What is the differentiator?


Ben Shepherd writes: Has anyone else noticed how a lot of digital blogs exist solely to link to other digital blogs … and as a result there’s generally not a lot of thought going on, moreso a lot of backslapping.

Nothing wrong with that – it’s just an observation. That said, there’s a lot of good blogs out there but I think sometimes some people become too interested in promoting their blog ranking or adage placement and forget about pushing out great content.

Regardless, I believe blogs are very powerful for those working in marketing – they allow you to voice your thoughts and opinions and challenge and agitate others. And this is an industry where thoughts/opinions are the IP we sell and trade.

With this blog and my personal blog I primarily use them to vent and develop thoughts – but what I always try and do is put my opinion and beliefs on the line as these are effectively what define my place in the market and hopefully the difference between what I can offer and others can offer.

The Advertising industry is generally thought of as a place where thoughts/theories/concepts etc are developed, discussed, practiced and evolved. A place clients turn to to get expertise and knowledge.

Question – how many practicioners voice their thoughts and opinions and challenge and agitate others – ie clients?

Or does it turn into the same backslapping that exists in the blog world – where all thoughts/ideas/concepts etc aren’t challenged or evolved as no one wants to step on anyones toes? It’s generally frowned upon for ‘media’ people to comment on creative. This is ridiculous – bad media placement can ruin good creative and vice versa … they are not seperate.

My gut feeling is clients WANT and need to be challenged. Clients don’t want to be pandered to. They enjoy new thoughts and ideas. If you’re not challenging the marketing dynamic then what value are you really adding?

The value of an agency (be it creative or media) isn’t in the financial amounts they can save them through network efficiencies, it’s in their ideas and opinions and how these can be applied to solve business problems.

It’s the same for sales people. Their value isn’t in the rates they provide – it’s in the responses they generate that connect brands to audiences. Yes, bonuses etc are big drivers for sales people, but with the great ones the real motivation is solving problems and developing longer term business.

So – and I know this is rambling – but is advertising becoming too task oriented at the expense of thought development?

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2 responses to “What is the differentiator?

  1. Hi Ben,

    Yup there’s a lot of backslapping. Encouragement is important, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves what our purpose really is.

    It’s easy sometimes to accuse marketers of ‘talking to themselves’ and we have to be conscious not to do the same

  2. two ways of pleasing a client (independent of your position in market or who the client is). Give them a guaranteed result or suck up to them. Neither is more efficient then the other. But in today’s market if you don’t someone else will… agreed?

    Thought development comes a distant 3rd?

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