advertising campaign

Clients and Agency Marketing

If you want your product to succeed, you can’t just hire an ad agency and forget about it. Your agency is good, but less so if they’re working for you instead of with you.

I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s book “Free Prize Inside” lately, and like all devotees of his anti interruption-based marketing philosophy, I’m loving it. What I’m interested in specifically is his thesis that everyone in the organization is (or should think of themselves as being) involved in product marketing.

With a majority of my experience coming from agency-level campaigns, I see Godin’s thesis from a different perspective. We were never part of the company, we were hired by the company. Not sharing any offices with them, we were almost always cut off from their product development. Usually, we were given a product to promote with a quick, “go make me money, kid.”

Other times, the client would be entirely available to us, taking an active role in the campaign. While we still weren’t involved in their product development, we could at least get the right information about what made their product stand out on its own, which we could then use as the message.

My point here is that if you are going to hire an agency to do your marketing, you still need to get involved in the campaign. This doesn’t mean calling every day to¬†harangue¬†the Account Executive about what’s being done right now, but to offer your own suggestions as to what makes your product work, and being open to their interpretations and analysis as well.

Hiring an advertising agency is not something you should do in order to get the sticky business of promotions out of your hair. Your entire company is involved in your marketing.

And when you hire an agency, they must become part of your company.

McDonald’s and their Brilliant Coffee Marketing

I’m just like everyone else when it comes to McDonald’s: I look down my nose at it, I ask people who go there, “What the hell’s the matter with you?” and I think their Big Macs and fries are intensely yummy. I’m just as hypocritical as the average American. Yee hah!

I’ve been a fan of McDonald’s iced coffee drinks for a year or so now – “Large Sugar Free Vanilla Iced Coffee” just rolls off my tongue whenever I hit their drive through. It’s only recently, though, that I’ve caught McDonald’s advertising. They’ve probably only started the campaign now that the entire coffee line is out of beta testing.

Check this out:

McDonald’s knows that while just about everyone has gotten on board with our national coffee fetish in the last twenty years, it still has that “mystique” that turns people off. The people who enjoy that mystique are just the ones who would say, “McDonald’s iced coffee!?! Eww!” These aren’t the people McDonald’s would easily reach, so trying to convince them their coffees are just as good or better than what you’d find at Starbuck’s would be an incredibly uphill battle.

Then again, Starbuck’s makes too much money to come from just the turtleneck and poetry crowd. Average slobs like iced coffees too, and the majority of us don’t appreciate having to shell out four dollars for it.

Essentially, McDonald’s took that lemon and made lemonade – rather than try to win over the coffee elite, they turned against them, trying to attract the common coffee drinker.

And I think that is incredibly cool. They looked at the market, and determined that the most vocal portion of it is still the minority, and shouldn’t be catered to in their marketing plan. The lesson here is that the people you want to attract aren’t necessarily brand champions, but all the people who collectively represent the most cash.

Sometimes, you just need to be the choice of the lowest common denominator.