An Unsurpassed Guide to Making Sound Business Decisions.
It was 6:08pm and 18 degrees outside. I was exhausted, hungry, and cold but knew I should stop at the mailbox one block from my home to check the mail. The idea of the freezing whistling wind outside gave me chills before I felt it. Winter in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, can be tough. It gets dark at 4pm and the darkness hangs around like a persistent solicitor that you just want to tell to “get lost”. I was feeling low and extremely uninspired when I opened my mailbox to find a multitude of bromidic junk mail. The lack of the advertising creativity brought me down an additional level of dejection. I shuffled through the letters, post cards, and ads when I saw at the bottom of the stack, a bight yellow Rotary Magazine. I turned on the interior lights of my truck to enjoy the blasting heat in my car for a minute longer and thumb through the magazine. One page stood out with a colorful graphic that enticed me to read further. The design read in big bold boxes, “Truth, Fair, Goodwill, Beneficial.” As an owner of an Advertising Agency, I was drawn in. The article was titled, The Trusted Way, by Patrick Galvin. As a Rotarian, Truth, Fair, Goodwill and Beneficial are words that should act as a staple in my day-to-day.
“Adopted by Rotary 80 years ago, The Four-Way Test remains an unsurpassed guide to making sound ethical decisions,” it read.
I began to ask myself how that Four-Way Test guides me when I am not pledging it in my weekly meetings….
Four-Way Test creator, Herbert J. Taylor, wrote this ethical measuring stick. “Of the things we think, say and do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
I have owned Knock Marketing and Design with my husband, David Fleischman, for over 16 years and in those years, we have spent the better part of our lives working with start-ups, businesses that want a competitive edge over their competitors and businesses that need to stay at the top of their field. Start-up businesses can be hard; they have a business idea but don’t know how to deploy it for public consumption. Some business plans and concepts are sound, well thought out, have a starting budget, understand it takes time and they TRUST their experienced Marketing Agency. Unfortunately, some lack one or all those successful qualities.
What should a marketing company do when they see red flags that may diminish any or all marketing efforts? What responsibility do we have to a client that we feel might not be ready for the next business step without dampening their spirit? Should we take on a client we have doubts about just to meet monthly sales goals?
The Four-Way Test has been ingrained in me. So much that I didn’t even realize how much I use it.
Our approach is simple. We are honest and truthful with our potential clients. We discuss our concerns. We walk them through the steps to get to where they need to be to move forward. We hold their hand. We offer sound advice. We give them homework and a path forward to success. We are fair with their budget. We explain what they can do to prepare for the next phase of their business when they are ready. We form goodwill relationships and bonds. We are a safe place to help grow until it is beneficial to start their marketing journey. We wait for the right time.
We have had many opportunities to use the Four-Way Test and it shows in our long-lasting client relationships. It shows in clients that have been with us for over 10-15 years. It shows in the results we help them achieve.
“The only thing ethical decision-making requires is a desire to do the right thing and a simple test that brings out the best in every person who uses it.” -Patrick Galvin.