About Don Warner

Author of Marketing for Smarties: 14 Steps to Sustained Growth

Don Warner has been in marketing, sales, and public relations as an entrepreneur, services provider, and writer in the United States and United Kingdom for over four decades.

Before starting The Planned Growth Company in 1992, Don spent ten years in Anglo-American trade, primarily as an entrepreneur in the computer services industry. He obtained the marketing rights to products, prepared and implemented marketing plans, and often served as the principle salesperson. Customers included many large corporations including Fortune 500 companies as well as federal, state, and local governments. Don's two main companies, Scientific & Business Systems (U.S.) and Software Marketing International (U.K.), were acquired by larger firms.

While living in the United Kingdom, Don founded and managed a marketing consulting firm with major international clients. He also has been a registered representative and public relations consultant with Ruder+Finn Inc., one of the top ten public relations firms in the world. His career began during his sophomore year in college with Compton Advertising, where he helped organize a Motivation Research Department and pioneer in-depth interviews, a forerunner of today's focus groups.

Why I Wrote the Book by Don Warner

Generally, big corporations were the clients or users of my marketing and public relations services or computer software companies for decades. The work was interesting, and I loved the checks. “Look at this,” I often boasted. “I got General Electric to write a check that took money from their bank account and put it in mine.” Yet, over time, I became increasingly restless and uncomfortable. The truth was that whether I lived or died didn’t matter a twisted pretzel to GE, Honeywell, Royal Doulton, London Fog, or to the other household names to whom I gave the best of my time and talents. I wanted to do something that helped people.

An article I read around 1991 about small businesses in the New York Metropolitan Region reported that there were then, as I recall, something like 500,000 businesses with ten employees or less in the region. The statistic knocked me out. “Now there’s an underserved market if ever there were one,” I thought.

I bought a list, and started calling and writing to owners. Before long, I discovered that more often than not, owners knew little or nothing about marketing and had no line for it in their budgets, frequently because they had no money. Often, helping them figure out what they could do themselves was the only support that could be given. If they had money, my firm could provide some services, usually, not always, fairly limited in extent. Either way, enormous amounts of time were spent educating owners about marketing, helping them understand that it’s a business process. Just as business processes are needed for manufacturing the product or configuring services, marketing is a function that also requires a business process to support it. The difference is that marketing is the only function that directly affects the top line — sales revenues.

In time, I came to believe that the way I was going about trying to help small businesses made no financial sense for them or my own business, which seemed to be fulfilling my list broker’s prediction that I would wind-up in poverty. What was needed was a book, a short book, a short how-to book that would layout the process in plain English. The book — along with supporting materials and perhaps some coaching — would enable owners to pick-up marketing on the fly, as they do most activities.

It took fourteen months to write, develop, and print Marketing for Smarties Workbook. The first copies were delivered in January 2003. Toolshed, worksheets from the workbook on a CD, were produced at the same time. A month later, marketing began. The rest, as they say, is history.


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