What Marketers And Detectives Have In Common


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Taking a cue from Melanie Kissell, today’s post is dedicated to sharing a little bit about me, and what my career would be like if I had pursued the career dreams of a 10-year old Stacy Ryan.

In my post Has Your Business Jumped The Shark?I shared that I grew up with a TV for a babysitter.  In addition to the sitcoms, my favorite shows were all the police/detective shows.  I distinctly remember watching shows like Adam-12, Kojak, Columbo, Baretta, and The Rockford Files with my parents.  I also enjoyed watched Starsky & Hutch, Vega$, Magnum PI, and Charlie’s Angels.  And the trend continues to this day, with some of my favorite shows being Castle, NCIS, and CSI.

What’s my fascination with these shows?  I’m really not sure, though there’s a certain excitement with analyzing the evidence to solve a crime, and the satisfaction of arresting the bad guys and putting them away!  Yet, while I liked the police work idea, I went to school to study marketing — a natural talent I possessed and enjoy to this day.

In April 1993, while I was in grad school, I went back to visit several friends from my college days, both students and coworkers at a local radio station — WACO 100, in Waco, Texas.  After giving my friend Margaret a big hug, she grabbed my hand and said “C’mon Stacy, you’re coming with me.  I know you like being where the boys are!”  A little confused and yet intrigued at the same time, I followed.  What happened next was one of the most memorable experiences of my life…and could have changed my life completely.

Margaret and I picked up a LOT of pizzas.  When I say “a LOT” of pizzas, I mean we FILLED the back seat of her large sedan with them!  Along the way we stopped at several security checkpoints and handed pizzas to the men standing guard.  Then we passed “satellite city,” where trucks from every major news outlet waited silently for alerts and updates.  Our final stop was a small building with sheriff’s deputies at the ready, shotguns in hand.  Where were we?  The headquarters for the FBI/ATF Branch Davidian compound raid. 

We baked chocolate chip cookies and talked with the guys when they took breaks.  The stories (not about THAT operation, of course) were amazing, and they ignited all those feelings I had been holding onto for years — that this would be a very cool job.  One of the SACs (Special Agent in Charge) mentioned that the FBI was actively recruiting women, and I should consider applying.

Consider applying I did!  I had the application in my hands for years after graduating, and never completed it for two reasons:  1)  I wasn’t sure I would pass the physical tests; and 2) I didn’t want to end up someplace like Iowa.  (Apologies to any readers in or from Iowa, though my college roommate moved there and her descriptions didn’t exactly put the state on my “must see” list.)

Now flash-forward to 2007, and I learn that the FBI has a “Citizens’ Academy” where a select group of individuals from the community are invited to attend an 8-week “course” to learn about the inner workings of the FBI.  The Academy is taught by agents in various divisions of the FBI, and it was AMAZING!  In a very real way, I had an opportunity to experience those childhood dreams of being in law enforcement.  I got to learn about the FBI, how it worked, some of the cases they’ve solved, and I also get to attend some behind-the-scenes tours and special events.  Some of these events I can’t tell you about…sorry!  😉

It wasn’t until after the Academy that I realized I do a certain amount of detective work every day in my business.  I research my best customers, find and share best practices, analyze marketing campaigns and fine-tune them…in other words, I am living my childhood dream…just a different version of it.

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