For years, Contractor was a business partner with Big Yellow. At first, it was a good relationship. Contractor paid Big Yellow a little cash and she brought Contractor business. Everyone was happy, but it would not last.

Contractor’s friends noticed how much business he got from Big Yellow and they decided to horn in on the action. Contractor didn’t have an exclusive relationship with Big Yellow, so she was more than happy to help Contractor’s friends. Contractor got less business because Big Yellow was putting forth just as much effort on behalf of Contractor’s friends as she was on Contractor. He didn’t like that.

Contractor called Big Yellow to complain. “Hey, I thought we were in this together? ‘Win-win,’ you said. I’m paying you more and getting less.”

“Don’t worry sweetie,” replied Big Yellow. “You know you’re my favorite. Let me swing by see what we can work out.”

Contractor gulped. Big Yellow had a way of sashaying into his office wearing a skirt that made it hard to think. She seemed to be able to get him to agree to things.

“Sweetie,” said Big Yellow, “What you need is more column inches.”

“Huh?” replied Contractor after a second’s pause because he was staring at Big Yellow’s skirt.

“You need a full page. None of your friends are anywhere close to that size. You want more effort from me, you need a bigger ad than anyone else,” cooed Big Yellow. “I’ll even put you first in line.”

“This is going to cost me isn’t it?”

“Honey, I’m not like some of your competitors. I don’t give it away.”

Contractor wasn’t sure how she did it, but Big Yellow walked out with a contract for a full page ad. It wasn’t bad. It did work. True to her word, Big Yellow gave Contractor first position and the phone rang and rang… for three months. The weather got mild and Contractor had to hustle to get leads.

Contractor grumbled to Big Yellow about the need to pay her every month for an ad that only put out leads three months of the year. “Don’t blame me for the weather,” Big Yellow told him. “Why don’t you increase the number of listings?”

Against his better judgment Contractor added listings and things got better for a little while. Contractor began to suspect that Big Yellow was telling his friends the same thing she was telling him because more and more added column inches. Then came double trucks and Contractor began to wonder if Big Yellow was too expensive and not exclusive enough. He started to see the relationship as co-dependent and he was ready to become independent.

Contractor began to look for other marketing partners and started to reduce his involvement with Big Yellow. She caught on. She called and called. She begged. She pleaded. She caused a few scenes. His mind was made up. He wanted to let her go.

At a business mixer Contractor met Pay-Per-Click. PPC looked like the complete package. She was fast. She was responsive. She was dazzling. She had glitter and glitz. If Contractor wanted to pay, she would play. Contractor worried a little about getting in over his head with PPC, but discovered this was unlikely to be a concern.

PPC was… complex. She was downright weird at times. Contractor tried to figure her out, but found her extremely time consuming. Still, high maintenance or not, she did put out leads. Moreover, she didn’t need a commitment. He could turn on PPC whenever he wanted and get away from her whenever he wanted. She was ideal.

Contractor learned that PPC was involved with Social Media. Social Media was young. She was hot. She was confusing. Everyone was talking about her, but no one knew how to work with her. Contractor arranged to meet her.

“Like, it’s all about the relationships,” said Social Media as she chewed on a stick of gum. “If you don’t get it, you just don’t get it.”

“I’m trying to,” said Contractor.

“Just be yourself. Open up. Get out there. Engage people,” said Social Media. “Just don’t be like Insurance Salesman. He’s so stuck on himself. It’s all he talks about. That’s why no one invites him to cocktail parties.”

Contractor discovered that Social Media liked to mix with his other marketing partners: Direct Mail, Website, Radio, and Television. She really was into multiple marketing relationships. She even worked with Home Show and Business Card.

Contractor asked Social Media about a funny looking tattoo. “Oh that?” she answered. “That’s a QR Code. All of the marketing girls are getting QR codes. They’re hip. They’re very cool. They make it easy for people to visit Website or to simply call. You outta get one. Even Big Yellow is thinking about a QR.”

Big Yellow! Contractor had forgotten about Big Yellow. He’d become enamored with the hot new PPC and Social Media. He wondered how Big Yellow was getting along. He knew she was aging. He heard she was ill, maybe even dying. “We had a good thing once,” he thought, “I outta check on her.”

When Contractor found Big Yellow, he noticed that she had lost a lot of weight. That’s what illness can do, he thought.

Still, there was something about her that looked good. He finally figured it out. Most of Contractor’s friends turned their backs on Big Yellow when she got ill. Desperate, she grew less demanding. She became more reasonable. If she didn’t have all of the leads she used to have, Contractor didn’t have as many friends vying for attention.

Contractor decided to give Big Yellow another spin. To his surprise, it was like the old days. Big Yellow was delivering once again and quite reasonably. Moreover, the leads Big Yellow delivered tended to be seasoned. They weren’t interested in PPC, Social Media, or even Website. They liked Big Yellow.

Contractor figured the future lay with Social Media and PPC. He was going to stay involved with them. However, Big Yellow had a lot to offer. Sure, she was aging, but she was aging well.

Over the years, Contractor knew one thing. Most of his friends had a herd mentality. When they zigged, Contractor like to zag. With everyone zigging away from Big Yellow, this might be the time to zag back to her, though not as much as before. Contractor discovered he liked having multiple marketing partners.

Contactor was zagging a lot lately. While his friends read the papers and hunkered down to try and save their way to prosperity, Contractor zagged up his marketing budget and took more of his share of leads. This was shaping up to be Contractor’s best year yet.

For more ways to zag, call the Service Roundtable toll free 877.262.3341 and ask for the Comanche Marketing Guide to Business Card Marketing. While you’re on the phone, ask for a free tour of the member side of the Service Roundtable website to get even more marketing ideas.