If you want to run a first class marketing organization, benchmark against the category leader. Right?
Look at your category and you’re likely to see this common landscape: A market-share leader whose marketing is effective and probably conservative; a host of other players who more or less imitate the marketing tactics of the market leader; and then, maybe, one “challenger” who is the “idea leader” in the category.
Time and the market have proven that these idea leaders frequently become share leaders. Look at Charles Schwab in the brokerage category. Or Southwest and JetBlue among airlines.
The “idea leader” road is not for the faint of heart, but it’s more likely to succeed than shadow marketing the share leader. Besides, it’s a lot more fun.
Clichés. Hoary old ideas that won’t die. Every category has them, along with marketers to whom they are sweet music and the be-all-end-all of “what works.” But what happens when all the old ideas stop working? Or when your formerly great idea has been so widely copied that it’s not your idea anymore? Or what if you are just one of those daring marketers who aims for something more than cliché results? How do you get people to go along?
Try a Ritual Burning of the Clichés. Call your team together, including your agency partner or partners. Ask everyone to bring their best examples of category creative. Together, brainstorm an extensive list of clichés. From “free toaster” to “skinny model,” every category has them. Once you have a list, your team may find it very satisfying to actually burn something. It could be the whole pile of clichés or just the worst of the bunch. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Think of it as lighting a fire under the organization.
At some point, it happens. The consensus begins to build that your campaign is a bit long in the tooth. Your attempts to freshen it up and tweak your way to ever-higher levels of ROI are yielding smaller returns, or worse. Plus, let’s face it; the people you work with are sick of it.
Do you take your “old friend” out to the back of the barn and shoot it in the head? That’s the way most advertisers do it. They work up a new campaign, either with their current agency or through a pitch process. They “test” it using a couple of focus groups and then roll it out. Unfortunately, this process yields more suffering than success.
Take a page from the direct marketer’s playbook. Test your new campaigns for real using matched sets of geographic markets. Identify two, three, or four similar markets and run an entire test campaign in 1 to 3 of them while you run your current/control campaign in one. Then track the results. When you have a clear winner, roll it out nationally. Yes, it takes a bit longer. But, remember that tortoise…
A lot of our clients here at DiMassimo Goldstein are direct-model. I know. I know. That sounds awful, right? That word — “direct!” — strikes fear in the hearts of us modern marketers. But that’s because many of us are thinking about it from the wrong side. Sure, direct-model brands sell directly to consumers. And they have for hundreds of years. This has led to some of the worst advertising in the history of advertising. The Snuggie. The Clapper. Encyclopedia Brittanica.
But think about direct-model consumers. The ones who keep coming back, that is. They are more apt to feel like they’re part of the brand. Like they’re in a club. Maybe it’s a Dollar Shave Club. Or maybe they’re season ticket holders to a sports team. (Yes, sports teams are direct-model businesses.) Or maybe they’re Tesla drivers. Or BMW drivers.
Direct-model consumers are also more willing to want to be a part of the marketing message. In fact, they take it upon themselves to be a part of it. On YouTube. On Instagram. On Twitter. And, while you can’t script what they say, you can harness them to craft the right message for prospects who might be just like them but haven’t tried your brand yet.
That’s just what we did for Weight Watchers this year. They wanted to celebrate their members losing 15% more weight on the new Beyond The Scale plan. But more importantly, they really wanted people to notice that there was a new Beyond The Scale plan. So we sent out a package to key members. In it was a rough script based on things we’d heard on the internet: How the change to the new plan was scary. And how at first they didn’t like it. And, finally, how it worked. Of course, we didn’t force them to read the script. We also asked them to tell their own weight loss stories. And to tell us what foods they loved the way Oprah famously loved bread.
Were we crazy? We were asking a bunch of non-directors to film themselves using smartphones and webcams. We had no idea what we’d get back. We even asked them to capture footage of themselves doing exercise and cooking healthy foods. This is what production companies call “B-Roll” because it generally goes under voice-over and is used to give the film a wider range of visuals. Were they ready for this?
Of course, we had cast real consumers before. We had made documentaries about them. We had done testimonials. We had even used phone interviews as the voiceover on a campaign with real traders for our Tradestation client. But we had never handed over the whole production to them.
But guess what? It worked.
Not only did they know how to frame the shots and do multiple takes (thank you selfie culture), they loved every minute of it. In the end, we had a spot featuring real consumers (some were even famous YouTubers) that actually felt real. We had people sharing and liking the spot because they recognized friends and people they followed on social media. And it literally cost zero dollars to shoot. Zero dollars. Best of all, when we edited it together with music, it truly felt like the celebration of real success we had always wanted.
We started joking that maybe we had created a new genre of ad. But what would we call it? Ladies and gentlemen, DiMassimo Goldstein presents: The Selfifesto®!
So, how are you engaging your customers in your advertising? Let’s chat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My day begins with a loud alarm at 6:15 a.m., but I typically press snooze four or five times before getting out of bed. After a routine morning of getting ready for another day of my internship at DiGo, I make my way to the station in hopes of finding a seat on the train. Nine times out of 10, I’m in luck… but I’m always squished.
An hour later, I make my way out of Penn Station into the incredibly hot summer streets of Manhattan. I arrive at 220 East 23rd Street and like most days, I decide to take the stairs. After a 30-minute walk, I figure the extra steps help complete a good thigh workout before getting into the day. I make my way through the office toward the patio conference room, which has been my little spot for the past couple of months. That being said, you can catch me in all areas of the office, as I can’t stay in one place for too long.
Once at my desk, I immediately open my laptop to check my emails and calendar. Once I have an idea of what the day has in store, I head over to the kitchen to make myself some iced coffee and cool down. Yes – I admit, that’s me who takes a bunch of cubes in the morning – but at least I fill it back up, right? I see the same few faces every morning in the kitchen, always talking about the latest episode of a television show they watched the night before. I typically try to block out what they are saying because I am always behind on the few shows that I actually do watch.
I make my way back around the office to check in with my manager, Casey. Just a few adjectives to describe Casey so you can get a sense of who I work with: one of the sweetest, most hard-working and diligent women I have met, and I truly mean that. Casey informs me with updates from clients and assigns tasks that need to be tackled. I have definitely mastered making research-based decks!
Once back at my desk I begin to create a to-do list to prioritize everything that needs to be done. On a typical day, I’ll then receive an email from Louise telling me that if I need any help whatsoever, to ask her. Lou always finds the time to sit down with me and create timelines always being sure to explain the reasoning behind each date. I must say, that is one of the great benefits of working for a smaller company – I am not just “an intern” but part of the DiGo team. P.S. If you ever have free time, sit in on a meeting with Lou and watch her type a mile per second and catch every detail. It’s UNREAL.
Each day consists of a few internal meetings, brainstorms with other teams and client conference calls. Just sitting in on meetings with members from the creative, strategy and media teams has helped me gain a better understanding of how the agency works as a whole. At least once a week, I check in with my main manager, Nehal, who is always rocking a cute dress that soon gets added to my “must buy” list. So far there are eight items, which I know my bank account will not be too happy about. As a team, we go over each client’s current projects and the next steps.
One memory that I will always remember from my time at DiGo was when Nehal and Casey sent me out to pick up a magazine that featured some of the creative work we did for a client. I ventured out to Barnes & Noble (yes, I took the stairs) and picked up a few copies. When I opened it up to the page that featured our work, chills ran down my arm. It was so amazing to see this ad from start to finish and be part of something impactful.
Side note: If the rest of the DiGo team thinks their area of the office is the most fun, they are wrong. No matter the day of the week, there is always some music playing , but it all depends on the mood. Typically, at the beginning of the week the songs are a bit mellow. John Mayer playing and some light singing, but by Thursday and Friday, Kasey and Morgan break out some Blink 182 and sing along to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Can’t go wrong with some Snoop Dogg. But you really know it’s Friday when you catch James singing throwback jams – always a crowd-pleaser. I’m happy I am able to help Raquel out and add some brunettes into the account area, as there is a high proportion of blondes.
But all jokes aside: If anyone ever says they don’t like their internship, I know why. They don’t work at DiGo. It’s as simple as that. When you work in an exciting environment with amazing people, it motivates you to get up and go to work each day and continue to be inspired.
We will not avoid the boss. We will not seek to set up our own fiefdom inside of the boss’s kingdom.
We will use the boss. If we have a founder still in charge, we will recognize that we are rich. Rich in clarity of vision. Rich is simplicity of organization.
If we but love the vision, everything else is available to us.
Have better ideas in support of that vision. Hatch better plans to realize the vision. Execute with great positive effect on that vision.
And you win.
You have something 99% of workers don’t have. Something priceless. You know who decides. You know where the buck stops.
If we report to the CEO, COO, CMO or similarly senior team member, we will consider this person as potentially the most powerful member of our team.
We will never fail to use this power when we can. We will pull this person in. We will choose radical collaboration rather than cautious avoidance.
Of course, we respect that the boss is busy. We understand that we cannot plunge the boss into a morass if minutia. When the boss declines our invitation, we are gracious and understanding – up to a point.
After that point, we must resell the boss on involvement. There are things only the boss can accomplish, and if those things are crucial to the next level of growth, then they ought to be top priorities. We make it as quick and as direct as it can be, but we pull the boss in to get the obstacle unblocked, the connection made or the problem solved.
We use everything we’ve got to build our brand and business, starting with the boss.
Wake the kids up. Make them breakfast. Send them off to school. Go to work.
But not today. Today is Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Whether you’re a teacher or a lawyer, it’s the one day each year where you can bring your little angel to the office for all to see. It’s your one chance to show off the little princess that’s been seen framed in a picture on your desk for the past 2 years. Now, for the first time, your daughter can see what Daddy and Mommy do everyday. It’s an opportunity that should be taken advantage by everyone, in all professions.
On second thought, maybe not everyone…
This year, we teamed up with incredible director Ted Melfi and production company Brother to make the funniest Take Our Daughters to Work Day ad ever made. How? By encouraging Prison Guards everywhere that the clink is probably not the best place for your 7-year old girl. In fact, it’s SO funny that you may even see it running on Comedy Central’s website. Check out the spot below: