Ad Professionals Should Spend Less Time Remembering When

We Work in a Change Industry, so Start Acting Like It

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Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland
Our industry is all about change. At least, we say we are. We say we believe in creating the next great wave of advertising. If that is so, we should take a look at the evidence.

Do we take risks and inspire?
Maybe not. There's a lot of the same ol', same ol' still being offered as fresh thinking. Perhaps because we are too afraid of losing what we have left to risk it all for something better. Regardless of whether it's from a lack of belief -- or apathy or laziness -- we are squandering a great opportunity to lead. If we believe we are the agents of change, we must change ourselves as well. Like Gen. George Patton, we need to attack without worrying about our flanks. We're moving forward too fast for the enemy to catch us. By the time they realize what we're up to, we're kicking them in the backside.

Are our recommendations relevant to our client's objectives?
A better question might be, do we know our client's business objectives? How deep are you delving into your client's world, both internally and externally? The more an agency understands the business goals of a client and the obstacles keeping them from success, the better marketing principles can be applied to removing obstacles and achieving those goals. You will also become much more important in the eyes of your clients, not to mention trustworthy.

Organize the toolbox. Get rid of the gimmicks.
Today the marketing landscape is more confusing for advertisers than ever. The toolbox is filled with new gadgets that are being misused. There's a lot of snake oil being peddled and we agencies should be showing the right way for our clients to go. That necessitates knowing the way.

Innovate integration.
Perhaps a lack of conviction is why clients are showing less loyalty than ever. Integration is the new buzzword, but its implementation is a contradiction in most cases. My agency refers to it as the "jungle." A tangled mess of tactics that in most cases, work against one another to create a consistent brand story. Integration is an evolving method. There's room for innovation in how to use it to get the best results. Those that do so early are going to lead our industry for the foreseeable future.

A little over-the-horizon looking should come as second nature to an industry that prides itself on having the pulse of "what's next." Instead, we seem to cling to "remember when." Take a look at what you're offering your clients. Is it advertising? For your sake, I hope not.

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