Earlier today I got an e-mail from a friend asking if we could do a hurry-up job putting together some digital ads for web and mobile.
His client (he's a media company) decided at this late date to do some holiday promotion and the budget was limited . . . and well, you get the idea.
So, even though the budget was less than it shoulda been, we said, sure, we'll help you out of a jam since you're a pal and all.
Then he came back to us a few hours later telling us that he didn't need us after all because they found "a publisher who will do it for free." It's not like we'd have made anything on it, we were doing it as more of a favor than anything else. That's not what annoyed me. It's the "for free" part. And the fact that "you get what you pay for" is an alien concept to this client.
Which - at last - brings me to my point.
It strikes me that our industry - marketing communications - is not held in very high regard by many businesses. (In other words by potential clients.)They tend to hire junior-level people to run the marketing, pay them very little, give them very small budgets to work with . . . and, of course, get everything free they can get from publications, stations or "publishers."
The Evil That Is Crowdsourcing is another example of this.
Just tune in to almost any creative forum on LinkedIn to get an earful of examples of this problem.
It seems to me that local ad clubs and art directors' clubs could do their memberships a real service if they'd mount public service efforts aimed at educating the business public on the values of a) advertising and marketing communications (in whatever print, broadcast, digital or social media you may choose) and b) having it professionally developed and produced.
A rising tide floats all boats and all that. So it seems to me that just as Sy and Marcy Syms used to tell us that "an educated consumer is our best customer," the more the business public knows about the real value of professionally produced marketing communications, the better we'll all do.
I guess, though, if we're going to continue to let ourselves down and not make an effort to promote the value of what we do, we're going to get what we deserve. More station-produced radio and television, digital ads produced for free by a "publisher" and a continuing decline in budgets.
Perhaps local ad clubs would do well to start promoting the industry to the world of potential clients out there. There are some really smart, really great creative folk at work here in the D.C. market. If only some of that firepower were applied to help the community thrive.
I've always believed that marketing communications can be summarized in four words: "Do good. Tell people." As good as the ad community is, it's surprising we don't make more of an effort to tell people.
Sure as hell ain't nobody else gonna.