Sunday, February 27, 2005

"Eighty percent of success is showing up" Woody Allen

From The Sunday Times an excellent observation on the success of Sir Martin Sorrell, to wit:

Persistence pays

ASK Sir Martin Sorrell about his average week and you will typically get a description of several towns and cities in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. And that, in my mind, is the secret of Sorrell’s and WPP’s success. The indefatigable chief executive of the world’s soon-to-be biggest advertising and marketing group simply cares more, and puts in more hard yards than his competitors. It has been that way for WPP’s 20 years of existence and its strong financial results last week showed it is paying off. “WPP isn’t a matter of life or death for me, it’s more important than that,” Sorrell half-joked recently.

An executive recounted to me what it is like to be pitched to by WPP for an advertising account. First, Sorrell himself turns up. It could be some Godforsaken place in the Mid-West of America, but Sorrell will be there. Second, he is extremely knowledgeable about your business and its competitors. He has probably met your boss. Third, he relentlessly pursues you after the pitch has finished: e-mails, phone calls, and even dropping by your office. You can’t help thinking, this man runs WPP, he must have better things to do. But then you think, hey, maybe I’m that important to him. He wants my business so badly, I’ll give it to him.

And even then, Sorrell does not go away. Former Viacom chief executive Mel Karmazin said: “It doesn’t matter what time it is. If he didn’t get back to me in 15 minutes, I’d call to see if he’d been injured.”