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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cutting Corners, and Lackthereof

Everything starts with denial.

"I don't need my glasses."
"I’m not gaining weight."
"I’m not slowing down."
"I’m not out of shape."

But I was.

All of it!

The 1920s penny scale in the entry way and the notches on my belt didn't lie. Those bastards have crystal balls. So about a year ago, I decided to face facts and make some changes.

The ad game is a lonely expedition.
Now I’m lighter and back into jeans that aren't rapper baggy. I’m downward dogging through yoga classes. And I’ve got energy to spare. I feel pretty good about this, but I keep remembering how much I disliked it all and how long it's taking An entire year of my life to get within shouting distance of getting back in shape.

You see, I’m the kind of (media) guy who wants results immediately. I mean, who doesn’t? Well, there are some people who don’t, but they’re about as intelligent as a bag of bricks and I don’t like folks like that. I'm all about getting things done.

But over the years, I’ve grown to understand that speed is not always practical or possible. As a purveyor of all things marketing, I adjust my expectations when I start advertising campaigns because I know every campaign isn't an award winner or designed to make the phone ring off the hook. Sometime, it’s a longer process. So instead of expecting things to go through the roof, I’m satisfied with brand extension -- campaigns designed to maintaining the good work and gaining good feedback. These is the work that builds the foundation and eventually leads to campaign greatness.

My desire to create genius ads like this...
Every now and then, you hear about an ad (wo)man who graduated from college and six months later rose up to director status at one of those big agencies landing account after account. Well, that person is the exception, not the rule. The majority of us serve in the trenches for years before they catch that big break.

There’s no instant gratification in the ad game.

The key here, for both Media Guy and client, is to recognize that results take time. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t agree, you’re a walking contradiction, and that path leads to failure.

One of my issues with the powerhouse companies that get featured in Adweek and AdAge week after week is that most of them don’t know how to develop campaigns. Those ad guy sign clients and from day one, they use their big budgets to overwhelm consumers with commercial after commercial, massive social media pushes, and favored induced earned media. That’s called swinging for the fences, and it’s a bad idea because the competition is fierce and the odds are stacked against you. Sure, the clients are excited by those opportunities because they feel like they’re cutting the line, but after a year of flat sales, the powerhouse agency will probably create an internal conflict and leverage it into landing a competitor, leaving them with little to show except a stack of inane commercial spots that may or may not have resonated with new customers.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to take your time—creating guerrilla and micro campaigns that that lead to bigger ones, carefully building your circle of engagement, working toward a successful annual strategy built on a foundation of hard-earned wins?

...led to creation of this masterpiece. PERSEVERANCE!
There’s no cutting the line in this industry. Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but I genuinely believe you must fall in love with the process. That means embracing the bumps in the road.

It’s knowing that every campaign that doesn't send metrics completely through the roof is giving you valuable experience.

It's the perseverance to lead a diversified campaign and not put all your eggs in one basket.

It’s realizing that resting on yesterday's success won't give you the resources you need to book your business class seats for that Italian vacation.

Embrace the journey, not just the end of the road.