David Lamb is a marketing strategist, media veteran, entrepreneur, and speaker. As founder of David Lamb Marketing, he leads a digital marketing firm focused on helping businesses get noticed and gain traction in a loud and crowded marketplace by utilizing proven marketing processes and strategies.
As a former news anchor and radio host, for 25-years David had the honor of meeting many amazing leaders including George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Michael Jordan.
David is also a highly sought speaker to faith, business, and civic groups. David and his wife Sonya make their home in Birmingham, Alabama and are the proud parents of Jessica, Isabella, and Will.
3:22– A little on my career path
6:00– What are you doing now with David Lamb Marketing?
9:28– A twist in my story
15:08– A word of advice
26:30– The 4:23 question
Full Transcript:
Ray: Hello, everyone. This is Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. And if you’re new to the program, we’d like to just welcome you for your first venture in the interview of Bottom Line Faith. We have an incredible guest lined up today. And if you are a regular listener here at the program, you know that this, and the analogy we like to use is this is where we like to lift the hood and we’re going to tinker around like a good old mechanic in the engine of Christian leadership. We travel the country and we interview some of the top Christian business and marketplace leaders. We learn their stories; we learn how they succeed; we learn how they fail; we learn how they integrate their faith every day in the marketplace. So check us out at bottomlinefaith.org. That is the website. You can subscribe at the iTunes Store, Google Play Stitcher, all the places that you need to check out the Bottom Line Faith podcast; you can subscribe there. Also, if you are a Christ-follower, and you’re interested in connecting a community of other Christ-followers who are leading businesses to God’s glory, check out the Truth At Work roundtables; go visit our website at truthatwork.org. That is the presenting ministry for the Bottom Line Faith podcast.
Well, folks, I am so excited I am in one of my favorite cities in America. I am in Birmingham, Alabama. If you’re a long-time listener here at Bottom Line Faith, you know we’ve interviewed several, we’ve talked about the Bible Belt, and this is not only the Bible Belt, I think this is the polished brass in the center of the Bible Belt. And God has just positioned some amazing Christian business leaders in this community. And I’m so excited to be down here in Birmingham. We’re going to be conducting an interview this morning with David Lamb. David is the CEO and founder of David Lamb Marketing. You guys are going to be encouraged; you’re going to be blessed; you’re going to be fired up to learn about David and his story and the journey that God has had him on David, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
David: Hey, Ray, thank you so much. Glad to be here. Good to see you again. And welcome back to Birmingham.
Ray: I love it. I love it.
David: There’s no place like it.
Ray: We were talking, David, before we came on the air here that we kind of reversed roles because a few years ago I was honored to be interviewed on your program, your radio program; we’re going to talk about your career pathway. But so what’s it feel like to be on the other side of the microphone?
David: It’s not as much fun. I like being on the other side of this, this microphone and interviewing folks. So it’s a little different this way.
Ray: So we want you all to imagine we’ve got this incredibly bright spotlight shining down on David, he’s being interrogated, not really. But it’s fun to think that. David, God has really, we were talking about platforms. Before we started recording, we were talking about the platforms of ministry that God gives us. So God has given you some amazing platforms in your career. Why don’t you just give us an overview of kind of your career path and what you’ve done, and then we’ll talk about what you’re doing now and moving forward? But kind of how’s God got you to where you’re at.
David: You know, God has been incredibly faithful to me. I’m the 7th of 10 children. My dad was a serial entrepreneur, and he moved us to Birmingham in 1980 for business and actually passed away a year later, but we were here in Birmingham and, and my mom wanted to stay here and we kind of set up shop, ended up going to the University of Alabama, getting a degree in broadcast journalism, and fortunate enough, a news anchor here in town at the CBS affiliate in Birmingham for a number of years. And the NBC affiliate also in Huntsville had a radio show here in Birmingham as well. So a long way from, from, from where we grew up. And, and as I look at that career, it is, it’s amazing to me kind of where I started and, and, and where God led me to. Certainly, God gives you much better than you deserve and, and really proud of my, you know, that, that broadcast portion of my career whenever I got to meet folks like you.
Ray: And so you’ve had a chance to really have an incredible platform. Tell us a little bit about some of those positions that you had in media, and then I also want to kind of go down the pathway, what was it like as a follower of Christ to be working in, in media?
David: Yeah, yeah, I was a news anchor. I’ve been an anchor at the local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates and got to meet, you know, all of my heroes, many presidents and sports stars and billionaires you know, I mean, just incredible opportunities and access to those folks. You know, one of the things that I believe how God used that time in my life is, you know, I’m the 7th of 10, little runt kid and here I’m hanging out you know with George W. Bush and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and Michael Jordan, you know, and so one of the things I think he kind of taught me through that is you know they’re folks, and they have challenges just like all of us, you know. And they’re, you know, God will open those doors so that opportunity to do that and I was an anchor for a good long a good long while until the Lord made sure that I know it was time to do something else.
Ray: Folks, we are we are speaking with David Lamb, CEO and founder of David Lamb Marketing. Let’s talk a little bit; we’ll come back to some of those things, transition points in your career and lessons learned, but what are you doing now with David Lamb Marketing? It’s pretty, pretty exciting stuff.
David: It is, you know, what we do, we’re a digital marketing firm and, and just helping our clients. It is amazing technology that’s available today and the opportunities that are available with marketing. I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, and I’ve kind of dabbled in PR and marketing, even while I was on air, but really what we do, we help businesses tell their stories. That’s what we do. That’s what to me, that’s what marketing is. It starts you know, with a great company with a great story, you know. You start there, but we help folks get noticed. The marketplace is incredibly noisy, and there’s a lot of racket. So you know, we’re privileged to just have some incredible clients and help clients that do their job incredibly well get noticed. And that’s where you got to start. You know, you’ve got to have you’ve got to be a difference maker once you get noticed, but we just help folks get noticed in a busy and loud marketplace.
Ray: I would imagine, too, that because at the essence of what you’re doing is storytelling, right? It’s communications; our Heavenly Father is the ultimate communicator, right? And so would you talk a little bit about the ministry platform that this is allowing you? Because when we’re talking about stories being told, we’ve got to listen to the story of the person who wants to get their story told. So in the process of that, in engaging in people’s stories, your clients’ stories, how, how has God allowed that to be a platform for ministry?
David: Yeah, you know, especially for men, I’ve always had, I started leading a Bible study whenever I was 16 years old, and it was my football team in high school. And that’s a long time ago now, and, and I consistently lead studies and Bible studies with men. I love kind of getting in the nitty gritty with guys, and I really feel a calling to do that, but I feel a calling in the marketplace. And I think in terms of faithfulness to God, if you can help a guy with his family, like, if there’s an issue with his family, or you can help a guy with his business, he’ll open his heart to you. And through businesses, you know, a problem, you know, when we come in, and a business that struggling and they’re not getting noticed, and sales are dipping down, you know, those, the vulnerability to admit that and to reach out for help, they’re at a point to where, from a ministry standpoint, you’re really able to help them and build a relationship.
And, you know, I’ve got incredible relationships with, with my clients, because help me out of a ditch, you got a friend for life. And, and, and that, and those ditches with all of us are often business, professional career, and personal, you know, with a marriage or with a child and, and guys open their heart and for me that that’s the platform; that’s why God has me here. You know, I mean, I love what I do. I enjoy it. I enjoy the work, but really, it’s still ministry, you know, One of my favorite quotes from Patrick Morley, wrote Man in the Mirror, he says you will never lock eyes with a man or an individual that does not need discipling; everybody you meet needs to be discipled. And so every interaction, every conversation is an opportunity for discipleship.
Ray: But it always hasn’t been so rosy for you. You had a season, you were talking about your career path, and broadcasting was really going well, you probably were admired by a lot of people like, hey, this guy’s meeting with presidents and the athletes and so forth. But there was a twist that kind of got you in a ditch. Would you would you share that story with us?
David: Sure, and I think all of us have these ditches, and we think that we’re the only ones who go through these things. You know, I had a career in broadcasting, but the fact of the matter is that I had a speech impediment for a number of years. And so for me, even whenever I was a child, and could not say my L’s and R’s, and every time I use them, people would laugh. I would never imagine that that kid would grow up to broadcast for hundreds of thousands of people every night, right? But that child and what God did then, it really was preparation for kind of how God leads us through life. And, and the God who was faithful then was faithful to another. Whenever, whenever I was at a CBS affiliate, I was an anchor here, and honestly, Ray, I was miserable. I was, I don’t know if it was burnout. I really think God was trying to move me somewhere else. And I had an entrepreneurial dream, but I was making more money than I’d ever made, my family was comfortable. You know, I come from humble beginnings. So, you know, we’re thankful to not have you know not have the boot on the throat. Why would I throw this away and chase a dream? And I just kept putting it off, until the day that my boss called me in and I got fired.
Ray: Did you see it coming?
David: No. I didn’t at all.
Ray: Wow. Okay.
David: But what was odd about it is I’m telling you, as soon as I’m getting the news, I was relieved because it was like, alright, God’s in control, and he’s up to something. And, and my life after that, you know, that was that day, no one likes being fired, right? That’s not fun for anyone. Right? But, but where God led me to from that, it’s, it’s so much, it’s so much greater. But I would have stayed there. I don’t know if I had the guts or the courage to quit something that was so comfortable for me, you know, to go out on this crazy dream and this idea of God. And I think the Lord had to push me or I don’t think I would have walked out the door.
Ray: It was time for that eagle to be pushed out of the nest. Let me, let me just camp there, just for a moment, though. You’re at the by the world standards, at the epitome in many regards, right? You’re high profile, great income you just described, hey, my family was comfortable, right? And I don’t know about you. In fact, I think I do know about you because you do talk a lot of people, as do I. I hear that story over and over and over again. I think part of it’s our American culture, right, this American dream, you had succeeded there. Why do you think that the word was miserable? What was making you miserable in the midst of what everyone most everyone would say was success? What was at the core of that, do you think?
David: Yeah, you know, I think there are seasons in our lives. You know, God has us in certain places, but he doesn’t want us to stay there, right? You know, if you look at scripture, you know, God moves people, right? And there’s a season to be here. But then there’s a time where he wants to move us elsewhere. It’s growth; it’s maturity as a believer, it’s, it’s maturing as a business leader. And it actually is God increasing your territory and your influence. And, and there are steps of faith with that. Whenever I could go in and anchor a newscast and just do it blindfolded; it was so easy for me, it didn’t require any faith; I’d done thousands of them, right? So that whole, that comfort, and that complacency, and the apathy, whenever, you know, like Mark Bateson says, you know, the size of your vision reveals the size of your God. Whenever I was–
Ray: That’s awesome. Would you say that one more time? That is awesome.
David: The size of your vision reveals the size of your God. And I think when we get so comfortable, and we can do it all on ourselves, we get to the point to where we don’t really need God, right? We’ve got under control. It’s all; it’s all our, it’s our success. It’s our platform. It’s nice, and you’re just cruising. But I think you know, God, and I don’t know, God’s a big dreamer. You know, God has us to a place and sometimes allows us to be miserable, to disciple us and for us to grow. And, and, you know, the scary part of leaving comfort to launch something new, where I knew if we were going to make it, it was totally God. There was no, there was no, you know, the next step after that, the next day, when I got up, you know, and I had to figure this out, my dependence on God just went through the roof. And, and I think he, he loves that because then he can write an incredible story. He is the author and finisher of our faith. We think we’re the authors of it, right? We’re the captains of our own ship, as long as things are going well. But when that ship runs aground, you know, then you, you, you get to the end of yourself. But you get to the point to where God has to take control. And you depend on him.
Ray: So what advice would you have? What word of encouragement would you have? You know, one of our goals here at Bottom Line Faith is if God gives us the platform, and this program right now is being listened to by tens and maybe hundreds of thousands, that’s great. That’s great. But our real heart here, our real desire is that one person. So there may be someone listening right now, David, who maybe they’re comfortable, but they’re miserable. Maybe that God has been nudging them, maybe he’s given them an idea, maybe for a new business, a new season, maybe moving overseas to a mission. I have no idea what it might be. But somebody’s listening to this, they know because you can feel it in your spirit right now. So David, what encouragement, what word of advice would you have for that person who’s been wrestling with this yeah, but what if?
David: You know, I think you’ve got to go back to God’s Word. And, and there there’s one thing to have to be foolish and jump off a cliff and do something that just makes no sense, right? Surround yourself with incredible people of faith, believers who have many more gray hairs then you do, who’ve been there, done that, lived through it, survived, excelled. I’ve always been blessed to have good people in my life, and, and the need for them, so surround yourself with them. But also, you know, pay attention to Scripture. And the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and of a sound mind. You know, the Word says to be anxious for nothing. It’s one thing to be paralyzed by fear. Okay, that’s, that’s one thing, but to have people surrounding you, who tell you, okay, go talk to this before you do that. Go talk to this person and do that.
There’s a difference between being paralyzed by fear and, and the necessary and prudent wise advice and counsel, right? Don’t sacrifice one for the other. And, you know, I, I had dreams of what I wanted to do. As I was there, you know, the whole question of if money was no object, what would you be doing? If you had asked me that then, I had a long list of ideas. And, and I think again, you know, it, it was for that season, God had me where he wanted me, but he wanted to move me to a new season, into a new place. And, and that takes faith, and it took greater faith than I had at the time. But fortunately, God is so good in his grace, right? That he never leaves us. And he does lead us. God is faithful to lead. You surround yourself with quality people and hang on to his Word. And then the other thing, you know, if you’re, if you’re married, you know, the counsel of your wife, nobody knows you better than her, good and bad, right? So, so talk it out with her. Let her know what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what you’re going through, the problem, you know, really have those uncomfortable conversations. Let her tell you yeah, you know, that’s not where you’re strong, right? And, you know, I think sometimes we think our spouses are just being negative, you know, but they know us better than anybody.
Ray: Yeah, they sure do. And what was that like? On that note, I was actually, one thing I was thinking about, as I was listening to your story. What was that like when you came home and told your, your bride that, hey, God’s freed up my future?
David: Believe it or not, she knew that I wasn’t, that I would probably never have left that. And she, she, she saw that as, as good news, believe it or not. My wife’s an accountant. Right? So it’s all I mean, life is black and white and bottom line to her. And that should have been a good enough hint for me.
Ray: Well, she knows you, she loves you. She saw that; she saw that, that frustration, she saw that, you know, and she loves you. And it sounds like God was already speaking and preparing her heart as well. As you look forward, as you kind of are in this chapter and looking forward in your journey with Christ and in business, what do you see? What do you think God is saying to you for the future?
David: I think there are a number of Christian business leaders, believers who are businessmen who are on the bench and need to get in the game, right, that are kind of analysis paralysis, and they’re sitting out, and they’re waiting for just the opportunity and what I feel like they’re waiting for is for there to be no absence of faith necessary. Make it completely obvious. I mean, when you started Truth At Work, how, you know, there had to be a moment where it was a step of faith.
Ray: Oh, yeah,
David: Right?
Ray: It was a huge season, not just a moment, but a season.
David: And, and what I find fascinating is, if you, any great business story of someone starting something, all of them have those moments, right, where we have to leave something comfortable, where I think it’s a good idea, you name it, you know, the Facebook, Google, all of those stories, all the great stories, it comes to that moment to where it requires a step of faith, and you have to put it all on the line. There is no easy road. But the great thing about it as a believer is that no matter how hard or difficult the road, we serve a God that is always with us. And I, and I know I’m going to jump ahead a little, you, in the broadcast, talking about one of my favorite scriptures, guard your heart; it’s the wellspring of life.
But I think those fears, what, what, what, what is going on in our heart? Like, what is the root issue as to why you don’t want to start that business, right? Does it have to do with your capabilities or the lack thereof? Are you really asking, hey, God, are you really faithful? Is your Word really true? Right? Are you, are you, you know what? It’s easy to see what God does in other’s lives, right? Man, those are great testimonies to tell. But I think oftentimes, we have that nagging fear that yeah, but I don’t have what Ray Hilbert has. I’m not as smart as you are. I don’t have the connections; I don’t have, there’s something missing. And I think, you know, that what we think in those times, that reveals what we think of God. And oftentimes I talk to guys and tell them, you know, listen to where God is leading, you, you know, your vision is not going to be bigger than God; look what God created.
Ray: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting, as I’m listening to this, just last week, I had an opportunity, I was speaking to a large group of business leaders, and they were asking the question, the question was asked, I should say, that what keeps us from being candid with one another in the marketplace? Why do we not have the difficult conversations, whether we’ve got an underperforming employee or a product or a launch or something’s not going well, and we’re afraid to confront it or end it or whatever, and the thought hit me, David, that in, and I don’t know if this is an accurate answer or not. But here’s kind of where my head is around this, that from the time now in our culture, we’re little boys and girls, we are brought up in a risk-averse world. We are teaching our kids to; everything’s about safety.
I mean, remember when we were kids, I know I’m starting somewhere more like my grandfather, right? But, you know, we didn’t have a seat belt on all the time. And we never wore helmets. I don’t know if there was bicycle helmets back then. And now you know, it’s safety, safety, safety, no risk, don’t get hurt, don’t get injured. Don’t take that risk. And, boy, you get programmed that way from the time you’re three, four, or five years old. It has to impact our faith because faith is risky. We’re trusting God, right? And that’s what I hear you saying is, and so folks, if you’re listening to this, really ask, go to the Lord right now and say, Lord, am I trusting you? Am I willing to trust you? And I’ve got this statement that the good fruit is always out on the end of the skinny branch. You’ve got to go out there where it’s shaky and wobbly and say, Lord, only you can sustain me. And that’s been your story. And that’s what you’re saying. You see God’s positioning you to encourage other leaders. Just take a moment, encourage that leader, what would you say right now to that person who’s like, okay, give me one more word of encouragement for them, because you’re onto something here?
David: Yeah, you know, first of all, I would say, look at scripture, whoever your favorite hero is in the Bible. Look at how God used him. My name is David. I was named after King David. But what do you think David felt whenever he was going to face Goliath? Okay, nobody, I mean, nobody thought David had what it takes.
Ray: No, that’s a great example.
David: This is a crazy idea. You know, and even his brother, what are you doing? So he was scorned by those who knew him best. He had no one on his team. But he believed and he trusted in God. Why is your story going to be any different, right? The man after God’s own heart, that was his story. You know, courage is not the absence of fear, that’s a misnomer, because we all get afraid. Every great leader you admire had a moment of decision, and you’re going to have one. But it is, you know, I would just say, realize that in this process, God wants to, he not only wants to make your dreams come true and bless you, but he wants to change you, right?
You know, we all have junk. We all have stuff that we deal with. But, but, but God wants to lead us and mature us and, and for us to be discipled to be more like Christ, and, and that is going to take chipping some junk off of us. So I would say, first of all, I, I would say, again, surround yourself with people, get in contact with people like the great groups you do, you guys do at Truth At Work, be with those groups, meet those leaders, find a man who’s, who’s been there and done that, who, who has been faithful to his wife through the whole time, who’s been married a long time, who has deep roots, who, who is respected and admired for their faith as much as for their success. I rarely eat alone, I, I have, I have breakfast or lunch with people all the time, because I, I just, I want to, I want people I want to hear their stories, but I also want them to see my life and to make sure I’m not missing it.
Ray: I love that.
David: And I’m not presumptuous enough to think that I’ve got all the answers, so, you know, be where someone can speak into your life. And you got to have someone that can say, hey, man, I love you, but you are messing up; you need to go home; you know you need you need to have that conversation with your wife; you need to start that business or you don’t need to start that business. And if you don’t have someone that’s being, that has that level of authenticity and honesty in your life; you’re never going to be as great as you can be for the kingdom of God.
Ray: That’s multimillion-dollar advice right there. But more importantly, that’s spiritual wisdom that we that we just heard from you, David, thank you. And if you’re a long-time listener here at Bottom Line Faith, you know that the last question that we always ask our guests, and David has touched on it, but it’s based out of Proverbs 4:23 where it says this: above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life. And so David, that whole scripture is about, like, the one piece of advice, so Solomon was passing along this one piece of advice, above all else, do this thing; guard your heart. So let’s imagine you’re at the tail end of your life this side of eternity, and you have a chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, those who are most important to you what is that one piece of advice that you want to pass along, that this is the legacy of David Lamb? Above all else…
David: I would go back to something we’ve already touched on, that is that above all else you will not lock, never lock eyes with someone who does not need the love of God and need to be discipled. And I say that because we come across people all the times and as leaders, think of the number of people we get the gift and the opportunity to influence. It starts with our wife, our husband, and then our children, and then our neighborhood and community and church, and so often we can take for granted those interactions, but the problem employee, right, there’s an opportunity there to be a help and to minister to them and everybody you meet, if you breakfast at the same place, those interactions you know we are called to be light, so be that everywhere you go you know . Make someone’s day every day, and I think everybody you meet, even the ones with a sour attitude and a sour disposition and the employee that’s nothing but trouble, are problems, everybody you meet, God has a plan for their life. And what a privilege, Ray, that we get the opportunity to play a part in that. That’s a privilege.
Ray: That is some awesome above all else advice. Folks, we have been speaking on today’s Bottom Line Faith program with David Lamb, the CEO, and founder of David Lamb Marketing. Check out his website at davidlambmarketing.com. You’re going to be excited to learn more about David. David, just thanks for being on the program; this has been an incredible blessing. I’m just very attracted to your spirit, to your enthusiasm, to your obedience, and just thanks for being on the program.
David: Well, thank you, and honestly thank you for what you’re doing. You’re affecting a lot of lives; keep it up.
Ray: I appreciate those kind words. Well, folks, this is Ray Hilbert; I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith. Check out all of our program interviews at bottomlinefaith.org, and as I mentioned at the top of the program, if you are a Christ-follower, check out truthatwork.org. If you are a Christ-follower running a business or an organization, and you want to learn what it looks like to do that to God’s glory, to integrate your faith in the leadership of your company, check out one of our roundtable offerings across the country at truthatwork.org. Well folks, until next time, God bless. Be faithful in the marketplace, and we’ll see you soon.