The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon

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The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon

Category: Business and Finance
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: What it says on the tin - this is the story (warts and all) of setting up, running and selling a marketing agency. Sounds dry? Don't you believe it. David Croydon popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Hilltop Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0953685066

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In 1985 David Croydon and a couple of his colleagues were in employment but they were spending some of the working hours setting up their own company which would be in competition with their current employers. All's fair in love and the world of sales promotion and Marketing Principles was born the following year. The title of the book is taken from the in-house newsletter published twice a year by their creative department to debunk anyone who worked for the agency and judging by what David Croydon has to say they must have had a lot of material to choose from. If I had to pick one word to describe this book it's scurrilous, so if the title of the book suggests that the content might be rather dry, then think again.

Before I started reading it struck me that what had happened had happened some time ago. Times have changed. Governments have come and gone and some laws have changed. I was expecting something mildly interesting and informative to anyone running a small business and if, like me, you had a background dealing with companies large and small then so much the better. Pencil and notebook at the ready I settled down prepared to be educated.

Er, yes. Well, I was educated. I probably have met the word vomitorium before but never in the context of a book about business. I'm sure that it was entirely coincidental that much of the business which Marketing Principles took on was in the sector which might be characterised as booze and fags. It's not so much that you would describe alcohol as close to their hearts - it was more a danger to their liver. Croydon, Stid and the Cat were joined by Gaylord as the Creative Director and whilst there can be no doubt that they worked hard they played hard too. Very hard.

It's not a straight-line narrative about what happened, with themes being covered and jumps back and forth in time accommodated in the story. It works well with only the odd repetition and I've read comic novels which engaged my interest to a lesser extent. It's politically incorrect, scurrilous and quite probably actionable in places - but it's a damned good read. How useful is it as a business book? Pretty good I'd say. Croydon is forthcoming about what went wrong (but perhaps not as fulsome about what went right as I would have liked) and brutally honest about what could have been done differently. You'll probably be able to add in a few things which you think they ought to have done differently too.

There are plenty of pointers which you can direct at your own business (before, during or after...) and it would be an unusual businessman who didn't find the book thought-provoking. Writing the book was cathartic for Croydon and you might think that he was unfortunate in that a LOT of things went wrong for him - fraud by a director, another director who defected, a sale of the business which proved less than satisfactory gives you a flavour of what went on - or you might argue that there should have been better planning. I doubt that Croydon would disagree - this isn't by any stretch of the imagination a misery memoir and he's made the mistakes so you don't have to.

I'd like to thank the author for dropping a copy into the Bookbag.

For another view about starting your own business have a look at Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson (but I prefer David Croydon's approach!)

Buy The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Unprincipled: The Unvarnished Truth About Running a Marketing Agency - from Start-up to Sell-out by David Croydon at Amazon.com.


Bookinterviews.jpg David Croydon was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

You can find out more about David Croydon here.

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