Direct, Advertising, Digital, Search, Retail, Promotions, Word Of Mouth (on and on and on) –  are all used to create awareness, attempt to convert consumers and inspire their loyalty once we have their attention.   We are all marketers.  If your fees come out of a marketing budget – you are a marketer.

Just as I have stated that we are all creative, and all responsible for the consumer experience - no matter the medium - we are also all speaking directly to consumers and all our work should be asking people to act, buy and take action now.

Clients are not buying tactics like a TV commercials, direct mail, viral videos, widgets or banner ads. Clients worth working with are buying ideas.  If they are not buying ideas from you, it is likely you do not have a consultative relationship with that marketing organization.  No one tactic can drive the volume of sales needed to have an effective sales driving campaign.  A piece of direct mail without the amplification of a phone call, television ad, or search result has yet to drive sales with any substantial volume.  And when they are not in concert with each other  (like a great band)  they are merely noise - not music.  The only way to capture the attention of consumers who are bombarded with millions of messages is to be consistent in our message and and make sure that each of the mediums are working in harmony with each other.

If you sell tactics, what happens when that tactic becomes too expensive, proves in effective on its own or is outsold by a competitive channel agency with a new bright shiny object? In my experience, you and your agency are OUT. Out of money, out of interest and out of options.

Stop selling agencies as tactical “machines”!  In the service economy there is no respect or substantial money in the “machine” or production aspect of what we do.  There is how ever substantial money in the creation and articulation of an idea.

Ideas Sell

What is an idea?  In marketing, an idea generates desire for the product or service you are selling.  A great idea creates desire with entertainment and a compelling and valuable call to action.

Like every creative in the business I have a copy of Ogilvy On AdvertisingDavid Ogilvy was famous for creating his agency's slogan: "we sell or else."   That still holds true today.  What David knew was that the he could not sell without an idea. The once constant in every effective case study I have read, written and studied is that the idea in conjunction with the right media sold the product.

If you never create an idea that creates desire – people will not look at the product you are selling as something they need.

The only way to do that is to deliver an idea that is worthy of a consumer conversation that is long lasting.  You have to answer the consumer question – what’s in it for me.  Don’t sell products…sell passions.  No one does this better than American Express, Doritos, Mercedes, Adidas, Coke, Nike and The Gap.

Delivering Consumer Relationships To Brands

All the years I have spent working on brands and consumer retention programs I have found that it is NOT the tactic that makes a consumer love us. 

It is what we say, how we act and their perception of our product’s effect on their lives.

Customer Relationships 2.0 starts with more than a welcome letter or gift.  Now more than ever it involves acknowledgment and the amplification of consumers voices who profess their love or hate for you through earned media such as comments, videos, blogs and photos.

The voice of the consumer is paramount to delivering product re-sell and service retention.

ON: Speaking To The Consumer via @jpenabickley