Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Cheers Anyone?

I try and learn something from everything. One very important lesson I picked up actually came from the old sitcom “Cheers” theme song.

Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows Your name.

I don’t think it matters if it is a social get together or professional meeting; people want to be where someone knows their name. One of the most important things we do for our clients is helping them build relationships with their clients. Someone told me once that it takes 6+ touches before someone will think of you when they need something. It could also be said it takes 6+ touches before someone is convinced that you know their name and are glad they came. Because growing a business is really about building relationships. People go to people they know and it is our job to get to know their name.

Cheers Everyone!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Running a good campaign

Advertising Campaigns, or ‘Campaigns’ as it’s known, is a class seniors take when working toward an advertising degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Students are randomly broken up into teams of four or five to work on two real-world advertising campaign projects. Campaigns is where I met Candace Lopez - we happened to both be assigned to the same two projects.

You find out a lot about a person when you’re in Campaigns with them. For instance I learned that Candace was smart, knows how to manage a project, and works harder than most people. I also learned she can stay up late and likes milkshakes. I also learned work didn’t come so naturally to everyone else. Take a fellow team member we’ll call Bill (because that’s his name). Imagine me opening the door to Bill an hour after our team meeting started, him dramatically wiping his brow (I’m not kidding – insert ‘whew!’), as if he’d run 10 miles to get there, uphill, without shoes – then only staying for half an hour.

Over the course of my career I’ve consistently observed that basic project management skills - knowing what questions to ask, how to answer them (or get the answers), then creating and implementing a plan of action based on that information – are fundamental to success. Whether you’re talking about running an advertising campaign, participating in a trade show, or creating a case study, project management is what gets it done.

I’m not saying every good project manager is a good marketer – you also need passion for the field, creativity, and intuition, among other things. But I can guarantee you the best marketers are good project managers.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

and the award goes to...

Distinctive logos, eye-catching ads, insightful articles, engaging Web sites. We all see great work every day. There's a lot of it out there. But there's even more bad, or even worse, mediocre work out there. A lot more. So what separates the great from the not-so-great? Is it the designer or art director? Is it the writer, or the project manager? To be sure there are plenty of industry awards available for folks in these positions. Every advertising agency and design firm has a shelf ( or shelves) in their conference room displaying the awards they've won. But no matter how talented and visionary the creative team is, great work won't get done without a great client. A client who is as passionate about branding as the agency they hire. A client who is willing to empower their creative team to do the best work possible. A client who will not just hand off the work, but roll up their sleeves and jump into the middle of it. Ultimately, great work is done by a team, working together, everyone contributing to the whole. It takes a client willing to cross the line and think like a creative. And it takes creatives willing to cross the line in the other direction and think like a client. Then you really need to start adding shelves in the conference room.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Marketing, Then and Now

When the BrightBlue Marketing team asks their clients how they would describe their companies to their grandmothers, it reminded me of a question my grandmother asked me.

When I enrolled at TCU in 1986, I entered as a business major [aside here: How on earth is a barely 18-year-old person supposed to pick their life's work before they even know what kinds of jobs there ARE in the world? I'm 40, and STILL don't know], but had to wait 2 years to declare what kind of business major I'd be: accounting, finance, management or marketing. Marketing had all the coolest facets of business, including PR, advertising, R&D and sales.

At Christmastime of 1988, my Grandma asked me to come sit beside her. She said, "your parents told me that you've chosen marketing as your major. What IS marketing?" I rattled off the things that my marketing professors said it was.

Now that I've had 15+ years of experience in marketing departments for different companies, I would say this instead: Marketing is the glue that holds a company together. It is the internal and external voice of the company, and crucial to its success.

And if I could go back in time to my 20 year old self, I'd say "marketing is a wonderful, exciting and innovative field. You chose well, Young Me. Now please reconsider your hairstyle. That hairspray's going to cause a hole in the ozone!"