Ready to work together?

Call Lee at 212.253.7500

or email

Author: Team DIGO

20 People Who Will Never Forget the DiMassimo Goldstein 18th Birthday Party

At DiMassimo Goldstein, we believe in Inspiring Action. An Inspiring Action brand does things that get people to do things that change their lives. So, when it came time to plan our agency’s 18th birthday, we didn’t just want to have a party. We wanted to inspire some action. This was our chance to change some lives with our own brand.

So, obviously, we offered everyone who came to the party free tattoos. (Yes, the permanent kind.)

I know what you’re thinking: that’s stupid. And that was sort of the point. We were 18. It was time to do something stupid. And sometimes the most inspiring action for a brand is the one that makes everyone say, “We can’t do that.” So we called a tattoo artist and asked him if he could give people tattoos in our offices during our party.

To our utter astonishment, he agreed.

“It’s the perfect metaphor for Inspiring Action!” we said. “It will help us demonstrate that Inspiring Action brands leave a mark on their customers!” we said. “Nobody will do it!” we said.

But here’s the crazy part: people actually did it. In fact, 20 people got permanent tattoos. At our party. In my office. Lips. Peace signs. Soaring eagles. 50% of the people getting tattoos had never had a tattoo before. We had made our mark on 20 people’s lives (and one person’s butt) forever.

We put together a little video to mark the year anniversary of our little experiment. And to thank everyone who was inspired to take action with us. We couldn’t have done it without you. You will always be part of our Inspiring Action family.

This year, to mark our 19th birthday, we’re going on a cruise around Manhattan. Not as stupid, but maybe more appropriate for the grown-up agency with ambition we are becoming. Sailing out into the future to Inspire Action on new shores.

But now that you mention it, sailors are known to have tattoos. Maybe I should make a call…

Mine For the Growth Blocks

Key #3 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Check out Follow The Money  for Key #2 and download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.

A marketer I know has himself twisted up like a pretzel inside.

He’s following the rules of marketing as best he knows them, and what they all add up to is making less and less sense.

The membership service he is charged with marketing spends just less than half its paid media money on digital advertising. In this realm, my Tums-popping friend remains an extremely disciplined direct marketer of the old school. He believes each tactic and channel must pay for itself in sales. The search advertising must pay for itself with memberships brought in through search advertising. Mobile sign-ups are mobile sign-ups,and nothing more. Retargeting returns are calculated based on retargeting conversions only, and so on.

Attribution across multiple digital programs, which he allows might generate a higher return on his marketing spend, would fuzz his perfect accounting. He could no longer be sure of anything, and he feels that knowledge is power.

For example, he and his team have tested display advertising several times. The search sign-ups increased during these modest tests, but when he measured the display on display sign-ups alone, it didn’t reach the allowable. So, no display!

Sounds like a tidy, orderly world, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s a false order at best. This system doesn’t account for the influence of one channel on the results of another. We all know that ignoring a reality doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Worse, it isn’t working. The greater portion of this marketer’s budget is spent on TV. You’ve seen it. Anyone who knows anyone with a TV has seen it. He’s tried everything to figure out how to attribute sales to his television spend, but he just can’t. He’s tried pulling the TV, but then his volumes plummet. On the other hand, no change in schedule, and no other form of testing, has ever been able to demonstrate a lift in memberships.

So, this marketer lives in two worlds, one with an insane level of order and accountability, and the other with absolutely none.

Somehow the business got to this level with this system, but the efficiency of the marketing is decreasing, new memberships are more expensive every day, and higher levels of television seem to have no effect on sales.

It’s a serious Growth Block. He’s stuck and they’re stuck. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Attribution is, no doubt, one of the biggest challenges in modern marketing. Direct marketers want to test and learn, but the interactions among multiple channels create noise in their tests. Some are better at tolerating the noise than others. Some orchestrate that noise into a symphony of sales and brand building.

Those of us who view the experience from the customer’s point of view realize it’s the mix that matters. Those who believe that only the last click counts, that impressions are meaningless after ninety minutes, and that advertising in one medium has no effect on results in another, are most definitely running the wrong advertising.

Get smart about attribution while getting the creative you need to build your brand and sell too. That’s how successful modern marketers scale.


What is your agency responsible for?

Do they take responsibility for your results? Or just for deliverables?

No wonder so many marketers try to build their agencies in house, or go directly to production companies, or try to patch together a mesh of agencies.

How lonely so many marketers tell me they are with the sole responsibility for generating results. How difficult it is to be the only one in the room who knows what an allowable is – for my agency readers, an “allowable” is the amount of money a marketer can spend to acquire a customer profitably; it’s the limit of spending per customer acquired – how challenging to bring to the table so many competing agendas, to deal with competition and beg for cooperation, to seek clarity, cohesion and synergy and find it ever elusive.

Big agencies suffer even greater confusion. With purchasing departments dictating the internal management of agencies, agency leaders are left wondering what they can possibly take responsibility for. Growth stage clients wait in line behind the lumbering behemoths, and get the scraps. The holding companies get their profits. And the game starts again next quarter.

Alignment. Integration. Shared KPIs. These are not new things, nor are they trendy things. But there’s nothing about content, social, mobile, local, programmatic or any fact of the contemporary marketing mix that has made them any less essential to winning the game of growth with something like certainty.

Your power number is the cost of acquiring incremental revenue, whether through new customers or existing. This is your ticket to the big table. Any agency that can’t take responsibility for helping you get there isn’t an agency at all but a production house.

If we agree to take your business, we agree to get you there. That’s what we mean by Inspiring Action.


Follow the money

Key #2 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Check out Measure the Runway for Key #1 and download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.

Is it possible to beat your numbers and still fail?

Sadly, in this game called marketing it happens all the time. Boards speak one language, the CEO speaks another and marketing speaks yet another.

All of this tends to collide in discussions about key performance indicators, causing marketing budgets and chief marketer tenure to suffer while companies fail to achieve their full potential.

Bottom line is, if you don’t speak the language of money, you can never be sure and you can never be secure.

So, how do you learn to speak the language of value that your CFO, CEO and Board do?

How do you come to understand how they measure value? And how can you get to a crystal-clear understanding to guide your marketing?

First off, know that you’re in the business of accelerating value creation. When you deliver twice the new business value on every dollar you spend, marketing rises above the level of finance as a tool for growing business value, and you rise with it.

But how do you determine how your particular business builds value? After years of iterative experimentation, the experts on my marketing strategy team have discovered a proprietary process for uncovering the true value accelerators for any business model:


Alright, it’s not very scientific… but the important thing, and the most neglected thing in the area of money, is to ask.

How do we create value? Is one dollar of revenue more valuable than another dollar? Is more revenue from a customer more valuable than more customers generating revenue? Is subscription revenue more valuable than single-purchase revenue? How does the enterprise really intend to grow? How does the organization measure the value it delivers?

If you don’t know the answers, then you don’t really know what the advertising and marketing communications are for. Not really. Yet most agencies won’t ask and they won’t help you find out. These key facts are too often missing from briefs.

Is it any wonder there are persistent disconnects between marketing and other senior management? And between agencies and clients?

Money can stitch us all together, and it should.

Next up: Key #3, Mine for the Growth Blocks

Treasure map photo by Steven Johnson 


The Successful Are Often Dull, The Dull Rarely Successful.

Most people seem to associate dullness with success.

Perhaps this is because most of the biggest companies opt for dullness. Big companies tend to think they have more to lose than to gain, so they tend to play it safe and do rather boring advertising.

People associate ordinary work with financial success and they get the order of causation exactly backwards. Bigness and richness tends to cause dullness. Dullness doesn¹t cause anything, it¹s not how companies get big or people get rich.

Big agencies spend so much time doing boring advertising for big clients that that¹s pretty much all they can do.

Most small companies and smaller agencies do boring work simply because they are imitating the largest agencies. But if there¹s one thing those of us who build brands should know it¹s that imitation only serves the one who is imitated, never the imitator. When you read results everyday, you know that ordinary doesn¹t move the needle because ordinary doesn’t move anybody.

The rare small agencies that get bigger tend to do interesting, entertaining, surprisingly effective advertising. They get bigger working for mid-sized companies with the courage to stand out. The success of their clients tends to attract attention to the agency from bigger companies. Before long, they have a giant client representing a scary percentage of their revenue. They buckle down and do boring work, or they sell to a larger agency, or they do both.

We decided not to go that route. We determined that innovative, mid-sized growth companies with the courage to stand out aren¹t stepping stones to something better. They are the something better.


Weight Watchers Selects DiMassimo Goldstein

Weight Watchers has hired DiMassimo Goldstein for a new campaign that will break on Sunday, following the marketer’s recent separation from Wieden & Kennedy.
A Weight Watchers spokeswoman confirmed the selection in an email, stating that the small, independent New York-based agency was brought on to “do work for us in developing our spring campaign. We continue to evaluate agencies for the longer term.” Read more here


Measure the Runway

When the agency fails to measure the runway, it’s the client who gets hurt in the resulting crash.

Here’s a story I’ve seen play out too many times:

A company that measures its success in direct sales – whether through retail, e-commerce, app, subscription or membership – reaches a plateau in its growth. The board puts pressure on the CEO who puts pressure on the CMO or head of marketing. A new idea is needed, a new level is called for, and probably a new agency.

Next thing one reads is that one of America’s great creative agencies has been retained. Some months later a new campaign is the talk of the advertising community. What insight! What verve!! What cojones!!!

A couple of months pass, and my phone rings. Or my email bings. Or my LinkedIn, or Facebook. It’s the CMO, and he’s in trouble. The campaign missed its mark or forgot to sell or lacked an offer or just didn’t work and all we really know is that we just missed our key selling season. Totally missed it! They – one of America’s leading creative agencies – just didn’t get it. We need a campaign to turn this around and we need it yesterday. Can you help?

They forgot to measure the runway!

No matter what the marketing leader told that agency, they just didn’t believe that sales were as important as re-launching the brand. Despite what they heard and learned, they were sure that there would be time, that the client would “get it” after the great campaign was launched and lauded. But it was a very short runway indeed – it always is in direct model companies – and now the agency has the consolation of their awards, and we of sharing the client’s problems – and a much shorter runway.

You can build a brand and sell at the same time. If you’re building a direct model or direct-led business, you really need to. Here, we use every inch of the runway to get safely aloft.  After all, a few feet too late is a disaster. On the other hand, taking off with runway to spare just means you’re flying!

At DiMassimo Goldstein, we call that Inspiring Action, and it’s the only thing we do. My purpose here today is to inspire you and to help you gain altitude in all the ways that matter to you.

What action are you trying to inspire?

This was Key #1 of 10 to Inspiring Action: 10 Keys to the Future of Marketing. Next up: Key #2 – Follow The Money. You can download our summary poster of the 10 Keys here.