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Pigeons Shit on Statues

Pigeons Shit on Statues

The Facts

The ultimate symbol of an organization’s new-age techniques to be politically correct is to approach marketing with a marketing committee. A marketing committee is often formed to tackle the strategic and design functions of marketing when internal politics demand that everybody has a say and that all opinions matter. Not to mention the fact that leaders can pawn the final decisions off on the committee if it doesn’t work out. It would be naïve of me to say that all committees are a bad idea, but not by much. Just take a look at the United States Congress and you get my drift.

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Everything about marketing communications is subjective. What one person considers perfect and right on target may be hated by the person sitting right next to them who considers it the worst idea they ever saw because they and their friends will not like it. No specific reason given, they just don’t like it and their mother won’t either.

We attempt to stay away from committees, as we remember the words of ad legend David Oglivy who famously said, “Search all the parks in your cities you will find no statues dedicated to committees.” He’s right of course. Statues are always dedicated to a single brave soul − a President, a Military General, an Inventor, a Hero who rushed into a burning house to pull children out. That’s the way America works. We love the individual who has the vision, the strength, and the backbone to stick to their guns and make the hard choices.

Are Those Real?

Are Those Real?

The Facts

There are two types of experts in the world: Real experts, and fake ones. The real experts are the pros who spend many years refining their knowledge and skillset in a particular area and become masters − much like the difference between a brain surgeon and a plastic surgeon that alters people’s features. Fake experts, you know the type, are not interested in solving your problems but building their own egos and reputations as some kind of thought leaders. Both of these groups share one problem: they misunderstand the business of expertise. One group undervalues real knowledge; the other group overvalues fake knowledge.

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Becoming an expert is not easy at all. You become an expert through repeated exposure to similar patterns and situations. Experts can often see a problem and quickly provide a solution, and that makes them valuable, even though it appears easy and quick in that particular instance. I’ve worked alongside many real experts, belong to councils that we are all part of, and compete with or hire them when the situation calls for it.

Recall the old story of a ship stuck at port because it’s engine wouldn’t start? The ship’s owner brought in a few people that promoted themselves as ship engine experts, and they spent weeks and thousands of dollars on the ship engine, and it still would not work. So finally the ship’s owner decided to call an old hand at ship motors who was very set in his ways and turned most people off, as it was his way or the highway. Well, he came in, looked at the motor, put his ear to the main parts of the engine and then tapped it once with a sledgehammer. The old engine fired to life and he handed a $1,000 invoice to the ship’s owner. “Why so much for just one stroke of a sledgehammer?” he asked, “Oh,” said the repairman, “I forgot to itemize that.”

One Swing of a Sledgehammer: $50

Knowing where to hit the engine with Sledgehammer” $950

Real experts know the value and there is no questioning them.

John Lennon Was Right

John Lennon Was Right

The Facts

Imagine that you and your organization have been struggling with an issue for a long time, just can’t seem to get your arms around it. You are frustrated. It’s costing you money and you need to move forward. But no matter what you try, the issue persists.

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Now imagine that the next time the problem is discussed, you go out on a limb and offer a slightly bizarre suggestion. You are the boss, so people will listen no matter how unique. It causes people to pause, discussion ensues, and everyone agrees that your crazy thought could work. You once again are the problem solver and it’s obvious why you are in charge.

That one out-of-the-ordinary, perhaps even risky, thought maybe not the best idea but the different idea that made the difference. It’s what John Lennon was singing about decades ago with “Imagine.” You need to add Imagine to your vocabulary. The author, Frank Luntz, called Imagine “the most powerful word in the English Language.” Walt Disney famously said, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.” Put the word Imagine into your daily lexicon and you will likely achieve unexpected results due to your desire to have something better.

The Fix Is In

The Fix Is In

The Facts

A very recent study of marketing directors asked if they knew which agency they were going to select prior to issuing a Request for Proposal. 84% of them responded that they had picked a winner even before reading their response in an RFP. That plays into my long-held belief that if we didn’t have a person on the inside, then somebody else did and we were wasting our time and resources competing for business we couldn’t win. Besides not being right, it’s not in your best interest to have a winner already chosen as you miss out so much on what is available for you.

Spiker Insights

Try a Chemistry meeting with a handful of agencies you may want to work with. Chemistry meetings are powerful and informative for the marketer, and not hard to put together for agencies. It’s mostly existing materials filed away in drawers. Everything you need to know about an agency you’ll find in the Chemistry round. You’ll see how they think, how they develop strategies, how they got to an idea, how that idea came to life, and the results of that idea. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Agency websites are mostly a waste of time. Because according to most agency websites, they have cured cancer and brought world peace to the free world, and they would “love to work with you” too. Well maybe we don’t want to work with you, ever worked with Ernest Gallo or Donald Trump? I have, and I don’t want to work with them again. So marketers, quit wasting my time and my competitors’ time and either tell us upfront the process is stacked against us and a decision is likely already made pending the financial details, or you are running a clean pitch because you want to work with the best for your particular situation.