From time to time, we have all been disappointed by someone selling marketing advice and services, who it turns out has no business doing so. Mostly you only find out once you have engaged them and spent the money.

Here is a way I have always protected myself from people like this. 

When hiring people to do any kind of direct marketing, I have always made a point of only working with people who are willing to be paid on results. I am not looking to pay any less, in fact I am prepared to be more than generous with suppliers who put in all the work needed to have a positive impact. But I am not prepared to hire people who may or may not give me their best efforts and want me to take all the risk.

At the end of the day, I want to know when I engage someone to help me grow my revenues, they have enough confidence in what they are doing, that they are willing take some of the risk and participate in the upside. Giving me their best is in their best interests because if they do well, we all gain. If they don’t put in the effort or perform at the necessary level, their only downside is lost time.

Here is some very sound advice about evaluating marketing advice from Bob Bly. Bob writes a great direct response newsletter that is full of practical ideas.


There’s a ton of seminars, conferences, books, Web sites, articles, and e-zines being published today about all facets of marketing, both online or offline. But it’s not easy to determine which are worthwhile.

Solution: When you read the material or listen to the program, watch for certain buzzwords.

If material repeats these over and over again – “branding,” “image,” “planning,” “strategy,” “vision,” “touch,””creative,” “customer experience,” and “awareness” – the speaker or author has likely not generated direct sales for any product or service through advertising, and his or her advice may be suspect.

On the other hand, if you hear terms like “response,” “ROI,” “break-even,” “cost per acquisition,” and “dollars per name,” the speaker or author is probably a direct marketer who actually knows how to create advertising that sells, and may be worth listening to.