Great day for hanging out with the family and NOT doing any ad work.



New business development – the three dirty words of our industry or most for that matter. I’ve heard people who say they like sales and some who even say they like cold calling – they’re liars. They like money, and those who can sell make money, but that is a post for a later date.

Today, I pose the simple question…”How long do you wait on a response to your RFP submission or even after you pitch?”

Answering RFPs is pretty common in our industry. Some agencies do it and do it well. Some don’t at all. It’s really probably a Founder’s or VP of Marketing’s preference. Maybe they think its a waste of time? Maybe they got burned in the past? Maybe they landed a whale through one? There are many factors that may influence whether or not an advertising agency answers RFPs and even more whether or not they answer a specific RFP.

Our agency answers them.

Our new business analogy is…”it’s like fishing” – Your website, PR and social media is net casting. Spearfishing is when you set your eyes on a  specific account or industry and go for it. And RFP responding is long-line fishing. Typically, it takes a lot of bait, a lot of line, a lot of reeling and you only land a big one every once in a while, but when you do – whoa boy!

What comes to my mind about long-line fishing and the reason for this post is the waiting. I’ve been on boats where it seemed like we chugged around for weeks (it was hours) and never got even a nibble (my line didn’t get a nibble). I mean, the fish like my bait, right? There’s a lot of fish in the sea but like mine better, right?

We’re in the process of answering two RFPs. We’d like to win them both, as I’m sure the other fine agencies would as well, but they’re not in my boat. We submitted final proposal for one on Thursday of last week and pitched another last Tuesday and now…radio silence. Others in the agency have speculated that maybe we weren’t chosen and they are negotiating terms with the selected agency, keeping us in the back pocket – a possibility? Others have said to give it time. And, others have said to call…again…to follow up.

So I ask you, how long do you wait before you reel in the line to make sure the bait is still on the hook or cast in another direction?

For those who don’t know who Sun Tzu was, he was the author of The Art of War, one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy. It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment.

He is attributed with the well-known phrase “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” That is what makes him an idiot.

In the advertising industry, we network with friends who are also enemies. Enemies in that we often do battle for the same business, traditionally in RFPs (oh, RFPs for the most part suck, but that’s another post). At my agency, we’ve always had a policy not to go after an other local agency’s business. We started the strategy because when we were small, we felt it was best not to poke the sleeping giant, but as we grew with experience, team size, billing and roster of clients, we learned somewhere along the way to respect the relationships others have worked so hard to forge and that we would be crossing paths with those same people at local Chambers, mixers and industry events. We always wanted to hold our heads high.

Recently, in the downturn economy, I’ve noticed a lot more pilfering of each other’s (local agencies) accounts. How’d they know, for the most part, that the account was in play?…because you blabbed. You kept close what you thought was a friend but turned out to be an enemy. You, in industry chit chat, were asked how things were going with X, and you stupidly said “negative, negative, negative” and your “friend” thought is was an opportunity for them, sometimes a needed opportunity – “needed” in that they needed to get the business or their crummy little agency from out of market who dropped an office in our home town would have closed, or something like that.

Anyway, back to the point – look, keep your friends close, but know who your friends are and keep your family and faith closer. Avoid your enemies, even the secret agent ones.

ok, so I get that my iPad is not a big phone, but I can skype around that and I get that it doesn’t run non-Mac programs and I can VPN around that but does anyone know how to get it to text message?

ok, just found textplus…all good

This is the spot with the African American female in the red dress walking down the street and images of her phone covering her face. I’d like to give you a link to the spot but at press time – LOL – I couldn’t find it online. If you find it, hit me with the link, and I’ll add it.

The music, the talent and the action are all good, but it has some production, creative and strategy flaws, and I just can’t get past them. Combined, the bad outweighs the good and the spot is ruined for me.

Production –
Right:  Music fits spot. It’s catchy, and “urbanesque” (trademark pending). Good editing of music.
Wrong:  Silos are terrible. I mean really bad. They may have been good a year or two ago, but today, they’re way behind. It’s the equivalent of a bad clipping path. It’s no Old Spice man on a horse for sure.

Creative –
Right:  Great use of color and the absence of it. The main talent is the only one or thing (cars included), apparently, who wears bright colors. It keeps the focus on her. But, she’s a stunner, and I think that, combined with the moving screen captures, we would have been watching her anyway. Still, it is good framing.
Wrong:  I think the spot is supposed to show how hectic her life is and how the palm helps her? I think she is getting invited to a party or the style of the party has changed and maybe she needs shoes? I’m lost. But, if that is what we were supposed to get out of it, why not show her full frame at the beginning of the spot in different flats or heels and then at the end, when you have taken us on the virtually journey of her finding the right store, her shoes are transformed in the close shot to the groovy boots she has on at the end full frame shot? Then, we see that there has been an impact in her life. Right now, it just looks like a lot of stuff is coming at her, and I am not seeing benefit of the phone? How is she keeping up?

Strategy –
Right:  It is airing during the NCAA tourney, so the media buy is good. Heavy male, which are the largest users of smart phones and also above Scarborough for African American, so good talent selection.
Wrong:  No point of difference. It is like every other smart phone, or is it? Who knows? In fact, we don’t even see the phone, so I guess they aren’t proud of the way it looks and for most women (send hate mail somewhere else) the phone is still a fashion accessory too (there, I said too) and they care about what the phone looks like. If they didn’t, explain the hot pink razor to me? Also, I get the drive to retailer, but you couldn’t even list your url, and you’re selling a smart phone? How about a twitter account? How about a QR bar code or a Windows tag (formerly snap tag)? Come on, give me something! Your website has social networking written all over it, like you own Facebook, but still, you couldn’t integrate your media? You don’t even have your spot on your site, that I could find.

Overall –
I give it a C+. Smart phones are still being dominated by men. I can’t see them relating to the spot. Yes, she is attractive. Yes, I like the music. Yes, I think the agency tried a unique perspective. But most males are not going shopping for shoes with their phones and if the spot is supposed to be targeting women with the NCAA media buy…the stereotype of an African American female with urbanesque (trademark still pending) music playing, the only recognizable image on her screen shot is maybe Air Jordan-like at the beginning (for “Def radio” (really, Def Radio – you went that far, huh?) and having her shop (and that represents “Life moves fast”) is just not cutting it for me.