Monday, April 30, 2012

Do good. Tell People.

There is a fun Facebook page called Creative Advertising that usually has lots of good print ads.

I like it.

But one thing I really like about it is the quote that they use to introduce the page:

"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."

Boy, does that ever sum it up.

It's kind of amazing how often someone opens a business or adds to the one they have or invests in some sort of improvements, but doesn't take the next step and tell people about it.

And when I say "tell people", I don't mean tell people who are already loyal followers - like those who "like" your Facebook page, follow your Tweets or gave you permission to put them on your mailing list.

That's preaching to the choir if preaching to the choir ever did be.

No, I mean people who are not currently doing business with you. People who don't care much about you one way or the other. People who can give you the additional income that will pay for the investment you made in your business or in the improvements to it. New business.

No matter what kind of business you have, customers are not out there looking for you. They may be looking for someone like you, but if you aren't going to actually go to the trouble to tell them your story . . .  well, they have too many distractions and too many other ways to spend their money.

"If you build it, they will come" only works in the movies. And only in one movie at that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nowwwwww I know

I've always wondered who does all those awful television commercials and radio spots and bus backs that come across (to me at least) as a total waste of money.

I mean, look at this. Who's going to be able to read that without risking life and limb rear-ending a freaking bus?

Anyway, now I know. Most of them come out of the same shop. I probably should not mention the name here.

While it brings some comfort to know that this approach to our business is kind of contained and doesn't run rampant in DC, these people probably live in a nicer house than me and drive a better car than I do. I'm not sure what that tells you, but it can't be anything good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

As long as you're fixing my car, can you look at this wart too?

Look, I get that web sites are the be-all and end-all in marketing and that web design companies can do just about everything. I do.

Actually, I don't. Not at all.

But I do get that people think that. And that, rather than venture out and look for someone new to take care of a specialized project, many will just see if somebody they already know can handle that too.

I'm talking specifically about brand development here. And, I guess, advertising.

Seems like we keep running across organizations that want to re-do their web site and realize that they need to clarify or define their brand, so they just ask the web company if they can do it. Much of the time, the answer is "sure, of course, why not?"

Same thing happens with advertising. "Saaaay, you fellas did us a pretty snappy web site. Can you do our print ads too? And maybe some television?"

Well, I'm sorry. With few exceptions, they can't. But they will say they can. (Some good friends of ours, one of the very best web and digital agencies you'll ever run across, are an exception. They know what they do better than almost everybody else and they stick to it.)

As a general rule, a web design firm cannot, by virtue of being a web design firm, develop your brand or do your print or broadcast advertising as well as a brand development or advertising agency can. We can go out back and fight about it if you want, but the fact is, they are different disciplines.

That's why different people do 'em. I mean, I like ducks. And I like dogs. But a duck is not a dog.

(Let's be clear, I'm talking about core skill-sets here. A design firm - web or otherwise - can almost always do a simple ad. And an ad agency can almost always do a simple web site. But when it comes to a specialty like Brand Development or Something Serious, well, it's a different story.)

A web design firm may well recognize that you need a clear brand position before you can create an effective web site, but that doesn't mean they are qualified to do it, any more than, say, a PR firm who recognizes you need a web site is qualified to do that.

There's a real good example locally. A big consumer-oriented home goods company has a really good web design/design studio working for them. The web site and online efforts are great. The print advertising and a television spot they attempted recently are horrible.

Again, there are exceptions. There are switch-hitters in every field who can do it all. But let's not try to pretend this is anything but the exception.

Web design firms, God love 'em, are web design firms. They are not ad agencies or brand development firms. And I wish to hell they'd stop pretending they are.