When I started my career working at an ad agency, we called them the “media mavens.”
I know… I know… I am starting this Blog being gender-biased… but I am only doing true factual journalistic reporting… something many in the press fail to do today.
No joke… there was not a single guy in the media department at this $80 million in billings ad agency.
When EXPERIENCE has been brought in to work with ad agencies – regional ones and national ones – while there might be a guy or two in the media departments, there are still not many to be found.
In the past several months, we have been working with a “digital shop” in the Southeast that specializes in using social media to “build relationship dialogue” with brand customer groups – folks who recently purchase a product from an online website.
Again, I hate to be gender-biased, but in this “digital shop,” all of the team interfacing with the clients’ customers are male.
The digital team is all Millennial too.
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a feeling I get when I see just part of the 2018 ad/digital media agency world that says there’s something “just not right” that’s going on.
I am writing this blog post on Memorial Day. As you read more if this post, you will see just like me, that writing it on Memorial Day is actually very fitting.
Last night, I made dinner at my city house and kicked back with a nice glass of cheap Whole Foods wine and watched Flea Market Flip that airs on HGTV’s sister station, Great American Country.
The network must be going through post-May election day blues because there were a whole bunch of ads promoting GAC, HGTV and DIY-TV programming.
One of the ads that ran is on that has actually been cited in a host of Emails and two snail-mail letters I’ve sent to leadership at GAC.
It’s the ad that promotes GAC’s Wednesday evening RV show.
The ad runs over and over and over and over and over and over and over… again in each commercial block at least 5 of 7 nights of prime time GAC TV each week.
Here we are in the year 2018 and with all the hoopla you read about high tech, artificial intelligence and Millennial geek expertise, the marketing-advertising-digital experts continue to brew the alchemy of strategic thought that “if you bang away enough times with high frequency and reach, consumers will ultimately go out and purchase the product.”
If you think that I am making this up, take a glance at the job postings for digital and marketing talent that runs on job websites today.
If you think that I am making this up, take an inventory of how many online ads travel with you over the course of a week, let alone a month.
There are some very, very high budget brands that air the same commercials over and over and over again. The same content. The same actors. The same music. The same old sameness over and over each time.
In the world of technology advancements and lower cost, I would think that producing fresh content would not be an issue.
BUT… then again, there’s a vast array of brands and their brand leadership that live and die by the same dumbmass (note the spelling!) marketing mirage of reach and frequency.
Back in the early 1980s when I started working in the ad agency world, women gravitated to media because of a very gender-biased belief that a good looking lady could sell those male marketing VPs on buying whatever media could look the most charming.
Just like today in 2018, there’s a very gender-biased thinking set that the geek-looking guy can more brilliantly program the computers to be even smarter in finding more niches of online, mobile and social media to run the banner ads.
On this Memorial Day, we need to honor the past and those who defended it. In the situation within the marketing world, we need to finally put the mirage to rest and focus on reality and truth.
The truth is really not that scary.
People connect with brands that emotionally engage and connect. And just like in human relationships, brands that can evolve with them and be there to support as well as celebrate through the course of their life-journey.
The truth is not scary… but making the change for many is.
This week, it was announced that the past CEO of JC Penny was leaving and taking on a new role as CEO of Lowe’s. JC Penny continues to be challenged by generational change. Lowe’s is facing generational change and competitive challenge.
Industry after industry clings to their own kind as much as they cling and hold on to the past models of advertising and marketing.
Think about it.
What if Lowe’s hired instead the past CEO of Red Bull. Or head of sales for Subaru. Or EVP of marketing of Apple iPhones.
I can hear the chorus now… “but what do those folks know about house & home supply stores?”
Banks keep hiring bankers.
Healthcare groups keep hiring healthcare execs.
Automotive keeps hiring automotive peers.
Here too, it’s time to celebrate Memorial Day and venture out beyond the constraints defended.
I will end this blog post with something that just might be politically incorrect for me given that EXPERIENCE works with a good share of politicians.
However, we are not party-aligned nor issue-aligned.
On this Memorial Day, focus for a moment on what’s going on in Washington… and even more specifically the White House.
A different mantra… a different model… a different course of leadership… is all churning up there.
What’s been defined as the working model of the past ends up tossed out with both the baby and the bath water.
It challenges many.
And yet… there are some cool things that no one could predict or support that are happening that are driving the U.S. economy and marketplace.
The Media Mavens, the Geek High Techies, the formulaic models of the past… the comfort of coloring in the lines with leadership, the belief in some ways that the world is flat and if you go too far you will fall off the face of the marketplace…
It’s time to let go and journey beyond the conventional.