Great day for hanging out with the family and NOT doing any ad work.
Great day for hanging out with the family and NOT doing any ad work.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Wiki states that the average person remains at their job for 13 years. Sound good, right? I mean 13 years. True, its an unlucky number for some, but better to be employed for any time in this economy. Heck, Uclue.com states that the average US marriage only lasts 8 years.
So, it maybe its the advertising industry that is averaging down the 30-year gold watch anniversaries. A SpencerStuart Blue Paper cites that: “It’s jarring to note that the average tenure for CMOs at the top 100 branded companies is just 22.9 months. Based on our data, only 14 percent of CMOs for the world’s top brands have been with their companies for more than three years — and nearly half are new to the job over the last 12 months.”
Just as in the life cycle of a marketing manager, I often hear about the “life cycle of a client” with an ad agency. I took an informal poll with some peers, and most stated that they expect to work with a client for about 4-5 years and then poof – the client goes off to perceived greener pastures. In fact, a client of ours stated that 4 years for an agency / client relationship is long, (pause for reflective swallow, as we’re in year 3).
So, does a client have a life cycle and why? OK, so here is where the stats stop and theories start, so jump off the bus now or open your mind…
Let’s say your contact at your favorite client makes it past the 22.9 months and actually wants to make a career out of it. That doesn’t mean that everyone else there does and he or she probably reports to a COO or CEO who may in fact report to a Board or Shareholders. Results have to keep coming. Here is why they may not be…
I hear things like, “the creative just wasn’t exciting anymore” or “no new ideas” or “just time for something different”. Yes, often, the creative goes stale, but it is not, in my opinion for a lack of creativity. Sounds weird huh? I’ll explain. By year three, the creative should be more an target and yielding much better results. I mean, you’ve been doing your unaided and aided branding research studies every year right? What client doesn’t want to pay for research? Never heard of such a thing…but, I digress. We’ll post about that later.
Here is my theory…The creative is there, the account is known better than ever and results should be increasing. But, you are now working in fear.
What fear you say? The fear of losing the client.
When agencies go after a new client, one of my most and least favorite parts of being an agency principal, most go all out – balls to the wall – creative juices flying everywhere. We do. Why? because they’re really not invested financially in the account. The revenue they could earn is “hope to get” money. “Hope to get” money is fun. It’s like a lottery ticket before you check the numbers.
But when an agency lands a client, it needs to staff up appropriately, buy needed research studies/tools, join relevant associations, upgrade some software, spend some time meeting with some new subcontractors – its time and money. So, the new “hope to get” money gets spent quick. You start servicing the client with all these tools, are in the new-relationship love affair with the client and integrating the new tools or new people into your team.
After a year, you’ve produced some results, the client is loving you, but you are also loving the new tools, team members etc. Now, the money is still there, but its no longer “hope to get” money, it’s “need to have” money. It’s need “need to have” money because you’ve made all the commitments to service the client and it’s not like you were out there going after more “hope to get” money because you’ve been busy trying to get your new relationship off to a good start, and your team was already running thin anyway in this economy and you may not have the manpower to win new business and win over your new client at the same time. You made a choice.
In your 2nd or 3rd year with a client, you’ve now got accustom to running your shop with the new tools / resources etc. and have forged personal relationships with your new team members . They are really part of the team now – your family. You’ve met their families, understand their hopes, dreams and really care for them. Now, you’re afraid. You’re afraid of letting them down. You’ve put yourself in a position where the “need to have” money is “gotta have” money. You know that if you lose the client, you’ll lose the revenue and ultimately may have to lose some of your team members.
So, you as a manager may stifle the great ideas that are on the edge in favor of more conservative ideas that are “mainstream.” You don’t push the client anymore. You agree too much. You say you think “their ideas” are good whether they are or not. All, because you’re afraid to lose the client. In by doing so, you do just that. You lose the client. No client wants a “yes man”. They want new exciting invigorating ideas. That is why they came to you at first right, but you may have forgotten? Are you afraid to give them what you feel they may not want? Are you afraid to push the envelope?
Like most things, it revolves around money. I hate that part of the industry. Really, I do. Most people who think they know me, think I’m all about the money, but the people who really do know me, know I’m not. I’m about family, first, second and last, and my team at the office is part of my family.
Do I think there is a client life cycle? Yes, for some clients – for some agencies. But, I believe it is not because of the talented team of people in your agency. It comes from fear and we as leaders need to be stronger, bolder, more willing to take risks – even in today’s economy, especially in today’s economy.
I played in a poker tournament today, and I kept busy during the lulls be mindscaping paralells between poker and business. Sure, Kenny Rogers got it right with your gotta know when to hold em – know when to fold em song, but you also gotta know when to go all in. Economic indicators are trending towards the end of the recession, so today, we hired a new person and invested into a new biz pitch. Right thing to do? Not sure until I see where the pot gets pushed, but I feel like I got a pretty good read, and sometimes, you just have to go with your instincts.