maybe I need a wizard

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As some of you may know I’m in the process of searching for a marketing job. So I’ve been contacting a lot of different companies following up on job leads. This post is about closed organizations. I consider a closed organization one where the barriers to entry for getting basic information are VERY high. I’ve recently dealt with two companies that I consider closed. The first is Scripps Networks, they produce/own the TV shows HGTV, Fine Living, DIY, etc. They have some pretty on demand shows, and they’ve grown a ton. However, they make it hard for people to join their ranks. Like most people I try to do research on a position before I apply for it, I like to find out who I’ll report to, and what they’ve done, and general company info. So I was doing research on the position that was listed on the Scripps website. I couldn’t find the information I was looking for on Google so I figured I’d just call them up directly. I received at the time the curtest treatment I’ve ever received when I was asking about a job – a posted job. Basically, the receptionist told me that the information I was asking about, wasn’t public knowledge and never would be and I couldn’t know it. So you’re thinking it’s some top-secret trade secret right? Nope, just the name of the Director of Innovation. Not their email, or phone number just the name. I find that ridiculous.

The second company is Lynskey Performance Designs. They are based in Chattanooga, TN and they make great custom titanium road and mountain-bike frames. To the tune of a few thousand dollars each for the frame only. So I stopped in at their shop one day to hopefully talk with the Director of Marketing. Well attempted to. The first sign is that you can’t walk in their building. You can see in the door, but you have to get buzzed in from their receptionist. Who WILL give you the third degree before she lets you in. My session with her went like this:

Her: “Name and who are you with”
Me: “Hi I’m Gavin Baker, and I was just hoping to look at your bikes”
Her: “We don’t sell bikes, this is a manufacturing facility”
Me: “I’m sorry, I thought you made custom bike frames? I was just hoping to see one”
Her: “We don’t have any you can look at”
Me: “Oh, well I was just hoping to see a couple. I was just driving past on my way down to Atlanta.”
Her: “From where?”
Me: “Knoxville, TN”
Her: “I’ll see if someone can talk to you”

A couple of notes, I was able to talk to their sales manager, and he showed me a couple of their bikes, and they are beautiful and well crafted for sure. And I appreciate the time he gave me. But I want to break a few things down.

First she can’t see me. So she doesn’t know if I’m Joe Blow, or I am the most important client she’s ever talked to. Secondly, if I owned a company that made CUSTOM frames and someone stopped in to see them, you better believe I’ll show them a few. This isn’t the corner bike shop, we are talking about thousands of dollars per sale. Turning away dollars at the door is not a great strategy. Personally, I think Lynskey should open their shop up, say come on by. Create an owner community. It’s not unheard of for people that custom order cars to fly to the factory to drive it off the lot, or Saturn owners to show up in droves to see where their car was built. The same will hold true of people that are buying a custom frame. Would all that many people stop by, maybe not. The one’s that did, would probably be in the percentage to share with EVERYONE their great experience, and their great bike, and how awesome it is. WOM straight and simple. Maybe it wouldn’t be that many people, but they wouldn’t lose potential customers in the process.

So from my experience with these two companies I’ve become jaded. I sit here and think, these two companies want good people to work with and for them, but they make it incredibly hard for anyone to get to them. Should it be the yellow brick road? Certainly not, but should it be the Great Wall of China?

Have a great day.

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