The audience laughed in recognition.
“They both keep time about the same,” I said, “ So why pay thousands more for a Rolex?” Ask yourselves if your advertising creative is building perceived value into your brand, as well as driving customers.
I then showed them on a chalkboard how they could negotiate
rates between TV stations competing in the same market.
“Ask your sales rep to provide audience figures in thousands,
not ratings or percentages. Now divide the proposed cost by
the thousands of viewers delivered. Now that you know you
should be paying $8 per thousand viewers in our market, you
can begin to negotiate!”
My common sense approach immediately landed the area’s
largest homebuilder and (one year later, the area’s largest bank ) I was in business! I methodically sought and hired the best art directors I could find to illustrate the headlines I wrote, and to execute our ads with a design panache that infused branding value. I negotiated like a lion for my clients large and small, and became a favorite of the local media, because of my logical reasons for setting prices and especially for paying bills quickly.
three years, I was managing the accounts for the largest resort community developers in Florida and getting calls from developers in exotic resort locations such as Indonesia, St.John B.V.I. and Costa Rica. Within two decades I
had helped clients sell over a billion dollars worth of golf course homes, oceanfront condominiums, and townhomes with docks for luxury yachts. I got to see much of the world, and work with legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer
and Gary Player. I built a roster of “A list” clients. One ad campaign even
set a record by selling 864 condominiums in one day!
Today, thirty five years later, I continue to provide marketing
consulting and to write ad campaigns. The mediums have changed: The Internet, of course has eclipsed traditional media, but the foundational principals of brand building imagery, selling with memorable stories, and fair media negotiation have not. A small client with a memorable creative campaign can still outperform a large client with a pedestrian ad campaign.