Tag - mistakes

Ad agencies not advertising: why?

Simon Sinek published this article dissing ad agencies in BrandWeek:

IF ADVERTISING is so effective, why don’t ad agencies advertise? PR firms tout themselves in releases. Event planners throw their own parties. E-marketers use the Internet. These folks all believe in the effectiveness of their disciplines. Do ad agencies disagree?

Read the rest of it to really get the sense of what he’s saying: that ad agencies know that most advertising simply does not work.

OK. I mostly agree with him. I think it’s a cluetrain thing. A pinko marketing, (or conversational marketing) thing.

But here’s one thing I’d say in ad agencies defense: their product is their ad.

In other words, the work that they do for existing clients is a powerful marketing branding and marketing campaign for their company … for good or ill.

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[tags] advertising, ads, marketing [/tags]

The law of unintended consequences

Why, why, why is it that so often we generate exactly the opposite of what we want?

  1. Americans spend more on health than any other nation in the world, but they’re among the sickest (reference).
  2. Americans spend about $46 billion on diets, diet drugs, and associated programs … but they’re the fattest nation in the world (reference).
  3. Hockey players have never had better padding, helmets, and protection, but head injuries are on the rise (reference, reference).

Other examples are available at Wikipedia: prohibition in the US driving the growth of organized crime; the introduction of rabbits in Australia for “sport shooting” lead to them becoming ubiquitous pests …

Those are relatively straightforward examples, however. Trying to get accomplish X, in those cases, resulted in Y. Whereas in the first examples I mentioned, trying to accomplish not X, resulted in X. And not just X, more X. And even more X!


I think you can put it down to focusing on the wrong thing.

Being so focused on creating better equipment to protect the hockey player wearing the equipment, manufacturers armored us with hard molded plastic. Guess what happens when you hit someone in the head with hard molded plastic at 30 kph? Particularly when there’s 200 lbs of nasty rink rat behind it.

Being so focused on losing weight, people buy a million products, diets, pills, and programs … but forget that losing weight is not a goal but a byproduct – of healthy living, reasonable food intake, and regular exercise.

Being so focused on health, people buy a million … wait … I said that already. Ditto previous paragraph.

Sometimes the goal is not the goal.

Talking to unCustomers

Trying to improve service? Build better products?

Everyone knows you should talk to customers. Not as many people know that you should talk to non-customers.

Even fewer know that you should talk to uncustomers.

Uncustomers are people who used to be customers. People who stopped being customers. And people who have absolutely no intention of becoming customers (of yours) ever again.

These are the people that will teach you the most about your product, service, or company. But these are the people that companies listen to least.

Case in point
My wife took a phone call yesterday from Investor’s Group. We used to have mutual funds with IG, but recently took them out and invested them with another company. Lots of reasons, none relevant right now.

The call was regarding a survey of customer satisfaction. Teresa agreed to do the survey, although it would take 10 minutes out of her busy day. Then she informed the person conducting the survey that we had just withdrawn our investments from Investor’s Group.

All of a sudden, everything changed. Within the 20 seconds from the start of the call to Teresa telling her we had moved our money, the survey was “filled up.” Just that quickly, IG had all the customer input they needed. Or wanted. Or were prepared to listen too.

Summing it up
Your enemy is your friend. Those who do not like you, or what you sell, are teaching you. But are you listening?

The biggest business mistake

Based on my years and years and years (errr … years, anyways) of experience in the business world, I’m firmly convinced that this is the biggest mistake you can make when starting or running a business:

Not asking questions whose answers you fear.

In other words: sticking your head in the sand and charging forward blind (that’s a shaken, not stirred, metaphor by the way).