Is it just me, or…
What Your Ad People Are Thinking
Every business has that bit of sausage-making going on behind the scenes they’d rather you not see. This’ll sting a bit to hear, but in marketing it’s mostly what’s whispered about you, your business and how they can wrestle you both to the finish line. There’s a push-pull dynamic in play here, and it’s worth examining.
You, the decision maker feel justifiably exceptional because you stepped out from the crowd and built something out of nothing. You gaze at a marketer and think, “So what have you done?” Ad people need to acknowledge the very human reluctance to place the fate of your “baby” in their hands. Often this leads to your dictating an ad’s concept and copy to the very people whose life’s work this is. Wisdom (yours) must prevail, here.
Marketers simply want to make you a hero and in so doing, make stars of themselves. They’ll never say this to your face, but they just want you to step aside and let them do it. Set a goal and a budget you both acknowledge, and then let them be all they can be.
An important question to ask (if your marketer is not on your staff) is on which steps in the creative process they charge the industry-accepted 15% commission. This can vary greatly from agency to agency, so clarity here will minimize the relationship stress of unexpected charges.
There’s another dynamic in play that, in my experience, small business owners seldom consider, and that is their interplay with their employees. It plays out like this: after much strategizing and consultation with you, a fine commercial video is produced that’ll appear on both social media and traditional TV. Believing you have a group of average-thinking folks around you, you gather your staff together and show them the commercial. When finished, comments erupt, mostly of the worrying kind. You’re taken aback, but you listen. Now you’re painted into the corner of wondering how your staff will react if you don’t honor these suggestions.
Welcome to the instinctive suck-up. I say, “instinctive” because in most cases, your staffers don’t fully understand what’s driving them to make what they see as a noble niggle on your behalf.
They’re not average-thinking folks. They’re beholden to you. They ache to be a hero in your eyes. They’ll look past the brilliance of your video and point out that Ashley who appears in it doesn’t work here anymore. ANYTHING to impress you with their attention to detail and concern for your well-being.
This is where wisdom is once again needed. Chances are, I’m never going to dissuade you from jurying your new ad to the troops, so the best I can hope for is getting you to appreciate the actual forces at play when you do.
Bill Kirby (Photo courtesy by Pinterest) over at the Augusta Chronicle once wrote, “What people say behind your back is your standing in the community.” No, I’m not urging you to be Mr./Ms. Nice in your dealings with your ad people, but I am suggesting that this relationship especially requires a bit of looking in the mirror on your part. Are you smoothing the way to greatness, or on occasion, standing in the way? We keep coming back to that wisdom thing, don’t we?