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Despising Ourselves

Have you ever noticed how many people in advertising actually despise what they do?

I don't mean out-right, "I hate my job," stuff. It's more of this poorly cloaked disdain of the nuts and bolts of marketing.

As part of my efforts to keep the content here on The BeanCast site fresh and the discussions on the marketing podcast interesting, I go through a lot of online resources. And repeatedly I see this generally distasteful tone among agency people when the subject of actually selling stuff comes up.

They'll talk until they're blue in the face about brand value. Or they'll tell you about how perception is up. They may even mention how they'll put together the right media mix and deliver a strategy that is bound to increase profitability. But when the subject of asking for the sale comes up, you can almost see the sneer tugging at their lips and the bile dripping from their words. Then there's usually a joke about "direct marketing" or those troublesome "sales people" and we're back to the high-art of advertising.

Haven't We Learned Anything?

I have to say that I'm genuinely shocked people can still be working in our industry today and have no appreciation for the art of selling. Haven't we learned anything from Amazon approach? Do we not see what's happening when brands become personally integrated in sales and customer service like at Zappos?

I used to just write-off the attitude as the age-old debate about tactics, where the cool, expensive, photo-shoot-needs-to-be-in-Tanzania folks, snobbishly ignored those creating mailers with stock photos. But now I really believe it's a deep-seated hatred for what they do for a living.

Choosing Art At The Expense of ROI

I guess this makes sense. How many art directors do you know that got into advertising because they wanted to move product? Most that I've met chose it because it's one of the last open outlets for making money in art. Same with writers. We'd all like to write that book or screenplay, but this advertising gig puts food on the table.

I admit it. I sneered at advertising at the start. Then accepted it as a means to an end. But at some point some fundamental changed within me and I actually gained an appreciation for the entire process of commerce. And that has made all the difference. It's also made me hyper aware of how many advertising efforts are short-circuiting themselves in the effort to maintain the "art" of the brand.

Creating Synergy To The Sale

The reason I spend so much time on this today, is because I think it's key for those of you out there choosing an agency partner.

A good grasp of the artistic side of advertising is definitely important. Your brand is not a logo. It's an emotional response. And a well-designed and perfectly written ad is a great means of conveying these emotions.

But making that leap from art to ROI is also critical. And it's a lot easier and more effective when the artistic brand portion of things is also excited and engaged with the in-the-field selling part of things. Because then your brand becomes a living, breathing and actionable experience, that's when people line up to shell out the cash.

And once again I use Apple as an example. Because while the agency work may be high-art, the brand itself is controlled by the ultimate Sham Wow pitchman himself, Mr. Steve Jobs. Apples shows how the two worlds of art and selling can co-exist and work together. Because the art inspires emotion and the pitch is experiential and memorable. It's a brand that leads to a pitch. And a pitch that takes all it's cues from the brand. The result is rabid loyalty. It's no longer just a desire for a product. It's a desire for the feeling that this product inspires.

Wouldn't you like that in your business?

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