AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerNo Response Doesn’t Mean No

Subscribe to AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

No Response Doesn’t Mean No

I ran across a letter I received years ago from a two-time applicant for a TV station sales manager job. I saved the letter, because when I give talks about marketing, it’s an example of one of my hiring philosophies.

The letter rebuked me for not getting back to the person after a very positive interview.  Little did the person know, that was my test.

Here’s my viewpoint: When you hire someone for any sales position, you hope when they find an interested party (called a lead) they don’t just sit back and wait. I wanted to see what this person would do next. I was a hot lead  at that time with a clear problem that needed solving. Even when you are actively recruiting for a position, you measure interest by the other person’s actions, responses, questions and overall interest. To me that goes to “good fit.”  Yes, I was actively recruiting for the position, but that recruiting needs to be reciprocated.

When I interview anyone for our marketing firm, one of my secret-sauce questions is, “Do you like sales?” If the person says no, the interview (in my mind) is over. We sell ideas, feelings, brands, messages, storyboards, vision boards, logo concepts and scripts to target audiences all day long. If you don’t like sales, you will not like life in a marketing and fundraising agency. 

And now that digital has brought data to the forefront, the sales game is more measurable than ever for marketing and fundraising firms. The lesson from all of this is that you should never be afraid to show someone you are really interested in their business, their contribution or their collaboration. Sometimes no response doesn’t mean no, it means keep showing your interest (in unique and interesting ways).

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.