When I first came to USFSB, a marketing company was sharing some of our office space.   It was very convenient to have them nearby and, essentially, we treated them as our in-house marketing department.  We paid them to do our monthly newsletter and various marketing pieces we used for mailers to promote our health insurance and for Member welcome packages.  Due to our close proximity and the work they did for us, we got to know them quite well.  There was the owner and his graphic designer.  To this day, we independently work with the graphic designer for our newsletter and some marketing pieces.

Eventually, Joe hired them, full time, with the idea that they would be even more readily available.   This came about because the owner slowly began to persuade Joe that he could be a real asset to our company if he were there all the time.   He talked about all of the ways he could help us such as creating and implementing new benefit programs to help grow our membership.

On a personal level, I did not like working with this person and I advised Joe not to hire him.   Despite my personal misgivings, Joe did hire him and I never liked the idea.  There was just something about this person that I did not like.  I never felt like he fit into our style and philosophy.  In my opinion, he did one disappointing thing after another.

Over time, he presented us with several new vendor programs and connections and we even started our own in-house tele-marketing for one of our larger vendors.   This eventually became a burdensome and unproductive process which we terminated within a few months.

He also tried to implement various office procedures to try and improve our customer service.    Instead, he created never-ending layers of paperwork for our staff and took up hours of staff time for weekly meetings to ‘train’ everyone on his new procedures.  He seemed to have a knack to ‘talk the talk’, but in my opinion he was all fluff and no substance.   He would start something but never really finish it so that many times we would have to abandon the program for lack of supervision.

Finally, we determined that with our own ideas and visions and, in particular, Joe’s  ideas, we could do our own marketing.  It became clear that too much of our profit was being spent on marketing and it was not resulting in increased membership or income.   Ultimately, we fired him and kept the graphic designer to implement our own ideas.

On a personal level, I was happy that Joe could finally see this marketing person for what he was and in this case, I could say “I told you so!”