Monday, February 2, 2009

It's just money -- no wait, check that . . .

More than one of us in this business has come out and urged clients and others not to pull their heads back inside their shells in hopes of simply weathering this currently awful economy.

I've said it before, and we've put it on our web site, but that's not going to stop me from saying it again. This is no time to disappear. This is the time to build market share. There is all sorts of hard data to support me on this too.

But the fact of reality is that if you're worried about making payroll, rent, 401(k) contributions, health insurance premiums and all the rest, it's kind of hard to get it up for writing a check for something as intangible as advertising. No matter what Woody Hinkle or people like him say.

Fair enough.

So maybe we all ought to be thinking about "spending" in terms of some other kind of currency. Innovation is currency. So is creativity. And courage. Nerve. Faith. It seems to me that perhaps we could all afford to invest a bit of that stuff, even if we don't have the cash in the bank to do a new ad campaign.

All of us - advertisers and agencies alike - can do something different. Like joint advertising with a complementary company. Create partnerships and promotions based on product, service, location -- even cuisine.

Compensation can be something besides money too --like windows, kitchen cabinets, airline tickets or hotel rooms (both of which can be easily used as rewards for employees who have been waiting patiently too long for a raise).

Advertisers can tighten up that chin strap and take a few more creative chances with they advertising they do run. Your agency will love you. Demand a bit more attention than you might have been comfortable demanding before. Scare yourself a bit. Think about all those Super Bowl commercials you loved on Sunday.

The point is, there are a whole lot of non-money ways to invest in "advertising" and keep your smiling face out there in front of customers and prospects. All you have to do is be open to trying a few of them.

Everybody knows that old saw about the definition of insanity. Here's another thought, this one from Albert Einstein: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

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