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Do I have your attention? Good.

The subject of this post is not to insult your marketing, of course, but to report on a recent event a couple of us here at the Workshed HQ had the opportunity to attend. Our good friend, Joe Graves, of Joseph Graves Capital Management invited us over to his place to hear Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks, Your Management Sucks and God is a Salesman, speak to a small crowd of local business folks right here in little old Camas.

I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t read Mr. Stevens’ works prior to attending this little workshop, and I had this thought in the back of my head that went something like, “I do this stuff for a living… why would I want to listen to someone tell me how to do my job?

Alas, I don’t know everything and I have learned over time that I can gain insight and wisdom from hearing other people’s perspectives, no matter who is speaking. Mark did not disappoint. I found everything he said to be somewhat vindicating of how we approach working with our clients, how we run our business and the culture we try to instill in our business. Of course, like any other business, we still have room for improvement and lots of work to do inroads of making things as great as they can possibly be. But it is often hard to know that all of our decisions are the right ones until we’ve lived with them for awhile. I can say that I will now be acquiring copies of his books for immediate consumption.

Most of Stevens’ beliefs center around throwing conventional wisdom out the door, breaking the rules and building strong relationships with your colleagues, employees and clients. He spoke about everything from marketing, to attracting and retaining clients, to treating employees and clients like family and even how he selects employees to work for his own company. I recommend checking out his books to any business out there, as they will provide a new perspective on how to grow and manage your business better.

While Stevens has been criticized for not having any truly new ideas, I do think that one must take his audience into consideration. He’s not speaking to marketers, agencies and strategists—he’s trying to educate the small business owners so they know how to communicate with and select the companies that will ultimately help them make their marketing not suck.

Thanks to Joe Graves for setting this up and inviting us over — it was definitely a worthwhile use of time!