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How Marketing Could Have Helped Tommy Boy

How Marketing Could Have Helped Tommy Boy
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'There's two types of smarts: book smarts, which wave bye-bye to you long time ago, and there's street-smarts, the ability to read people. And you know how to do that.' (know your strengths)

If you're not familiar with the movie comedy, Tommy Boy, you can see the official trailer before continuing to read.

As one of the best sales movies of all time, the story details the sales trip of Tommy Callahan and his colleague/childhood friend, Richard, as they venture out together to save Callahan Auto Parts, the family business. Keep in mind Tommy has no sales training, marketing training or business sense - which is what makes this movie so funny and relevant to the headline.

When I think of this as a sales movie, my mind automatically goes to: "What if Tommy had marketing help along the way? How much faster could Tommy have made his first sale if he had only had marketing support?"

"You can get a good look at a butcher's ass by sticking your head up there. But, wouldn't you rather take his word for it?" "No wait, it's gotta be your bull." (Share your story)

What makes sales and marketing interesting in real life, is the way they work together. Both are involved in creating personas and identifying customer pain points. Together marketing and sales can map the customer journey so marketing can provide the most relevant content at each critical stage. Identifying when a lead will be handed to sales, sales will have confidence in the quality of that lead since they were part of the process.

While this movie is funny, it also has a realism to it from a marketing and sales perspective. It's a challenge to learn your product, stay current on product changes, engage with prospects and clients while making sales.

Marketing helps with product awareness (paid ads), FAQ (blog), engagement (social media), lead generation (webinars), lead nurturing (drip emails), purchases (testimonials and case studies) and so many other ways.

Marketing needs sales and sales needs marketing. It's just that simple.

That's where Tommy struggled - he volunteered for a sales job that 1) he didn't have the training for and 2) he didn't have marketing support.

Since this movie was made in 1995, he wouldn't have had all the marketing options we have today with social media and technology to take matters into his own hands. He could have, however, tried to emulate the relationships his father created with clients. And he did. But as this video shows, he failed over and over.

And that's ONE way to learn. But, how can you make sales less frustrating and create higher chances of success? Marketing.

His father made deals based on relationships and his ability to read people. As Richard said to Tommy "You're not your dad. He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves." (building trust and relationships)

Could Marketing have helped Tommy with Sales?

YES, ABSOLUTELY!! much harder could his job have been? I mean really??

He was literally trying to save a company by selling a product he wasn't familiar with, or understand the product value, customer needs, existing customer relationships or why they chose Callahan parts.

You can make selling easier with marketing.

"That thing in the back seat. It's not an air freshner. It's a rotting deer carcass. We should be in and out of this one in no time." ~Richard (think strategically)

Most small businesses are challenged by sales and/or marketing. Few are successful in both yet both are needed to BE successful.

So, here are 5 marketing efforts someone in the office at Callahan Auto COULD HAVE done to help take some of the pressure off losing the family business and 300 jobs - and you can, too.

Today, it should be easier with technology, social media, email and the various ways to connect with people, right?

If that's a true statement, why don't more small business leaders NOT do some of these (often easy) marketing tactics?

It comes down to time, resources and money.

When a small business owner knows what marketing he/she needs, one of the above is usually the reason they don't act on it.

"The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser and your daughter's knocked up. I've seen it a hundred times." - Tommy (tell a story)

But why do they struggle generating quality leads?

Because they know they don't have money in the budget to hire a full-time marketing leader to create the strategy, get the right people involved then implement the plan and monitor the results that they really need in order to grow their business.

What they don't realize is there are part-time, temporary marketing resources that can help now - without the full-time cost or commitment. It's a solution to the problem.

Sometimes you have to be creative and devise a solution that works for you - not one that's common.

Marketing that supports company goals and sales efforts is what makes businesses grow and evolve. You just need a plan.

"I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull's ass, but I'd rather take a butcher's word for it." - Tommy (when you're prepared, you make the sale)

That's it. If the T-bone is sales and the bull's ass is marketing.

No wait, it's gotta be your bull.

Need help with your marketing? Let's chat!

Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio with over 20 years of marketing leadership experience. She's the founder of KenKay Marketing, a marketing solutions company founded in 2011. Vicki hosts Connect the Dots a marketing and sales educational podcast for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. She recently launched a new podcast with her Gen Z daughters, The Power of 3X, to help individuals who want to learn about the youngest generation. You will find Vicki on most social media platforms but you'll find her mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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