September 15, 2014

You Can't Be Everyone's Girlfriend

A friend of mine, Peter Levitan, has just published a new book for agencies about pitching new business. The book is called The Levitan Pitch: Buy This Book. Win More Pitches.

Peter asked for my point-of-view on pitching new business, and it is included in his book under the heading (as you might expect) The Contrarian View. Here it is:
1. You can’t be everyone’s girlfriend
Do not pitch every stupid thing that comes along. Don’t try to fit yourself into every box. Not everyone is going to love you and not everyone is going to buy your story. Pick your spots.

2. Do what you tell your clients to do
The first thing we tell our clients is that they have to differentiate themselves. It is the one thing agencies never do. They all sound the same, look the same, and smell the same. Decide who you are and how you are different and better. If you can’t do that, hire Peter and let him do it for you.

3. Be clear on your objective at each stage
This is really important. A new business pitch is a 3 or 4 step process. At each stage your one and only objective should be to get to the next stage. You will not win the account at the first stage. At the beginning stages clients are not looking to hire an agency, they are looking for reasons to eliminate agencies. Give them reasons why they should continue talking to you, and don’t give them reasons to eliminate you.

4. Make the presentation you want to make, not the one you’re asked to make
For the final pitch, most of the time clients and search consultants provide you with outlines of the presentation they want to see. Throw it away and make the presentation you want to make. Remember, you have one shot only.

5. Only let the good presenters talk
There are brilliant people who are lousy presenters and dumb-ass bozos who are great presenters. Only let the good presenters present.

6. Have a strategy and stick to it
The final presentation should have a theme and every section of the presentation should spin off that theme and point to a conclusion where the strategy is clearly and creatively defined.

7. The best new business program is a good reputation
There's a lot more valuable stuff in Peter's book.

September 10, 2014

Here's To The Bobbleheads

Here's to the bobbleheads.

Here's to the ones who sit at every meeting and nod in agreement.

Here's to the ones who never have a dangerous idea or an interesting opinion.

Here's to the ones who always agree with the highest ranking person in the room.

Here's to the ones who go to conferences and tweet out the banalities.

Here's to the guys and gals who start every sentence with, "The client said..."

Here's to the ones who think their job is to make someone happy.

Here's to the ones who have no questions.

Here's to the ones who agree with the last person they spoke to.

Here's to the ones who produce the biggest decks and the fuzziest briefs.

Here's to the ones who can't finish a sentence without "disrupt" or "engage."

Here's to the ones who know all of the platitudes and none of the facts.

Here's to the true believers -- the new kings and queens of the ad industry.

Here's to the bobbleheads!

Also, please check out my Type A partner's blog here.

September 08, 2014

Social Media's Unintended Effect

The summer is unofficially over, but before it gets too far away, let's do some warm-weather, laying-out-under-a-tree, stream of semi-consciousness...

Social Media's Unintended Effect
Those with open minds and clear heads should by now have learned something very important about marketing from social media. We should have learned how weak consumers' attachments are to most brands.

The idea that people would go on line in large numbers and have "conversations" about toothpaste and toasters and cereal and soap and cheese and shampoo and tomato sauce and tuna and tea and tires and... has proven to be a fantasy. Those who still promulgate this baloney are guilty of more than just naivete.

People with a vested interest in social media will continue to misrepresent its power and effectiveness. It's time for the rest of the ad industry to come clean.

Great New Blog... my partner in the Type A Group, Sharon Krinsky, called The Angry Boomer.

Sharon is funny and bawdy and you don't have to be a baby boomer to enjoy her blog. You just have to be angry.

Her first post is called At Least We Know Where Our Vaginas Are. Yeah, it's that kind of blog.

People Don't Like Online Shopping 
One of the facts that always surprises me is that only 6% of retail activity is done on line. Contrary to all the predictions of "experts," according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 94% of retail activity still happens in brick-and-mortar stores.

As regular readers know, I have no use for self-reported surveys masquerading as research. Every now and then, however, self-reported behavior almost agrees with actual behavior. Such was the case recently in a study reported in Forbes. The finding was this:
“Ninety percent of shoppers surveyed would prefer to buy in a brick-and-mortar store across demographic and age groups” 
Like we say here at The Ad Contrarian Worldwide Headquarters (way too often), marketers always underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.