About Us

The Marketing Machine® . . . What’s in a name?

Some think The Marketing Machine® originated as a nickname for Joe Krueger. And there’s a thread of truth to that. But, actually, it was the title of a talk that I gave in 1979 when I was President (for the fifth time over a 17-year history) of the San Francisco Direct Marketing Club.

Behind the title of the talk was the concept that racked up literally billions in sales for Joseph A. Krueger & Associates’ clients and dozens of marketing and advertising awards.

The concept was – and is — direct response marketing.

Direct marketing concepts of course were not new then. The idea just hadn’t caught on with most agencies and direct marketing was all that we did.

The big budgets of major corporations allowed us to perfect our techniques.

Our goal was to make the results of advertising and marketing predictable. And our methodology was systematic testing and “course corrections” of the media or lists, the offer and the creative execution, based on successive results.

We accumulated considerable knowledge and perfected our techniques largely as the result of work on behalf of major corporations with national markets and large budgets.

But we felt we could find ways to provide smaller companies with advantages in their marketing. We trademarked The Marketing Machine® and began taking on smaller clients.

We enter a new arena with spectacular results.

In 1989 we entered into a consulting relationship with the Martin Agency, based in Richmond, Virginia. They had acquired three companies with complementary skillsets and wanted to forge them into a direct response division. One of the companies had a large base of banks and we had a wealth of experience with banking markets and products.

So we agreed to take on the creative responsibilities and, once the agency reached profitability, we would expand our syndicated efforts as The Marketing Machine® on behalf of smaller clients, with regional banks as our first target industry.

Our two-year contract stretched into four years of exciting and award-winning success after success. Among the awards were more DM Echos, Golden Mailboxes and the coveted American Marketing Association “Effie” and, for Virginia the “Caples” award, in honor of the legendary John Caples, for her copywriting.

In all, we had now tallied over $4.5 Billion in sales for clients and campaigns that shattered the records for response.

We fire the banks.

Unfortunately, a lot of the work we had pioneered in “database marketing” with Wells Fargo and First Interstate Banks was now being abused by banks on a wholesale scale to the detriment of customers.

As a result we ceased doing work for financial institutions and revised our plans for The Marketing Machine®.

Smaller businesses get new opportunities thanks to the internet.

With the advent of the Worldwide Web and the emergence of social media, the opportunities for smaller businesses to compete with their larger counterparts — even around the world — are now greater and less risky than ever before.

Which brings us to what this website is all about – helping businesses develop and take advantage of a variety of direct marketing strategies to generate a predictable flow of leads and sales.

Who can take best advantage of The Marketing Machine® training courses?

While we consider the material in all our training courses to be widely applicable, it is aimed at a particular individual.

You’re that person if you are . . .

  • A small business owner. In this case, you could be a sole proprietor but you are more likely to have an established business with somewhere between 10 and 20, maybe even 50 employees.
  • An owner whose business provides professional services. You might be an attorney, an accountant, an insurance professional or a real estate professional – that is, you’re seeking clients with a long-term relationship potential.
  • An owner who believes that marketing is essential for success. (We have found that not all professionals fully understand or even believe in the value of marketing!)
  • An owner who is prepared to hire professionals and direct the marketing effort for the business (though you probably aren’t going to do it all yourself).
  • Someone who has already tried a number of marketing tactics but never as part of an overall marketing strategy.

As a small business owner you now have access to the same marketing technology as do your much larger competitors — from authority marketing to social media and writing white papers as well as everything in between. You need to know which to use for YOUR business.

We have assembled a collection of marketing essentials aimed at providing you with the tools for success and the knowledge about how to pick the right ones for your business. Some materials are overviews. Some are much more specific.

And yes, we recognize that the internet and tools of the marketing world are constantly changing. As a result, we’re updating and adding continually.

If you’re that determined business owner, you can pick and choose from our courses to find just what you need right now. You can put the information to work on your own schedule and at your own speed.

Throughout all the materials, you’ll find some common threads.

  • Emphasis on Direct Marketing, because good direct marketing moves people to take action. Nothing happens until they do.
  • Understanding your “ideal client” and aiming all your marketing messages at that person. Marketing that appeals to everyone is wasted.
  • Being clear on how your business is unique, and, if necessary, making changes to make it unique.
  • Taking advantages of your strengths while recognizing your weaknesses and not wasting time on them.
  • Operating according to your marketing plan – to make decisions easier and faster, and avoid falling for the latest sales gimmick. We use the word “systematic” in our tagline, and the concept of planning and process occurs in all materials.

This should give you a good idea of what you’ll find at The Marketing Machine Group. If you’re interested in more personal details about us, feel free to visit our personal websites.



And at any time, don’t hesitate to contact us personally. We are real people and welcome a call or an email to start the conversation.

To your marketing success,

Joe Krueger & Virginia Nicols