Rumours of My Demise: Some thoughts on the value of an ad campaign

My buddy Mark Dimassimo was pissed. He’d been watching an inordinate amount of tennis and he’d reached his limit with the constant repetition of ads. Not that the ads were bad the first five, ten or twenty times he saw them. But around the hundredth time he was subjected to the same, singular “tennis” ad that each company had deigned to produce in order to be “relevant” during the tournament, he was, as I could tell form his tweets, texts and messages, about ready to hurl something toxic and large at his television machine.

And brother, I can relate.

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If you Teach a Man to Fish: Why “fishing where the fish are” is not enough

For as long as I’ve been doing this, people have been telling me that the surest path to marketing success was to always be “fishing where the fish are.” That is, put your message where the people you want to reach, are.

And that makes sense, right? If you’re talking to motorcycle riders, advertise where motorcycle riders are. If you’re talking to Moms, put your message where Moms are. And if you’re talking to Moms who ride motorcycles, well, you get the idea.

And this advice has served advertisers and their agencies for centuries. I would bet that if you dug deep enough into Pompeii’s ashes you would find an ancient Roman vellum purporting delivering this aphorism in some Latinate version of corkscrew advertising-ese.

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The Madness of the Method: Why process matters

You walk into a meeting with a new client or a new agency, and you’re in that honeymoon phase when everyone is attentive and polite and laughs at each other’s stupid stupid jokes. And you’re there so you can discuss “the process”, the way you’re all going to get the work done. The “great” work done. The great work we’re all going to be proud of. Together.

Whereupon someone, usually mid-level, begins to describe something that has so many damn moving parts, so many checks and balances, so many org charts with dotted lines that seem to lead to other org charts with still more dotted lines, that you can’t imagine yourself actually doing any of it. And you pray to god that no one actually does.

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Keep the Customer Satisfied: The differences between B2B & B2C advertising

Ask a B2B shop about their B2C cousins and invariably you will hear something like this: “B2C agencies are a bunch of undisciplined, overpriced children who should stay away from the serious business of B2B marketing and leave it to the adults before they do some real damage.”

Ask a consumer agency a similar question and they’ll invariably reply: “B2B shops should keep their second-rate versions of ideas that they stole from outdated back issues of B2C awards annuals and leave the creativity to the real agencies – the ones who do the consumer marketing that those B2B shops only wish they could still do.”

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The Kids Are All Right

“[They are] a generation of coddled infants who developed into demanding tyrants.”

I can’t walk into a brainstorm, client meeting, focus group, or marketing conference without hearing people complain about Millennials. “They expect everything now.” I hear again and again. “They want their jobs to revolve around their schedules. They’re not as committed as we were. They don’t know the value of hard work. They’re spoiled babies who refuse to grow up. And they all expect to be paid like millionaires.”

All of which I would be happy to ignore or agree with or whatever in order to still invoice the gig, if it were not for two extremely important facts.

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How to Client

There are literally thousands of books that will tell you how to manage a brand. And there are at least that many that will tell you how to run a company. Put those together and you might have the number that will tell you how to take care of the people you’re leading to do both of those things.

I know this because in addition to making advertising and teaching it, I review books on it at The Agency Review. And every time I think I’ve read all that there are, the mailman shows up with a dumpster full of new ones and drops them on my desk.

But there’s one important part of being successful – especially in the marketing space – that these books are frustratingly silent on and it’s this: How to client.

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Pleased to Meet You, Won't You Guess My Name?

My friend Dave Marinaccio likes to say that even bad advertising works better than no advertising. And he’s right, of course. For as Woody Allen famously said, 80% of success is just showing up – and advertising, in one sense, is simply about showing up when your competitor does not.

What Dave doesn’t mention about bad advertising is that “showing up” is about all it has going for it. It’s sort of like drunk-dialing your x-girlfriend. Yes, you’re making yourself top of mind with her (awareness!) and you’re occupying her thoughts to the exclusion of everyone else (attention!) – but you’re also rambling and mumbling and cursing and vomiting and being fairly incoherent. But hey! You’re showing up!

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Talking ‘bout My Generation: What Demand Generation Means Now

You remember demand generation, right? Born in that first mythical golden advertising age, when Claude C. Hopkins and Albert Lasker strode the earth, demand generation emerged when clients had products found themselves saddled with unsellable products. Products that they brought to agencies, saying, “I don’t know what to do with this. You think you can come up with a reason for humans to buy it?”

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