Archive for ‘Cranky times’

October 8, 2010

When an agency says your baby is ugly.

by Isadora

During cost containment times, agencies need to be careful when providing critique to “homemade” marketing initiatives. If you need to tell marketing managers a certain ad or social network page could be better, you can be almost 100% sure they already know it.

A few days ago a representative from an online agency posted a message on one of my brands’ Facebook page. It said something like this: “Please give me a call, I can help you clean up your page, take content to a new level, increase consumer engagement…” and so on. I quickly replied to the contact provided, since I am certainly interested in anything that can help me improve the performance of my marketing dollars. However, a few seconds after that, I deleted the comment from my wall. And got very annoyed.

I can’t imagine calling somebody I have never met, and saying that I think their kid is ugly but I have a solution for it. Agencies, the same applies when approaching a potential client: Be very diplomatic and gentle, especially since that client might be doing the work herself (in a basement, with lights down to save energy…). You get the point.

Since 2008, when everybody’s budget was slashed in all industries, marketing managers have found a new challenge in implementing campaigns in what we could call a homemade, or grassroots mode.  Looking at the bright side, this has obligated folks to evaluate every dollar they invest, trying to generate the most out of it, both as short-term revenue as well as long-term brand building. We’re aware that our ads could be a bit fancier with brand new exclusive photography instead of stock images. We would also love to run an international contest linked to the next Bond movie, giving consumers a change to win a free helicopter, all documented by comments from Daniel Craig on Twitter. And let me throw in a private dinner with Craig on the mix, since this is my daydream anyway. But times are tough.

Agencies are great at providing amazing solutions to their clients. You can’t blame them for trying to help, however a certain level of sympathy is needed. There are many marketing managers out there that, with limited funds, have found inspired ways to reach their consumers – many times writing copy or designing pieces in-house. I would also bet that the crowd that managed to survive the downturn with good ideas and solid execution will come out of the crisis with larger budgets, and even larger goals. Agencies have a perfect opportunity to be nice doing this difficult time.

Instead of simply listing what could be better, offer some helpful pointers, or a low-budget solution… You can get a conversation started and a client for life.